Welcome back to Shadow Children author Margaret Peterson Haddix! It’s nice to talk to her again. Having just finished her Missing series we talked a little about what’s coming up next…
1. What have you been up to in the last year?
2. You just ended your popular MISSING series last year; what’s it feel like to let go of a series you’ve been working on for so long?
It’s bittersweet. On one hand, there’s a sense of accomplishment in finishing something that I worked on for eight years. But on the other hand, I find myself missing the characters, especially Jonah, Katherine, and Angela. And sometimes I still think of something that would be fun to do with time travel, and then I think, “Oh, no! I’m not writing that series anymore. It’s over.”
3. What do you do for time management when you have deadlines?
I don’t sleep. No, just kidding! (Sort of. I do sleep less when I’m on a tight deadline.) Mostly I just become more focused. And sometimes having a tight deadline helps me pare down what I’m trying to say to only the most essential words and details. This is usually a good thing.
Sure! UNDER THEIR SKIN is about a brother and sister whose mother tells them she is getting remarried. As the kids try to figure out how that affects them, they learn that they will have a new step-brother and step-sister–whom they will never be allowed to meet. Of course this makes them very curious, and when their mother refuses to tell them more, they decide they have to investigate on their own. What they discover about their new step-siblings–and themselves–has repercussions far beyond their own family.
5. What made you want to write about the family dynamic in that book?
6. You have another book coming out in September. Can you talk a little bit about it?
Yes. CHILDREN OF EXILE is about another strange situation. A entire town full of kids are being raised far away from their parents, by other, very caring adults. Then suddenly when the two oldest kids in town are twelve, all of the kids are suddenly told that they’re being sent home, back to their original parents. But they’re still not told why they were taken away in the first place, or why they’re being sent back. Rosi and Edwy, the two main characters, realize they really have to figure out what is going on, and how they can deal with the frightening revelations they discover.
7. What’s the process of writing a new book like for you?
8. Do you have any writing rituals? (Special writing space, snacks, music, etc)
I have an office in my home where I do most of my writing. I like using a huge monitor where I can see a whole page all at once. I don’t usually snack while I write because I wouldn’t notice what I was eating, anyway, once I’m engrossed in the story. I don’t listen to music, either. I tend to tune out everything about the environment I’m really in when I get totally focused on writing, so I try to keep the distractions around me to a minimum. The one exception to that rule is that often my cat comes and sits on my lap while I’m writing, and that helps a lot when I’m not feeling so focused. I figure he’s comfortable (and often even sound asleep) so I can’t get up, and I might as well settle down and write, even when I’m not feeling entirely motivated. So my cat is a really effective writer’s assistant!
9. What’s on your plate for the next year?
I need to do final revision and/or editing on the second books in each of my new series, and then I’m also writing my first stand-alone YA in a while. It’s tentatively titled THE SUMMER OF BROKEN THINGS, and it’s about two American girls spending the summer in Spain.
10. Anything else you want to tell us about?
Only this: Thank you for chatting with me!
Margaret is giving away something in our massive giveaway as well so go enter now!
From our shelves to yours!
Erin & Margaret