What is the working title of your book?
The Pirates of Time and the Navigator's Watch
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I'm not really sure. Most of my ideas come to me early in the morning while my mind wanders through a kind of no man's land of thought (before everyday issues take center stage). Once I have a plot idea, I focus on it and let ideas and dialogue play through my mind. Occasionally I brainstorm with my teens while we take walks in the evenings, because they sometimes suggest surprising twists which I haven't considered.
What genre does your book fall under?
Middle grade science fiction.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
As far as my main character, I see a kid with scruffy brown hair who isn't afraid to look you in the eye in spite of being somewhat trouble-prone, because he's got an irreverent streak. Perhaps I could see a younger version of Liam James or Dylan Minnette for this part?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Jackson Everly discovers his grandfather is the navigator who stranded a band of time-traveling pirates in WW2 Europe, and when their timepiece falls into Jackson's hands, he must evade them while he attempts to save his father, who no longer exists in his timeline, without sacrificing his friend.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I don't know. I have worked in the traditional publishing industry, so I would choose the advantages of working with a team of publishing professionals if possible. I'd like to have an agent, because he or she would know more about contracts and publishing than I do, but if I don't get one, I'll do my best on my own. While I have considered self-publication, especially after my interview with Mark Jeffrey, I still think it's best to go the traditional route. Each pair of trained eyes which goes over a manuscript helps it become better.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The main body of the first draft took about six months. I hate to admit it, but the end is still trickling in. I got bogged down in WW2 research, but I've finally decided just to blast out the end and fix it later, otherwise I'll never finish. (I do know how it ends, by the way.) For the sequel, I wrote out some scene cards and rammed through it in a month during Nanowrimo. Of the two ways of writing, I think that the second way was the best way to go, because I tend to forget the beginning by the time I get to the end if I don't write quickly.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
In voice, my writing group has told me that my writing is not unlike Richard Peck's writing (A Year Down Yonder, and A Long Way from Chicago), which I take as a mixed compliment, because I don't want to sound like anyone else. I just want to sound like me. On a good day, I might say it's also a bit along the lines of the 39 Clues series. (I'd rather not think about the bad days.)
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
From the time I was a kid, I've held Madeleine L'Engle up as a standard of great storytelling. A Swiftly Tilting Planet and Many Waters are particular favorites of mine written by her. I can't say they directly inspired me to write this book, but their influence has still had an impact on me as a writer. I particularly like stories that deal with time.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The key to my book is Jackson's motivation for what he does. He wants to know his dad better than he does from the letters which were written while his dad was deployed in the Middle East. Jackson's conflicting values give him an ethical dilemma, though. While he realizes it is in his power to change the timeline and at least attempt to bring his dad back, he also discovers that doing so will cause one of his best friends to never have been born. There is no way for him to do both.
So Jackson's initial problem is how to escape from furious pirates who have searched the world for years to find his family and take revenge on them, but the story-worthy problem is Jackson's choice of whether or not he is willing to sacrifice another person to be able to have a relationship with his dad.
TIME TO HOP! Please check out these great authors and find out what's up and coming from them:
• John Manders, children's illustrator and author
• Laura Knoerr, author of work-in-progress
• Jeff Mack, author and illustrator of Clueless McGee