What inspired you to write Wish You Weren’t?
I’m that mom who wakes the kids up at midnight to watch a meteor shower ☺ And just like in the book, when my kids were younger, they loved getting up in the middle of the night. That in itself was an adventure. But at that age, they also bickered. A lot. So overhearing one of them say to the other, I wish you weren’t here, it made me wonder what would happen if that wish came true. And from there I just let my imagination take over.
Wish You Weren’t involves astronomy and time travel, two of my favorite subjects. What was your research process like and how long did it take you to write it?
I’ve always been a stargazer, but I have to say, when it comes to research, Google is my best friend. My computer is full of articles from NASA, JPL, space.com and spacenews.com. I visited JPL twice to make sure I got those details right, once during an open house and once for a private tour so I could be more specific.
It took me a long time to write my first draft and then even longer to revise. Once I thought it was ready, my agent at the time sent it to one of my dream editors who read it over the weekend and sent back a few notes. I loved her suggestions, but it meant rewriting the story to include Paul from the beginning. The more I thought about it, the more I agreed. I’m so glad I followed her advice because I think the story ended up much better as a result.
What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?
In middle school I was obsessed with Judy Blume. I read everything she wrote. But I was also a sci-fi nerd who devoured Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia and the Perelandra space trilogy from C.S. Lewis. I think authors who inspire me as a writer are Rick Riordan, Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling, Eoin Colfer and Anthony Horowitz. All of them combine humor and friendship with amazing adventures and they make me believe magic could be waiting around any corner.
The path to publication varies from author to author. Can you share some advice for new authors?
I think the most important thing is to be really honest with yourself about your abilities. Know your strengths and your limits and be able to really hear the criticism for what it is: a chance to improve. No one is perfect. There’s always room to grow. My critique group has been invaluable for pointing out the weaknesses in my writing and helping me to get better. And they’ve been there to cheer me through every step of the process. I know critiquing other people’s writing has made me a stronger writer as well. So maybe that’s the most important thing: find a good critique group!
If you could live anyplace real or fictional, where would it be? Why?
England. All the good stuff in fiction happens over there, right? From Jane Austen novels to Robin Hood, the Scarlet Pimpernel and Sherlock Holmes. They’ve got Hogwarts and Diagon Alley, the Doctor, and James Bond – yeah, England is the place to be!
If you could befriend a character from one of your books, who would you befriend? Why?
I always fall in love with my characters. I loved Marten and Paul in Wish You Weren’t. They were like the best combination of my guy friends from when I was a kid: smart and funny and always looking out for each other. But Aldrin takes center stage in Borrowed Time and he’s not the brat anymore. He’s grown into a pretty awesome person. So I’d be happy to hang out with any of those guys.
Are you currently working on a book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?
I’m working on a sequel to Wish You Weren’t. It’s called Borrowed Time and it takes place almost seven years after the end of WYW. This time Aldrin is the one traveling through time and…well, here’s the blurb:
Aldrin just wants to play basketball. And get a good grade on his science project. But with his brother away at college, his mom on a mission to the moon and his father’s mind in outer space, Aldrin is totally on his own. Things that should be easy are starting to feel impossible.
When Aldrin finds a watch that allows him to travel to different times and places, he’s sure he has the key to solving all of his problem. At least he will, once he figures out how to control the magical timepiece. But a complication that threatens the moon mission makes Aldrin realize how dangerous traveling through space and time can be. And in order to save his mom, he might have to do the one thing that could jeopardize her mission even more: use the watch.
Where can we purchase your books or learn more about them?
Borrowed Time won’t be out until early next year, but Wish You Weren’t is available through all major retailers, in print, ebook or audiobook. And if you don’t see it at your bookstore or library, you can ask them to order it for you.
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