1. As a high school teacher, did you use anything from your students/teaching in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE?
Actually, yes! I happened to be at the school late one evening, waiting for a parent conference, and had my manuscript out and was working on it. I knew I needed to add some detail to some minor back characters--they were a little too cookie-cutter for me. I happen to have a student who is an *extremely* talented artist, and she'd painted a koi fish on my podium. As I was developing these minor background characters, I threw in an artist named Harley who liked to paint koi. My crit partner thought Harley was so unique that he eventually became a pretty major character.
2. Where did you get the idea of being cryogenically frozen? In other words, how did ACROSS THE UNIVERSE come to be?
I got the idea for ACROSS THE UNIVERSE from reading books. Between Jeanne du Prau's CITY OF
3. Your novel is set in the future, how did you create the world your main character is transported to?
It all stemmed from the mystery, mostly. I needed a world where no one knew who they could trust. At one point, one of my characters comments that "This is a ship built on lies." All of the assumptions the characters make about what they think is true is entirely in the air...
4. In what ways do you relate to your main character?
I relate mostly to Amy, the girl who is cryogenically frozen and awoken without her parents. In order to get her character right, I tapped into my own feelings when I left my parents for college. I went to a college two hundred miles from home, and it wasn't financially possible for me to visit them except for Easter and Christmas. That sort of intense sink-or-swim feeling is something I tried to inject into Amy when she realizes she is expected to live without her parents, at least for a time.
5. What's next for you writing wise?
I'm busy working on the sequels for ACROSS THE UNIVERSE! There is going to be a trilogy of space books. After that, who knows?! :)
Thanks so much Beth!