1. Did you have to do any research before writing TRAPPED? Have you had a similar experience?
Well, I grew up in a very snowy area. My hometown is in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. Those are the first mountains that a lot of weather systems encounter when they come in off the Atlantic, so the clouds have to dump their snow on us in order to climb to the other side. I remember being bundled up in a snowsuit as a kid (like the little brother in A Christmas Story) and being in snow up to my chest. There’s a scene in the book where someone is trying to walk in chest-high snow, and I was definitely the right person to write that! And I also spent many days inside, just watching the snow come down for hours at a time.
2. Before seeing your cover for the first time, did you have any ideas on what you hoped it would look like?
Not really. I just had some vague ideas and knew that there would be a lot of snow. But they designed the cover fairly early in the process, and I kept running into people who worked at Scholastic and had already seen it. They’d be like, “Oh, man, your cover looks amazing!” I was really curious but kind of embarrassed to say that I hadn’t seen it, so I’d be like, “Thanks… Uh, what is it you like best about it? Specifically?”
3. TRAPPED is called "The Breakfast Club meets The Blizzard of the Century", how did you combine the two?
Well, there were two things I had to do. The first was to construct a massive but believable blizzard. I did some research for that, about how nor’easters form and how they power and sustain themselves, and I relied on my own experiences of what big storms look and feel like.
The second, much larger job was just introducing a group of (somewhat mismatched) characters and staying true to them by having them behave in consistent, believable ways based on their own individual personalities. To be completely honest, I originally envisioned this book as more of an arctic Lord of the Flies, but once I started fleshing out the characters and letting them interact, I realized that this particular group would try to coexist and find some balance more than they would want to fight and compete.
4. Between GENTLEMEN and TRAPPED, do you have one favorite character?
This is a tough question! On the one hand, I will always have a soft spot for Micheal because he is the main character and narrator of my first novel. On the other hand, Scotty is less frustrating as a person and easier to like. I will say that I just finished a thriller (for adults), and my favorite character in that one is a basset hound.
5. If you could be any animal in the world, what would you be?
This is basically the perfect question for me. Like most authors, I have a blog, but mine is maybe 10 percent about books and writing and easily 50 percent about random animals I think are cool. I think I would be a grizzly bark, which is a grizzly bear that, instead hibernating, turns into a mako shark in the winter. Hibernating is sort of appealing in concept but I wouldn’t want to sleep that much of my life away. So instead, I’d go down to the coast, turn into the world’s fastest shark, and hightail it to warmer waters. Once I was there, well, I really like sushi…
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