I had the incredible honor of interviewing the author of the Covert Youth Agency series (The Case of Tangled Love and The Sext Crime) and Debugging Tori Redding. Not only did I interview Jason Ancona, but I also had the chance to interview my two favorite characters of the C.Y.A. series. That’s right, I interviewed Lightman and Tollhouse. Just thought I’d say-It was awesome! Now, let’s start this interview!
BB&R: What (or Who) is your greatest inspiration?
JA: Time spent with friends and family, kind gestures, and emails from one of my three fans. I’ve heard from a couple of moms who told me their daughters giggled when they read my book. That inspires me to write more.
BB&R: If you could go back in time to when you were in high school, and relive those years, would you create a group similar to the C.Y.A.?
JA: Most definitely. I wish I would’ve thought of it back then. Was going to create a C.Y.A. site now, where students could have secret forums and run a branch of the agency at their schools. But that seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen.
BB&R: When you first began writing, did you know you wanted to write for teens?
JA: Not really. My first script, Notch 22, is about a freshman in college who pledges a fraternity to win the heart of a girl. It’s definitely R-rated because of the world it’s in. But it is a coming of age story that deals with growing up. I enjoy exploring those times. When you’re figuring out who you are.
BB&R: I love how you include music in your books. Did you listen to certain songs while writing The Sext Crime?
JA: Not while I’m writing. If I had music playing I would start singing along in my chair, which would definitely take me out of the story. It’s harder to finish pages when your hand is shaped like a pretend microphone. “I throw my hands up in the air sometimes. Saying AYO.” Gotta love Taio — Dynamite
BB&R: My favorite characters in the C.Y.A. books are Lightman and Tollhouse. Other characters in the books have hinted at a possible “crush” on both sides of their relationship. In future books, do you think their relationship will grow to be more than friends?
JA: Those two are combustible–sparks of love would be dangerous. Never know though.
BB&R: Are you currently working on anything? (A new C.Y.A. book possibly???)
JA: I’m brainstorming for my next book–taking a stab at an adult one. My librarian sister wants me to write a romance novel, but a couple of fans have said they like action/thriller stories. Still deciding. Any votes out there? After I finish that project, I’ll start on C.Y.A. book three.
Jason Ancona’s Favorites:
My Interview with Lightman:
BB&R: When and how did you first meet Pi and Tollhouse?
L: I met Pi playing World of Warcraft online. Found out he went to Trenton, so we got together I.R.L. (in real life). His friend tagged along for our first meeting at the library. Tollhouse has been annoying me ever since.
BB&R: Tollhouse enjoys making you wear costumes that you’d rather not wear. If you could wear one costume to wear backstage during the C.Y.A. client meetings, what would it be?
L: First of all, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Or how you could possibly know about C.Y.A. meetings and the whole costume deal. Second of all, I’ve never worn anything Tollhouse has given me, put out for me, or touched with his filthy fingers. What costume would I wear? Please. I’m a freshman, not in fifth grade.
BB&R: If you had a theme song what would it be?
L: I have a theme song–the soundtrack from The Bourne Identity. And it plays in my head when I’m on a mission for the C.Y.A. Or in class when I already know what the teacher is talking about, which is most of the time.
BB&R: What is your favorite line from a movie?
L: “Mr. Wizard. Get me the hell out of here.” I can see from your blank stare that you don’t know it’s from the movie The Matrix. Neo said it. And I’ll say it now, “Mr. Wizard. Get me the hell out of here.”
BB&R: Do you ever hack into Tollhouse’s computer when he’s not home, or when he’s asleep? Find anything interesting?
L: Not that I’d admit. Let’s just say that if you checked his browser history you’d find out he’s active on the Gossip Girl message board. And I’m confident that he posts under the screen name “Bernice.”
My Interview with Tollhouse
BB&R: You seem to not like Lightman very much. When you first met her, did you dislike her?
L: When I first met her I liked her–until she opened her mouth. I don’t dislike her. Lightman’s not all that bad. But when she pushes my buttons, I’m going to push back–most of the time.
BB&R: Favorite cookie?
L: Nestle’s Toll House Chocolate Chip. Fresh baked. Right out of the oven. There is no substitute.
BB&R: If Lightman ever cooked/baked something for you, would you eat it?
L: Not unless you tried it first. To make sure it’s safe.
BB&R: If you could pick one costume to wear backstage during the C.Y.A. client meetings, what would it be?
L: Lancelot–with all the armor. And the cool helmet. I could make a big entrance onstage with my sword drawn. Although that might scare off the person coming to the C.Y.A. for help. I don’t think Pi would go for that.
BB&R: Deeks seems to be obsessed with finding out who the members of the C.Y.A. are. Are you worried, especially after the events of The Sext Crime?
L: Heck yes I’m worried. I don’t need any more urinal cake feedings. Hopefully the goose chase Pi sent Deeks on keeps that guy off our tails.
I would like to thank Jason Ancona (as well as Lightman and Tollhouse) for taking the time to answer these questions.