I recently had the opportunity to ask Blake Nelson, author of Destroy All Cars a few questions (you can read my review of Destroy All Cars here). Here they are, and I hope you enjoy-
1. The main character of Destroy All Cars, James is strongly against the traditional ways of trying to save the environment. Do you share his views?
yeah, I do, but he's sort of exaggerating things the way some people do. James likes to be shocking, and to make "big pronouncements" about things. Not everything he says is actually a good idea. One thing about him though, is his basic concerns are very real. His idea that "organic salad bars aren't going to solve global warming" are pretty accurate.
If not, how did you get the idea of destroying all cars?
I don't think James really thinks we could actually destroy all the cars in the world. the way I got the idea for the book was i wa sin my hometown of Portland and I got stuck in a traffic jam and I noticed all the cars around me were like, one mom inside a huge SUV, like a Suburban or something. Adn all of sudden I saw how absurd this was, and how wasteful. like to move a physical object that big and heavy around, just so she could pick up some milk or whatever. suddenly i thought: WE ARE SO WASTEFUL. that is one of the main ideas of the book. How we generate all this trash and waste all these materials all the time. and once I really started noticing all of that going on around me I was sort of shocked. and then I channeled those feelings into James.
2. What was it like having a book adapted into a movie?
It's always fun when the movie's good. My first book GIRL got made into a movie and it wasn't very good, and so that was frustrating. but it still made a lot more people read the book. and then PARANOID PARK, was really fun. Especially because it was artsy and sort of beautiful. I love movies like that.
3. How did your high school experiences inspire Destroy All Cars?
I was really into going to the library downtown and hanging out with these other high school kids and we would read Karl Marx and talk about how screwed up our society was. This was my revolutionary phase. I read a lot of philosophy and drank espressos and I fetl like I was practically in Paris. but I was actually still in portland. So that was a fun time. Pretending to be an intellectual.
4. Is there anything you would like to add?
Check out my new book RECOVERY ROAD which is about a girl who falls in love in rehab!!