Called a "YA rebel-author" by Kirkus Reviews, Barry Lyga has published eleven novels in various genres in his seven-year career, including the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers. His books have been or are slated to be published in nine different languages in North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.
After graduating from Yale with a degree in English, Lyga worked in the comic book industry before quitting to pursue his lifelong love of writing. In 2006, his first young adult novel, The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, was published to rave reviews, including starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal. Publisher's Weekly named Lyga a "Flying Start" in December 2006 on the strength of the debut.
His second young adult novel, Boy Toy, received starred reviews in SLJ, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus. VOYA gave it its highest critical rating, and the Chicago Tribune called it "...an astounding portrayal of what it is like to be the young male victim." His third novel, Hero-Type, according to VOYA "proves that there are still fresh ideas and new, interesting story lines to be explored in young adult literature."
Since then, he has also written Goth Girl Rising (the sequel to his first novel), as well as the Archvillain series for middle-grade readers and the graphic novel Mangaman (with art by Colleen Doran).
His latest series is I Hunt Killers, called by the LA Times "one of the more daring concepts in recent years by a young-adult author" and an "extreme and utterly alluring narrative about nature versus nurture." The first book landed on both the New York Times and USAToday bestsellers lists, and the series has been optioned for television by Warner Bros./Silver Pictures.
Lyga lives and writes in New York City. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.
In an April 2012 interview with Publishers Weekly, Barry Lyga was asked about the development of the character Billy Dent.
Jazz's father, Billy Dent, is essentially an “evolved” serial killer, changing his signature and defying conventional profiling. What inspired his creation?
I kept thinking about a couple of things. One was, what if you had a serial killer who was smart enough to know how you get caught and could avoid it? I’ve got friends who are police officers, and one friend [a lieutenant in the Baltimore Police Department] said, “It’s a good thing criminals are stupid.” And I started to ask myself, what if you had one of these guys who was really, really smart and studied the history of serial killers, so he knew what everybody did that got them caught, and he could avoid those things?
So that was the beginning of it. The second part is, I’ve been joking that Billy Dent is really the world’s first self-actualized serial killer. He likes what he does, and he’s spent his life preparing for it. Consequentially, he’s really, really good at it. He’s somebody who takes it seriously and views it as his vocation, what he’s meant to do. As a result, he’s better at it than anybody else, and it’s the entire focus of his life. Most serial killers build up these fantasies, and then they slowly begin to live them out. Billy’s looked at it his whole life as the only thing he really wants to do.