Daughter of spies realizes that the odd occurrences in her small town may be a big problem.
Not sure that I had a choice. I’ve always written, whether it was for my college newspaper or long letters to my grandmothers, aunts, and mom while I lived overseas for almost a decade.
When my grandmother died, someone gave me a shoebox of the letters and postcards that I had sent to her. Apparently she liked to pull them out and share them with visitors. Rereading them was so much fun for me because they were time capsules of my life in Asia and Europe.
What did you like to read as a kid?
Mysteries/detectives like Nancy Drew, Encyclopedia Brown, and Agatha Christies. I also adored Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume, the Wizard of Oz stories, pretty much anything I could get my hands on. I was an avid reader.
Tell us about your cover. Who is the artist?
I have to gush here because I had absolutely nothing to do with the cover and feel like I won the lottery. The artist’s name is Ira Sluyterman van Langeweyde and she captured Mabel and the setting of Silverton so well. The book designer, Tracy McCabe, did amazing work with the entire layout, especially the blue endpapers printed with the Rules. I could go on all day about the awesomeness of the Capstone team.
What surprised you the most about writing Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying?
Trying to find one definitive list of the world’s counties and their official names was impossible. International politics and diplomacy dictate formal recognition, which sometimes does not reflect a particular country’s own given name. For MOPRS, I used lists from The United Nations and the US State Department.
How did you find your agent?
The slush pile! No secret handshake here, just querying. Lots and lots of querying.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Both. I usually write about 30 pages to see where the voice and hook will take me. If it sustains my interest, I’ll plot out the novel.
Do you have a regular writing routine/spot/playlist, etc?
Depending on the day, I usually write at home for a few hours once the kids go to school. I have a dedicated spot that has my notes and research. I also write in a coffee shop, while sitting with other writers. There’s something very energizing knowing that great art is being created next to me. It propels me to try harder.
|Trying to work...|
What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on a YA historical, that is slowly taking shape and is less of a hot mess everyday I revise (yay!).
I also have a fun MG in the pipeline, whose protagonists keeps tumbling into my thoughts, but they’ll have to wait.
AND, I want to say…
Thank you to the SCBWI. This is an amazing organization and the Western Washington chapter is so rich in talent and generosity. I can’t imagine a better place to be a MG/YA writer. And thank you to my writing group: you guys rock!
MABEL OPAL PEAR AND THE RULES FOR SPYING, Capstone Young Readers, is on sale October 1, 2017!