Thursday, March 8, 2012

APOCALYPSE NOW: An Interview with E.C. Myers, Author of FAIR COIN

Happy Book Birthday to E.C. Myers, author of FAIR COIN,
available now!

From E.C. Myers' website:

Sixteen-year-old Ephraim Scott is horrified when he comes home from school and finds his mother unconscious at the kitchen table, clutching a bottle of pills. The reason for her suicide attempt is even more disturbing: she thought she’d identified Ephraim’s body at the hospital that day.

Among his dead double’s belongings, Ephraim finds a strange coin—a coin that grants wishes when he flips it. With a flick of his thumb, he can turn his alcoholic mother into a model parent and catch the eye of the girl he’s liked since second grade. But the coin doesn’t always change things for the better. And a bad flip can destroy other people’s lives as easily as it rebuilds his own.

The coin could give Ephraim everything he’s ever wanted—if he learns to control its power before his luck runs out.

Without further ado, here's our interview with E.C. Myers about his mind-bending debut!

FAIR COIN is your debut novel. Do you have any plans to celebrate the launch?
I’m going to have a quiet dinner with my wife and some friends, which is how I like to celebrate most happy occasions. I seriously considered having a launch party—and I still might later in March or in April—but I’ve been too busy working on the sequel in the last few months to devote much effort to coordinating a big event. I also forgot to schedule a day off from work on launch day, so I’ll spend most of it at my day job. It’s just business as usual.

We love the title of this book and its origin in scientific theory. Where did the idea for FAIR COIN come from and how did the story develop?
Thank you! Many of my stories start with a visual prompt, playing in my mind like a scene from a movie. In this case, I imagined a boy flipping a coin into a fountain to make a wish. The moment his wish came true, a shockwave rippled out from the fountain, changing the world around him as it spread, but leaving him unchanged. I thought that was really cool, and from there I had to figure out how the coin worked. And since he was using a coin, I knew that it would be important whether it landed on heads or tails. I kept thinking about the story for a couple of years, scribbling down questions and ideas, until I finally sat down to write it.

What three wishes would you make if you had a coin like Ephraim's?
Since I know how the coin works, I wouldn’t make any wishes at all! But if I didn’t know anything about it, I probably would wish to be a bestselling young adult novelist. I would use the second and third wishes to try to fix everything that inevitably goes wrong with the first wish.

You dedicate FAIR COIN to your mother, calling her "the best of all possible mothers". What inspired you to tackle Ephraim's troubled mother/son relationship?
My mother is the strongest person I know. She came to the U.S. from South Korea alone, learned English, earned her American citizenship, and raised my sister and me on her own. She worked hard to give us the best education possible and everything we needed or wanted. She’s also encouraged me in everything I’ve ever tried to do, whether she approved or not. I can’t separate the person I am from the person she is, and I wanted Ephraim to have that kind of supportive relationship too, though it certainly isn’t perfect.

I’ve also noticed that YA books often go to great lengths to keep parents off screen, or they set the protagonist at odds with them. But parents also can be best friends with their children. Ephraim’s mother doesn’t appear often, but she’s still a presence and an influence on his actions and decisions throughout the book.

Your wife is an editor. Tell us about how this particular dynamic impacts both your relationship and your writing process.
Right now my wife is a student at medical school, but she still reads manuscripts for a YA literary agent when she can. When we first started dating, I knew she read a lot of YA so I told her my idea for Fair Coin and she told me I had to write it. She helped me brainstorm a little more of the story, and gave me book recommendations so I could reacquaint myself with the best current YA books, because I firmly believe that to write YA well you have to read and love it.

I was nervous showing her the first rough draft of the book, but she liked it—and wrote me a detailed editorial letter that told me what I needed to fix or strengthen. She’s a smart reader and editor, her notes were spot on, and she has great taste in fiction, so I trust her opinion implicitly. She’s been too busy to read and critique my manuscripts since, with the whole studying to become a doctor thing, but I still ask her for advice about story problems all the time.

What's next for you? Tell us about your next project.
I just turned in the sequel to Fair Coin. Quantum Coin should be out from Pyr in fall 2012. Although it’s a continuation of the events of the first book, I always intended Fair Coin to be a standalone story. I hope that readers will pick up the second book to find out what happens next with Ephraim and his friends and to learn more about the coin.

My next project is an alternate history young adult book about reincarnation, titled Who We Used to Be. I’m working on the fourth draft now. We don’t have a publisher for it yet, but I hope that will change.

Where can fans find you (ie: tour schedules)?
I don’t have a formal tour lined up, but I have a few readings and signings scheduled in Philadelphia and New York City in the next few months, and I’m trying to schedule more. I’ll be participating in the NYC Teen Author Festival at the end of March with a ton of great YA authors. The full schedule can be found here.

I will be at Dragon*Con in Atlanta in August and probably World Fantasy in Toronto in November. The best places for news about appearances are the Fair Coin Facebook page or my website. I’m also all over the internet, but mostly on Twitter (@ecmyers). I love connecting with other YA readers.

Lastly, the Lucky 13s are very curious about superstitions. Do you have any superstitions that play a role in your process?
I’m not very superstitious. I avoid walking under ladders or breaking mirrors, and black cats in my path make me a little nervous, but those don’t really affect my writing. I do believe in luck though, which helps me when I have work out on submission. I make the story as good as I can, and I do my research and put in the effort needed to get it out there, but then I accept that what happens to it next is largely out of my control. You can make a lot of your own luck, but I think there’s still an element of chance involved. Timing is everything.

Thanks for visiting, Eugene, and congratulations on the release of your debut!


E.C. Myers was assembled in the U.S. from Korean and German parts. When he isn't writing, he reads, plays video games, watches films, sleeps as little as possible, and spends far too much time on the internet.
Fair Coin (Pyr, March 2012) is his first young adult novel. You can find E.C. Myers on his blog, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

FAIR COIN is now available through:


  1. What a great interview Elle & E.C. I love learning how you came up with the idea for your story E.C. and the questions you asked to develop it further. Also your cover is great. I can't wait to read your book. Congrats on your debut.

  2. Congrats E.C.! Can't wait to read this. :)

  3. Thanks, Natalie and Lydia! And thank you, Elle and the Lucky 13s, for inviting me.

  4. I've been waiting to get reading for ages, I'm so excited the day's finally here! That image of shock waves rippling out from the coin... I can see why you got writing!

  5. I do love the premise of this book. Am adding to my Goodreads now!

  6. Although the premise for this book is quite different, it somehow reminds me of a book I adored as a teenager: Changing Times by Tim Kennemore.

    Maybe it's the alternate realities theme. Anyway, it sounds great, whether it's like Changing Times or not! And the cover is very striking.

    Best wishes for sales!

    1. That sounds neat. Adding Changing Times to *my* reading list! Thanks!