Here are some of the top questions I get in letters and at school visits:
Is Keepers of the Labyrinth like Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians?
Being compared to Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson is both a blessing and a curse. First, it is a blessing because more kids can discover and get excited about it this way. The curse is that, plain and simple, it isn’t very much like Percy Jackson at all. Keepers has its own take on mythology, and its own adventure through a dark and dangerous labyrinth. This particular take(without giving too much away) is more along the lines of realistic adventure: think Dan Brown, Goonies, 39 Clues. It has one foot in archaeology and one foot in mythology. So, if you like Percy Jackson for the signature attitude, you probably aren’t looking for Keepers. But if you like to geek out on mythology, track down ancient artifacts, come face to face with gods and go on heroic quests while solving a mystery, then yeah, you’ve found your next read!
Where do you come up with your ideas?
My ideas usually come with just a phrase, word, or line delivered by…well, my imagination, I suppose. Then once I have that line and it has been rolling around in my head for awhile, it tends to pick up steam and starts telling me a story.
Which of your books is your favorite?
I don’t think I have one! But I can tell you that so far, younger kids seem to like Flutter best. Older kids seem to like Chasing the Milky Way or Keepers of the Labyrinth best, and adults seem to like Tracing Stars the best.
What was your favorite book when you were in sixth grade?
I did so much great reading in sixth grade. Mr. Alligator had a good classroom library. I loved reading fantasy, but my sixth grade reads that stood out the most were Lyddie by Katherine Paterson, A Murder for her Majesty by Beth Hilgartner, Macbeth by Shakespeare and Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson.
Have you ever met any authors that we have heard of?
I may know a few authors that you have heard of…which ones have you heard of? I have not met J.K. Rowling or Rick Riordan. If only!
What other jobs have you had besides writing?
Well, I started working when I was 14, at an indie book shop in VT. Besides that, I have worked as a tutor, and, most daringly, as a lighting designer and technician for the theater. This job included doing lots of late and overnight gigs in the theaters and venues of Boston. I don’t miss the heights, the harnesses or the late nights. I do miss the theater before people arrive–doing a light check with just your feet pattering across the quiet stage. I miss the soft curtains and I miss the collaborative magic that happens when the theater is alive with a story. Theater people, they really are the best storytellers. And now that that tangent is over, I have also worked in libraries! I love the library. It is a house of stories. I guess you could say that I’ve worked in story houses my whole working life.
What would you do if you weren’t a writer?
I’d be a librarian! Ok, I am a librarian–not by schooling–only by trade. I love the library. I love working with the teens. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who lament “kids these days.” Trust me, the kids these days are fine. In fact, they’re doing real good. And guess what? If they’re not, it’s our own fault for raising them up this way….soooo….stop complaining, all right? As if every generation doesn’t have its problems, and alternately, its beautiful moments.
What do you like to do besides write?
I like to spend time with my family, go walking and do yoga, make programs for the teens at the Derry Public Library, drink tea, dig around ancestry.com, travel, knit (sometimes), do bad drawings and storyboards and think. I do a lot of thinking/daydreaming.