Monday, April 3, 2017

Under Locker and Key: Meet Hack!


I'm about 2 weeks out from my debut, and I'm starting to get nervous. I attended Rosalyn Eves's book launch for her Blood Rose Rebellion, and it all became real that I'm going to be doing the same thing in a few weeks.

But it's okay. I'm currently reading The Jumbee by Pamela Keyes. The Phantom of the Opera in the Caribbean. BE STILL MY HEART.

Anyway, on to the main event. This week, I'm interviewing another character from Under Locker and Key, Paul "Hack" Heigel, 12-year-old hacker.

Hack: Yep, that's me! Where did you think the nickname came from?

Me: We're happy to have you here, Hack.

Happy to be here. Mom actually shortened my grounding sentence so I could do this.

Yes, we heard you were grounded last week. Did that have anything to do with computers?

You could say that.

What happened?

Let's just say Mom and I had a disagreement over the internet. She thinks changing the password every day should keep me off when I'm supposed to be doing homework. I think that's why we have neighbors whose WiFi password is so easy to figure out. She caught me chatting with J online, and well, that's history. But it's okay. I'm free now.

Glad to hear it. So, how do you eat your pizza?

Ooh! Are we having pizza then? No? That's too bad. Okay, I guess I eat it like a normal person. I pick up the slice and eat it from the pointy end first. Sometimes I roll it up, though, and eat it like a burrito, especially if there are a lot of toppings. I love Meat Lover's pizza.

 So, Case is into football. Do you have a favorite sport?

Rock climbing. I go with my dad when I'm staying with him, when the weather is nice. We climb real rocks! Case may be protective of his hands, but I think climbing helps me build the stamina I need for my work.

 Your work? You mean typing?

Sure! Have you ever typed for hours?

It's kind of in the writer job description.

Then I don't have to explain it to you. Hand cramps from typing feel like nothing after climbing for few hours.

But there's more to hacking than just typing, right?

Right. Hacking is actually a sophisticated area of expertise. I don't just decipher code and attack firewalls until something gives. I'd tell you more, but if Mom saw this she'd would ground me again. And she'd get better at changing the passwords.

Well, we can't have that.

That would be bad. But it's so good! I mean...okay, all right. You can actually figure out passwords from what you know about a person, and even if that doesn't work, people tend to use the same passwords for everything. If you can get their social media password, you can get their email, most of the time. Consider that a freebie.

Thank you. I know the readers will appreciate the tip. I hope you don't get in trouble for this.

Eh. Mom might not see it. And if she does, Case and J gave me a whole stash of comic books, and J even lent me an old handheld game system his older brother doesn't play anymore. I won't be bored.

That's a good attitude.

Grounding is part of life.

For some of us, sure. So, what's your favorite Disney movie?

Wreck-It Ralph. Duh.

 What's your favorite thing to do when you're not grounded or working?

I like rock climbing, but I'd have to say video games with Case and J. I always kick their butts. They think it's because I know all the cheats, but what they don't know is I'm just that good.

And I know all the cheats. All of them, for every game I own. Why would developers make cheats if they didn't want them used?

 Fair point. So, tell us about your family.

Mom and Dad split up a few years back. I live with Mom, but I still see Dad a lot, though. He works testing security systems for companies, trying to hack in. I learn a lot from him. No siblings to speak of yet.

Any projects you're working on now?

A book report for Language Arts. Oh, that's not what you're talking about? Hacking comes as I need it; I haven't really planned any big projects. You'd want to talk to Case about that. He's the big planner. I am trying to create some mods for some of the games I play, just for fun. Does that count as a project?

Sure. And, one more: What do you think of Becca Mills?

Oh, thanks for making me think about her. Now I'll have nightmares tonight. J's the one you'll want to ask about Becca. He's the one who retrieves at school where she's watching and waiting. If anyone's an expert on avoiding the snitch, it's him.

I'll take that into consideration when I talk to him in a couple of weeks. Thank you, Hack!

You're welcome!

Next week, we'll talk to the infamous Becca Mills herself.

Here are the week's debuts:

Middle Grade:
Ruth Lauren - Prisoner of Ice and Snow (4/4)
N.R. Bergeson - The Magnificent Glass Globe (4/4)

Young Adult:
Jessica Fleck - The Castaways (4/3)
Beth Ellyn Summer - At First Blush (4/4)
Heather Maclean - Toward a Secret Sky (4/4)
Sonia Belasco - Speak of Me as I Am (4/4)
Kelly Garrett - The Last to Die (4/4)
Andrew DeYoung - The Exo Project (4/4)
Sara Biren - The Last Thing You Said (4/4)
Whitney Taylor - Definitions of Indefinable Things (4/4)

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