The following Q&A was taken from

Pittacus Lore, the pseudonym of James Frey and Jobie Hughes and author of I Am Number Four, interviewed Will Hill, author of the bestselling Department 19 series and Department 19 files.


Pittacus Lore: From the very beginning of Department Nineteen, Jamie is thrown into an intense and dangerous covert mission yet he is resilient and brave. Who or what was the inspiration for Jamie?

Will Hill: Jamie starts out as a bit of an everyman, who gets drawn into something much bigger than him, something he doesn't really understand. It's a long, proud tradition in genre fiction – a big part of the reason that Harry Potter and Star Wars are so popular is because people want to believe that they might be extraordinary, that an owl might arrive inviting them to Hogwarts, or they might discover that they are actually a Jedi.

As a result, he was inspired by all the reluctant heroes that went before him. I've just always loved that type of character and I wanted Jamie to follow in that tradition.

Pittacus Lore: The action and fight scenes in your book are thrilling and believable. It was easy to imagine everything that took place. How did you write such intense and credible battle scenes?

Will Hill: I really don't know! I'm the least violent person you could imagine, and I would run a mile if I had to face anything that either Jamie or Number Four have to face.

To be honest, I thought a lot about the geography of the action (for some of the big sequences in Department Nineteen: The Rising, I actually drew little maps of where everyone started and ended ‒ they looked like a football coach's whiteboard!) ‒ I think it makes it easier for the reader to let their imagination run riot if they aren't having to try and work out who is standing where, and who has moved next to whom.

Pittacus Lore: The current trend in paranormal fiction is to put a new spin on the traditional vampire legends but you've gone back to the source material. Why was this important to you? What do you think it brings to the book?

Will Hill: The vampires in Department Nineteen are not completely traditional ‒ crosses don't work on them, or holy water, or running water, or garlic ‒ but I wanted to use the two central aspects, the need to drink blood and the inability to go in the sun, to try and do something that was new and fresh, while still being very respectful to the classic horror stories.

My hope is that it all gives Department Nineteen a sense of history, and place; I want it to feel like this organization has been fighting monsters since long before anyone who reads it was born.

Pittacus Lore: Who do you think would win in a fight, Dracula or a Mogadorian?

Will Hill: In a straight one on one fight? Dracula, every time. He's too fast, too strong, too old and cunning. However, the Mogadorians don't ever seem to hunt alone, do they?

Pittacus Lore: Jamie is skilled at running covert missions. How do you think he could have helped Number Four in his quest?

Will Hill: Even if Jamie could take his T-Bone and all his other weapons into Number Four's world, I don't think they'd be much help against the Mogadorians. But he would stand alongside Number Four until the very end ‒ he'd have been there in the school and in the forest, fighting and doing whatever it took to help his friend. Loyalty is his best quality.

Pittacus Lore: Sarah in I Am Number Four is in love with an alien. Jamie in Department Nineteen is falling for a vampire named Larissa. What makes interspecies love just so difficult?

Will Hill: I'm assuming you don't mean anatomically?

I think what both relationships show is that all love is difficult, not just supernatural, inter-species love. But hopefully what they also show is that it's what's inside a person that really matters; Sarah doesn't fall for Number Four because he's an alien, just as Jamie doesn't fall for Larissa because she's a vampire. Its part of it, I think, in both cases ‒ the mysterious always tends to be attractive ‒ but I think ultimately they fall in with the people themselves, not the incredible things they can do.

Pittacus Lore: No spoilers, but what may Jamie be facing next in Department Nineteen: The Rising.

Will Hill: The final page of Department Nineteen, which I'm certainly not going to spoil, gives a big clue as to what Jamie is going to find himself up against in The Rising. It's going to get very, very bad for Jamie and his friends, I'm afraid ‒ where Department Nineteen was a rescue mission, The Rising is very much a fight for survival...