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Ned Vizzini's new book "Be More Chill" is going from the bookshelf to the silverscreen. The directors of "American Pie" - the Weitz Brothers (Chris and Paul) - and Steve Pink, the screenwriter of "High Fidelty" are working to turn this Hyperion/Miramax book into a movie. visitor Piper Henriques got a chance to speak to Ned...
Jeremy Heere your "average high school dork" takes a "squip" to make him cool to get The Girl. The squip - a supercomputer in pill form - tells him what to say, what to wear and how to act to achieve the Ultimate Cool. (Can you get a squip? Google it.)

Ned Vizzini also penned "Teen Angst? Naaah..."  (his memoir of high school), wrote a great essay for the New York Times Magazine at 17 and a veteran of the New York Press since he was 15.
This 23-year-old New York native writing sensation let us in on his life.
As a young writer with a couple of books under your belt and Be More Chill turning into a movie, what's it like to be Ned Vizzini?
It's cool being Ned Vizzini right now. The only thing is, there's so much to do--I get pretty stressed. I have to keep myself calm by listening to music and working on all sorts of crazy projects, as well as keeping my website updated. And writing my next book is something that I absolutely need in my life - without it I don't know where I'd be. It's been a lifeline.
What sparked the concept for Be More Chill? And what inspired the creation of some of your characters?
The concept of BE MORE CHILL was sparked by a few things: one was a band called Drunk Horse, whose song "AM/FM shoes" (about a guy with a pair of shoes that play the radio and make him cool) reflected my own views on how certain products in society are ascribed with the ability to make us cool. I also saw a lot of consumerism among my peers, and a complete willingness to accept it, and I wanted to write about the consequences of that. Also, I was studying computer science. That can seep into a book.
Can you let us in on your squip websites?
Sure. The squip websites, or "Squipiverse," as we call it, were created to promote BE MORE CHILL but also to be a participatory reality that people all over the world could contribute to. We have websites covering all aspects of the "squip phenomenon"--from celebrities at to people who hate squips at We made a world where squips are real! The wonderful thing is that it generates email every day and people are taking it to places we never expected, with animations, pictures and all sorts of craziness. It's been a great experiment. I think it might even be art. You can go to and judge for yourself.
Ned, what do you love to do?
I love to ride my bike. I got really into it this summer. My brother introduced me. I feel like I'm beating the system when I ride it, and I develop nice muscles. It's been a godsend.
You're a really proactive writer, you host a biweekly reading series at Barbes in NY, speak to students at schools, send out newsletters, have busy message boards, creative contests ... you have such great energy, what drives you, inspires you?
What drives me? Fear of death, of course. That's why I started writing too. Fear of failure keeps me going. I like to keep myself busy so I won't  have regrets later.
When you speak to students at schools, what message do you like them to walk away with?
I like students to walk away knowing that they can do what they want to do with life as long as they don't watch too much TV, don't spend too much time on AIM, stay off ecstasy and stay dogged about their goals. Whether it's writing, music, or art, if you don't listen to anyone you'll find that you can go pretty far. Only listen to the people who know what they're talking about. And take them with a grain of salt. Make art. It'll save you.
What events do you have coming up in October, November? How can we keep in loop on what's new?
All of the important information about what I'm doing is on my website, In October I will be speaking in Morenci, MI, where people are big fans of mine, and also speaking at a number of libraries in New York, as well as hosting my reading series at Barbes. I also hope to be finished with my new book at that time. And I'll be presenting a program called the "New York City Student Writing Showcase" to teachers and librarians in the NYC public school system to try and get them signed up. I'm really excited about the program!
Do you have a favourite quote:
I'm going to take a lot of heat for quoting Jesus, but this is what's helped me out lately: "What man by worrying can add an hour to his life?" 
What are some of your favourite things, food, entertainment ... anything ....
In terms of food, the one thing I can always eat is yogurt. I keep it around for emergencies. Girls hate it--the food that girls can always eat is avocadoes. I love Spider-Man, the first one. I think it's an American classic. I also love the NetCaptor browser and I'm a big fan in the book world of James Frey's A Million Little Pieces. Just as a sampler.
What advice do you have for young writers?
Breaking into the writing world is tougher than it was when I was a young person, actually. It seems that everyone wants to write a book and no one wants to read one! My advice remains to start with short stories, preferably ones about true things that happened to you, and work your way up to fiction. Fiction is hard. Don't try to do it all at once.
Last messages?
Come to and join the discussion about my books and your own writing!

Ned will be at the Lambrook Festival in London on 27/10 to speak to young people about the writing process.. why not go along?

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