Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Author Interview- Mary G. Thompson

1) There's such an imaginative, detailed underground world in Wuftoom that I'm wondering how you got the idea for it.

The initial idea started with the picture of the boy, Evan, sitting in his bed in the dark all covered in membranes, with the creature sliding toward him across the floor. From there, I quickly realized that Evan had to be turning into the creature. As for the underground world, it seemed like a logical extension of the transformation. To have a real story and not just an idea, the Wuftoom had to live somewhere and have a civilization, with motivations and culture and morals of their own. They had to eat something (or someone) and sleep somewhere and have friendships and rivalries. Basically, I put myself in the position of the Wuftoom and asked, how would I live if I faced this unique set of circumstances? If I were Evan, how would I react to this transformation if I wanted to survive?

2) What are you currently working on?

I just finished going over the proofs for my next book, Escape From the Pipe Men!, which will be out June 11, 2013. It's a sci-fi action/adventure story about a couple of kids who have grown up in an alien zoo and go on an adventure across the universe. I had a lot of fun with this one because it has all sorts of different aliens and space travel and action, and much more humor than Wuftoom. My biggest dream would be to travel through space and meet aliens, whereas, of course, what happens to Evan in Wuftoom probably isn't what anyone wakes up in the morning wanting. So I got to live out my fantasies a little more.

3) You were a practicing attorney before becoming a full-time writer. What prompted the switch? Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I had always thought about writing and had written a couple things, but I didn't get really serious about it until I got out of the Navy in 2007. At that time, I started resenting all the time I had to spend at my day job, and I knew I had to do whatever it took to be able to focus on writing. I loved law school for the intellectual challenge, but let's face it, imagining crazy worlds all day is a lot more fun than anything else. So I used my GI Bill to come to New York and do the MFA in Writing for Children at The New School. Once I came here and started meeting other authors and getting into the world of publishing, I finally felt like I was in the right place!

4) What's your favorite Jelly Belly jelly bean flavor(s)? Or, if those aren't your thing, favorite snack?

I just ate a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie frozen yogurt for dinner. I hope my mom doesn't read this! I'm going to have some vegetables later, I swear.

5) Now that Wuftoom's been out for a few months, how does it feel having your debut out in the world?

Not too different! I'm really happy that people are reading it, but they aren't doing it in my living room. I wish I had a live video feed of everyone reading the book so I could see their real time reactions! But no, I sit in my cave in front of my computer all day just like I always did. I like to think that no matter what happens in my career, some copy of Wuftoom will survive. Maybe after the apocalypse a ragged child will sift a charred copy out of the rubble of a library and reintroduce the world to the joy of reading. One can dream.

6) What book(s) are you currently reading, or are about to start? I saw you picked up some books at BEA- have any of those caught your eye?

I haven't gotten to many of the BEA books yet. Lately I've been reading a lot of adult books, because I got into a place where I couldn't read YA without editing, and I needed to take a break to renew my ability to just sit and enjoy. My favorites lately have been The Road by Cormac McCarthy, The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, and (in YA) The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech and The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson. I also love to read nonfiction, especially science. It's important to know what's really going on even if, when it comes to my novels, I end up throwing the real world out the window!

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