June 14, 2016


Congrats to Christian Heidicker on the release of his hilarious and subversive debut, Cure For The Common Universe. I've read this one, and I have to say, you'll laugh and such, but it's surprisingly deep, and it's got a third act that'll shock you.

The Story

Sixteen-year-old Jaxon is committed to video game rehab . . . 

...ten minutes after meeting a girl. A living, breathing girl named Serena, who not only laughed at his jokes but actually kinda sorta seemed excited when she agreed to go out with him.

Jaxon's first date. Ever.

In rehab, he can't blast his way through galaxies to reach her. He can't slash through armies to kiss her sweet lips. Instead, he has just four days to earn one million points by learning real-life skills. And he'll do whatever it takes—lie, cheat, steal, even learn how to cross-stitch—in order to make it to his date.

If all else fails, Jaxon will have to bare his soul to the other teens in treatment, confront his mother's absence, and maybe admit that it's more than video games that stand in the way of a real connection.

Prepare to be cured.

The Reviews

“A plugged-in young adult comedy about the pain of unplugging… perfect for teen gamers and readers who are fans of Jesse Andrews and John Green.” 
--School Library Journal

“Heidicker’s debut crackles with twitchy energy… this is a fun, absurdist romp through gaming culture, populated by zany characters and a quest narrative worthy of its own game.” 


"In confronting Jaxon's privilege and complicated family history, the book eschews easy answers for a more authentic ending that promises that the work of self-improvement is ongoing and difficult."
--Publisher's Weekly

The Interview

Q: What inspired you to write this book?
Ah, geez, let's see . . . Video games are the fastest growing medium and so contain more awesome developments and devastating pitfalls than any other, gamer culture is unendingly nuanced, watching internet addicted kids try to level up in the real world is fascinating (and often hilarious), and who wouldn't want a readership that feels rabidly passionate about your success or demise? The list goes on.

Q: Describe your writing process, from idea to final draft. 
I write my first draft at breakneck speed, usually in less than a month. I try to tap into the fear and anxiety that dwells in my stomach and let it slop out onto the page in ink form. Editing is the slow, miserable process of trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with my insides and how to become a better person by exploring it.

Q: Tell us about your journey, from finding an agent to publication.
I didn't find my agent. Someone else found him for me. She had better networking skills than I . . . as well as a butterfly net. The moral of the story: cowrite a book with someone who has better connections than you. 

After that cowritten book was rejected by sixteen editors, I blacked out and then woke a few months later with a manuscript. My agent, John M. Cusick, sold it, and I tackled a St. Bernard out of sheer joy. That's how I remember it, at least.

Q: Why would someone want to buy your book? 
It's about video game rehab. If you like video games, you're in luck! There are dozens of obscure references to your favorites. If you don't like video games, you're in luck! The characters are in the process of breaking the habit and learning to cope with the real world.

Q: What are your favorite books? What are you reading now? 
Um . . . Matilda by Roald Dahl, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, Pastoralia by George Saunders, Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel, El Deafo by Cece Bell, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, and Promethea by Alan Moore.

Right now I'm reading Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather. It's treating me right.