Author John Green | Interview
January 10, 2012: A date that thousands have been waiting for with bated breath.
No, we're not talking about the first-in-the-nation presidential primary in New Hampshire. We're talking about the release of novelist John Green's fifth book, The Fault in Our Stars. It's a mark of the author's enormous popularity that, after he announced the title last summer, it shot to the top of online booksellers' charts before he'd even finished writing it.
That's quite a feat, especially considering it's not a sequel to a popular sci-fi, fantasy or mystery series—the kinds of books that dominate YA sales charts. His publisher decided to bump up the release date to accommodate all the eager readers, and so the novel—a bittersweet tale about two teens struggling with cancer—hits bookstores today.
Loosely inspired by Green’s brief experience as a chaplain in a children’s hospital, Fault tells a story he’s been trying to write for years. “It was very difficult,” says the writer, who launched his literary career in Chicago before moving with his wife and toddler son to Indianapolis. “It’s not easy imagining teens dying so young, but it’s something they all think about.” In 2008, he met one such teen, Esther Earl, to whom the book is dedicated. (Esther died of thyroid cancer in 2010.) “She was an otherwise normal girl who was funny and smart and I wanted to capture those qualities in Hazel Lancaster,” the protagonist of his new book, he says.
We'll have more about Green and The Fault in Our Stars in our next issue, due out in very early February. For now, we're sharing a different part of our interview: his thoughts about Chicago and its impact on writers.