My Best of Indy: John Green

In the wake of the $300 million hit that was the film adaptation of his novel The Fault in Our Stars, author John Green has been working on a new book and reading a lot of them. He shared with us a few writers who inspire him, and where he buys books (hint: never on Amazon).

When I first moved here, I thought this was a bit of a literary wasteland—that the only Indiana writer was Kurt Vonnegut, who never actually wrote a book in Indianapolis. And that’s totally untrue. We have great contemporary writers. Ben Winters, for example. His weird, beautiful, unapologetically apocalyptic Last Policeman trilogy is one of my favorite mystery series. Through the young-adult writers’ world, I knew Barb Shoup and Michael Dahlie even before I moved here. I love Michael as a YA writer, although of course he has gone on to be an acclaimed author for grownups. And Barb has been an important YA writer for decades. But my favorite Indiana talent right now is Roxane Gay. She might be the best new American writer. It’s crazy that she lives here! I thought her novel An Untamed State was just brilliant—one of the best books I’ve read in years.
I still buy books at bookstores, and most of our children’s books come from Kids Ink at 56th and Illinois. I buy some YA titles there, too. It’s so nice to talk to extraordinarily well-read employees who know what’s new in picture books and what’s selling for teenagers. My wife also sometimes shops for us at the Barnes & Noble on 86th Street. They actually have really knowledgeable booksellers there who are fun to talk to about literature.
As for my own next novel, I used to know what it was about, and now I don’t. The perspective is shifting. I’d really like to publish it by 2016. I don’t want to go five years between novels. Sure, it’s fun to have movies made of something you did eight years ago, but I’d like to actually write something again.