Award-Winning Author C.J. Farley Explains How BTS Inspired The Title And Story Of His New Book
With readers in BTS, namely RM and Suga, naturally, the group’s music is frequently inspired by literature.
Now, authors are being inspired by BTS when writing their own books.
Former music critic and award-winning author C.J. Farley (also known as Christopher John Farley) appeared on The Today Show this morning to promote his new YA book Zero O’Clock.
The hosts wondered what the inspiration was behind the unique title, and ARMYs could recognize it as also the title of the popular BTS song “00:00 (Zero O’Clock).” It turns out that was exactly the inspiration behind Farley’s book title.
‘Zero O’Clock’ is a BTS song. It’s a song that’s all about how when things are at their worst, when the clock reaches 12, when it reaches ‘zero o’clock,’ you know, it’s a bad thing, but it’s a good time because it’s time for things to start all over again. You have a new opportunity. I thought that’s so perfect… what we’re going through now with the pandemic where things seem like they’re at their worst moment, but we have this chance, opportunity, for the clock to start all over again. So, I made that the title of my book.
— C.J. Farley
BTS’s inspiration didn’t end there either. He explained that the main character, a Jamaican American teenager with OCD, Geth Montego is also ARMY in the book.
She is dealing with the pandemic … and finds some comfort in the music of BTS. And later, she gets involved in the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s all about what kids are going through because, for us, it’s just one moment in our lives maybe, a terrible moment, but for kids, this is like half their high school lives. …I wanted to write a book that captured all the things kids are going through to bring them some comfort, give them some healing to show there are books out there that are tapped in what they’re really going through.
— C.J. Farley
Zero O’Clock is an important response to the times. It directly tackles social issues and covers important events, Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, etc.
Sixteen-year-old Geth Montego already had her world upended when her father died three years ago in a school shooting, and now it’s happening again as COVID-19 takes over America. Geth loves Broadway and BTS, has two close friends, and is eagerly awaiting her college acceptance letters, but readers will be waiting to see how 2020 unfolds for the teen and her friends. A confrontation with the cops puts Geth in the center of the Black Lives Matter movement in her community, pushing her already fraught coming-of-age story into the limelight. Geth’s voice carries the novel through our unprecedented recent history as she navigates grief, anger, and her own mental illnesses of anxiety, depression, and OCD during the stay-at-home orders and rising pandemic death toll. Her narration comes at the cost of some heavy exposition, which Farley breaks up epistolary-style with news reports, texts, emails, and even school essays. This novel juggles police violence, social justice, college stress, mental illness, friendship, romance, and the pandemic. A few of those topics get dropped before the finish line, but Geth’s sense of humor helps smooth things over as they relive 2020 with her. Geth is Black, her best friends are Jewish Korean and Cuban American, and her mother’s boyfriend is white.
— School Library Journal
Farley explains more in-depth the inspiration behind this timely book on online stores’ listing of Zero O’Clock. Without a doubt, this is a story we can all in someway we relate to.
I live in New Rochelle, NY, which was ground zero during the first days of the pandemic. I have two teen children and I saw firsthand how the virus stole away what should have been the most carefree days of their lives. I also witnessed how the Black Lives Matter movement reenergized my kids and gave them a sense of purpose in a terrible time. I wrote Zero O’Clock to capture what the spring of 2020 felt like, because, to paraphrase Lin-Manuel Miranda, it was more than a moment, it was a movement. The title was inspired by the song ’00:00 (Zero O’Clock)’ by the South Korean boy band BTS. Geth, the main character, is a huge fan of BTS. The song is about having a bad day, or a rough period, but realizing that, just like clocks roll over at midnight, life starts over every morning. My novel is about a period during the pandemic when life seemed to stop—hitting 00:00—but our protagonist comes to realize that, just like the clocks, she can always begin again.
— C.J. Farley
BTS certainly plays an important part in Farley’s latest story. So, last year, Farley even spoke with ARMY about the YA novel on Talk! with ARMY podcast.
Have a small preview of our two hour conversation with @cjfarley ! His novel, Zero O:Clock is out NOW!
🔗: https://t.co/gXRRDskOqq pic.twitter.com/ouLHKoCGBo
— Talk! with ARMY🎙 (@Studio_090713) September 7, 2021
C.J. Farley’s best-selling book Zero O’Clock is available for purchase now in hardback, paperback, and audiobook. It’s available through most stores.
You can watch C.J. Farley talk more about Zero O’Clock below:
It was great to be on @3rdHourTODAY with @alroker @SheinelleJones @JillMartin to talk about how @bts_bighit inspired my new YA book #zerooclock! #akashic #audible #army https://t.co/rCEUN2yjkW
— cjfarley (@cjfarley) January 19, 2022