My most recent release is A NIGHT DIVIDED (Scholastic, 8/25/15), a historical middle grade book about a girl named Gerta Lowe, whose family is divided on the night the Berlin Wall goes up, and what she will attempt in order to reunite them. It is based on actual events, very dangerous, and there is no guarantee that everyone involved in this attempt will survive.
Is it a standalone book or part of a series?
This is a standalone book, and actually the first standalone I’ve ever released. But for this one, I figured either Gerta gets out or she doesn’t. Either she survives, or she doesn’t. So a sequel didn’t make much sense!
Who inspired your main character?
Gerta is very much her own character. However, the foundation for her story began with me hearing about a family friend named Ilona, who had been born in East Germany after it had come under the control of Communist Russia. Ilona’s family knew they had to get out, but it was too dangerous for them all to attempt a border crossing together, especially since Ilona was only five. So while the parents crossed the border, they sent Ilona with her West German grandparents to cross by train. Ilona had to be put to sleep and hidden under a haystack for the journey – her grandparents knew their train would be searched at the border. The consequences for Ilona even rolling over in the moment of their train being searched could have been severe.
Are you a plotter or do you just write whatever is in your head?
I used to be one to write as the story came into my head, but as it turns out, my editor has this thing about wanting to know what I’m planning to write before she commits to the next project. So that’s forced me to become better at plotting. I never feel bound to my outline – they change all the time as I write, but knowing where I’m going in a story has made me a better writer, personally.
Do you require silence when writing or do you need background noise?
Are you writing your next book?