Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
By day, I’m a school librarian, who works in the Dallas-Fort Wort Metroplex, serving in Northwest ISD. By night, I’m a wide-eyed, keyboard-clacking novelist who like movies, novels, music and travel. Basically, I’m either pushing books, reading them, writing them, or dreaming about them!
In your own words, tell us a little bit about your book?
Tracked is the story of one spitfire girl who lives on another planet, in the far future—a girl who evolves from south side street racers to pro-circuit legend to a rogue-rescuing revolutionary. (I like to think of Phee as a Han Solo girl, who prefers driving to piloting space ships. Also, her Princess Leia isn’t a princess at all. Instead, Phee rescues a prince!)
Can you tell us about the characters in your book? Who is your favorite?
My favorite character is probably Bear Larssen. He’s the least like me, and I wish were more like him, because I admire his steadfast loyalty, courage and honor. He may not be the flashiest character, but he is incredibly strong in so many ways, and the world needs more people like him. (Hint: Can’t wait for readers to get to know him even better in book two!!)
What makes your book different from other books out there in the same genre?
In writing Tracked, I tried so hard to balance external action with internal struggle and create a story in which the romance is organic and the heroine is really and truly the agent of her own destiny. That was really important to me—to write a character who was proactive, and not just reactive. So Phee is a rebellious rogue–a Han Solo type–who’s not content to sit back and allow others to make decisions for her. While she is certainly reckless, she’s also resilient and ready to protect not only herself, but the lives of those she cares for the most.
In addition, I hope the racing element adds an exciting, heart-pumping edge to the story—the role of street racer seems to be an unusual one for a YA heroine.
Most of all, believe it or not, I think the novel is more science fiction than dystopian. Tracked doesn’t so much set out to reflect a horrifying dystopian landscape as much as it aims to reflect the future of the society we live in now. The idea of corporate control and manipulation isn’t just a wild fantasy—it’s something we face every day in our consumer-driven culture. Tracked simply takes that reality and pushes it further.
Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?
I’m a bit ashamed to admit this, but I’m a chronic draft bumbler. When I say that, I mean I usually have to write a scene three or four ways, before I figure out how to finalize it. It’s as if I have to explore all the wrong ways, before I can find the right one. I think it’s because emotion and tone is so important to me. I need to dig deep and experiment to conjure the character’s experience. And it seems I can’t do that, on the first try. I’ve come to accept that it’s just part of my process, but I envy perfect drafters.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Neil Gaiman is my favorite author. I just love escaping into his worlds—they are truly transporting. (Embarassing fact: Once, I met him at a signing, and when it was my turn, I couldn’t even speak. I felt so overwhelmed, I just burst into tears. But of course, he was unflappable and gracious. I’ll never forget that hug, and the kind things he said.) I have many other favorite authors, but the list is just too long!
What are you reading now?
Right now, I’m reading The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds. Jason is just an incredible author and an incredible human being. He is so whip-smart and generous and down to earth and utterly charming. If you haven’t read his novels or his poetry, you’re really missing out.
What advice can you give to struggling writers?
My dear friend, author A. Lee Martinez, shared this advice with me, and we jokingly call it the Tripod of Success. There are only three things you need to succeed, and you only need to have two out of three: Luck, Talent, and Persistence. So just keep writing, and you’ll either catch a bit of luck, or you’ll get better. Either way, you’ll be all right. Just keep going. 😉
Tracked by Jenny MartinPublished by DIAL (CHILDREN) on May 5th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Cars & Trucks, General, Science Fiction, Transportation, Young Adult
On corporately controlled Castra, rally racing is a high-stakes game that seventeen-year-old Phoebe Van Zant knows all too well. Phee's legendary racer father disappeared mysteriously, but that hasn't stopped her from speeding headlong into trouble. When she and her best friend, Bear, attract the attention of Charles Benroyal, they are blackmailed into racing for Benroyal Corp, a company that represents everything Phee detests. Worse, Phee risks losing Bear as she falls for Cash, her charming new teammate. But when she discovers that Benroyal is controlling more than a corporation, Phee realizes she has a much bigger role in Castra's future than she could ever have imagined. It's up to Phee to take Benroyal down. But even with the help of her team, can a street-rat destroy an empire?'Deeply inventive, Tracked is an action-packed sci-fi with heart. Sequel, please!' Erin Bowman, author of the Taken trilogy'Adrenaline fueled from first page to finish line.' Mindy McGinnis, author of Not a Drop to Drink
5 winners will receive a finished copy of TRACKED and an awesome swag pack! US Only.
5 winners will receive a finished copy of TRACKED! US Only.
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