I thought I'd answer the most frequently asked questions I've received so far, provided by my lovely, wise, and hilarious 7th graders.
What is Minnow? A fish?
No, she's the protagonist! That means the main character. You learned that in the last unit, so don't even try to tell me you didn't know that.
What's it about?
Remember when I taught you how important conflict is? Well, I wasn't just blowing hot air! In the first couple chapters, Minnow gets arrested, taken to juvie, and you discover she's just escaped from a religious cult where there was a murder (dun dun dun). What do you mean that's too much conflict? There's no such thing as too much conflict!
Two-book deal? Does that mean there will be a sequel to Minnow?
Nope, Minnow is a stand-alone. The second book will be another stand-alone.
How long did it take you to write?
Almost three years! If that seems like a long time, it's not just because you're twelve, it's because it was a long flippin' time.
What inspired you to write it? (seriously, a kid asked this. Aren't they so awesome?)
At many points, I felt like this:
But, besides that, I read a fairy tale called "The Handless Maiden" in grad school and it stuck in my head and never left. After devouring Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, I had the spark of a book idea.
Did you get any help?
So, so much help. My friend and CP, Christa Desir, (whose debut, Fault Line, is coming out next year, add it to your Goodreads now) read it multiple times. Her feedback was everything. I did a couple of revisions based off really insightful feedback from my agent, Jennifer, and my mom and friend, Lauren, also read versions of the book and talked things out with me.
Can I have some money?
Is there swearing in the book?
Yes, but swearing is very bad and evil and you should never do it in class.
Is there violence?
Lots of it! Now, stop hitting your neighbor.
Is there a love story?
You bet your Peeta-loving hearts there is!
Can I be in the movie?
Of course you can.
Will you still be a teacher?
Yes! I can't even imagine not being a teacher. You make me laugh everyday and stop me from taking myself too seriously.
Now it's time to celebrate. Everybody dance now!