Music and mayhem are about the rock small-town life in Christopher Krovatin’s Pied Piper reimagining FREQUENCY!
When Fiona was younger, the townspeople of Hamm, Ohio hired a DJ named Pit Viper to help them overcome the troubled party scene in town. He did his job, but wound up unpaid and shunned. Now, Pit Viper is back, mesmerizing teens as they discover the local music scene for themselves– all except, Fiona that is. After all he’s been through, she expects that Pit Viper isn’t just back to entertain. Will Fiona be able to navigate her new fascination and discover his true intentions?
We talked to author Christopher Krovatin about his complex main characters, reinventing a legend by modern standards, and the music that makes him tick, among other topics. Take a look below!
What inspired you to take the legend of the Pied Piper into the modern era?
The idea was one I co-developed with Nick Harris, founder of the Story Foundation. We were talking about updating old legends involving music, and the Pied Piper is one of history’s great music-based fables. I think we both really like the idea that music is inherently magical—there’s just something about the right kind of song that makes you move, whether you like it or not. We thought that concept is still relevant today, especially for teenagers, over whom music has such power.
What are some of your main character Fiona’s best and worst traits?
This is a great question, because what I love about Fiona is how conflicted she is—she’s awesome, but at the same time she has a lot of problems. On the one hand, Fiona is really smart, confident, and intuitive; she knows who she is and how she wants to be treated by people. She’s really in touch with her humanity, and the humanity of the people around her. On the other hand, that makes her really emotionally volatile, and when she gets hurt, she gets lashes back at whoever hurts her. More so, her confidence can turn into egotism, and can blind her. When she meets the Pit Viper, he feeds into that, and she lets it consume her. But good or bad, one thing is certain about Fiona: she’s a killer guitarist.
Pit Viper is a dark character, but readers seem to like him. Was it always your goal to create that sort of moral quandary with the character?
Absolutely. I love dark characters—maybe my favorite pop culture figure of all time is Count Dracula—so it seemed natural to me that a dark figure would be alluring. More so, I think that it’s easy to label someone as one thing or another: light or dark, hero or villain, good or evil. But when we get to know the people behind these figures, we realize that it’s not so simple. A villain’s confidence, skill, and thoughtfulness can make them attractive, while a hero’s entitlement, normalcy, and moral grandstanding can make them annoying and uncool. For me, the Pit Viper is someone who decided he wasn’t going to let the world walk all over him, and to take what power he can get. These are dark traits, but they’re also admirable.
What bands or particular songs influenced you the most while writing Frequency?
Man, where to begin! My musical base was, is, and will always be heavy metal. Fiona really loves the organic, guitar-driven sound of metal and hard rock, so I listened to a lot of Alice Cooper, Clutch, Halestorm, Electric Wizard, High On Fire, Celtic Frost, Misfits, Young Hunter, Take Over and Destroy, Khemmis, Rob Zombie, Iron Maiden, Acid Witch, Black Sabbath, Mutoid Man, and most of all, Motörhead (Lemmy died during the process of writing this book, so there were a lot of memorial sessions). But on the Pit Viper’s side, I had to get back to my college days of electronic music, so I listened to some weird dance stuff—Meteor, Espectrostatic, DJ Venom, The Faint, and plenty of Underworld, who I feel get down the hypnotic, dangerous electronic sound that the Pit Viper’s music channels.
You’re a journalist as well as a fiction writer. Do you have a preference between the two?
I definitely prefer fiction because of the level of control it provides. As a journalist, I love profiling both my favorite bands and up-and-comers who I think are very talented, but there are some pretty set rules to journalism. Which is fine—that’s the point of journalism, and sometimes, when you have writer’s block, those rules guide you along. But with fiction, I get to go all-out and let my bizarre brain stretch to its natural limits. Plus, you’re rarely allowed to write a steamy love scene when reviewing an album.
What’s your writing process like?
It varies from day to day depending on my schedule, but here are the basics. First, coffee, in mass quantities. Next, I need a seat with a view—something about having a window to stare out of between rounds of writing is really important for my creative process. It gives me a view into the world I’m describing. Third, music (see Question 4). Finally, I just have to write, as much as I can. I used to try and only write when the muse took me, but that’s amateur hour—writing is work, and sometimes you’ve just gotta force yourself to do a few hours in the word mill. On a given weekend day, I try to get down a thousand words, but as long as I get something important done (a scene, a section of dialogue, a transcribed interview) I’m happy. If I’m suffering from writer’s block, my two solutions are either a walk (an errand run works just fine, too, if I’m out of milk) or a hot shower. Both are good for helping restart my mind when things aren’t moving quickly enough.
Want more? Check out an exclusive excerpt here!
Frequency hits shelves on October 2, 2018. You can preorder it now via…
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Indiebound | Kobo | Entangled Publishing
Nine years ago, Fiona was just a kid. But everything changed the night the Pit Viper came to town. Sure, he rid the quiet, idyllic suburb of Hamm of its darkest problems. But Fiona witnessed something much, much worse from Hamm’s adults when they drove him away.
And now, the Pit Viper is back.
Fiona’s not just a kid anymore. She can handle the darkness she sees in the Pit Viper, a DJ whose wicked tattoos, quiet anger, and hypnotic music seem to speak to every teen in town…except her. She can handle watching as each of her friends seems to be overcome, nearly possessed by the music. She can even handle her unnerving suspicion that the DJ is hell-bent on revenge.
But she’s not sure she can handle falling in love with him.