Monday, November 25, 2013



PHOTO by  Katherine Warde 

What made you choose Trav for your hero?

The truth is, Trav chose me! When I started writing this story, I had actually decided to try something very different from my past books (picture books and nonfiction for even younger readers): a mystery novel for adults. But after consistently stalling out around chapter 3, I decided to take a mystery-writing class from Ellen Hart to see if I could figure out why I wasn’t able to make any progress. Ellen is a great teacher (and mystery writer), and the first night she gave the class an assignment to reimagine our story openings. As I wrote my new opening, a voice hijacked my story—
the voice of a young teenage boy who I eventually learned was Trav—and I knew that the story truly belonged to him. It turns out that I WAS writing a story that was very different from my past books after all, I just didn’t know whose story it was meant to be right away!

What do you have in common with him?

We don’t share much in the way of personal or family details, but I think we do have behaviors in common. We both tend to be a bit snarky—sometimes as a way of being funny, sometimes as a defense mechanism. He shares my fascination with bad late-night TV. He notices, as I do, animals in the landscape, and he’s fascinated by their behavior. And he thinks in metaphors; he can’t help but look for the sometimes obscure ways that seemingly unrelated things are somehow connected.

When you were a kid, who was your favorite mystery detective?

That’s a tough question, because I loved so many different mysteries! But I think my favorite was an old series of books that were passed down to me from my mom when she was young—the Judy Bolton series by Margaret Sutton. Judy was a spunky girl detective who was way ahead of her time in many ways—and I loved the fact that she grew up over the course of the series. I still love series that follow a character over many years and through different stages of life. Plus the mysteries were lots of fun!

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