December 11, 2012 - The Next Big Thing Blog Tour

Filed under Book News Interviews

My friend Robin Stevenson, author of some of the best YA books I’ve read, has tagged me in The Next Big Thing Blog Tour.  You can check out her blog post and find out what she’s working on, and if you want to know about my work-in-progress, here goes …


What is your working title of your book?

Not a Chance. It’ll be out this Spring 2013.


What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Thirteen-year-old Dian struggles against her parents’ rigid beliefs while discovering that her own beliefs are even more dangerously rigid.


What genre does your book fall under?

It’s written for kids of about ages 10 to 13, but I’m hoping it’ll appeal to a variety of ages, particularly to anyone who has experience working overseas.


Where did the idea come from for the book?

In 1996, when I was nineteen, I volunteered in the Dominican Republic for a summer with a Canadian NGO called HOPE International. I was part of a team of about ten Canadian young people, and we spent two months living in a school in a remote, rural village, digging ditches for a water pipeline. The experience completely turned my life on its head. Of course, I had read about places where people didn’t have access to electricity, clean water, education, adequate food, clothing, etc., but it’s one thing to hear about it, and quite another to be surrounded by it for a few months. The experience led to huge reverse culture shock when I returned home and some serious rethinking of how I wanted my life to look. More than fifteen years later, the experiences of that summer are still vivid for me. I did know a girl who was fourteen and engaged to be married. And every young woman my age that I met there had two or three children in tow.

Now, years later, I have a child of my own. I often think about my own strong views on social justice. What will my daughter make of them? Will I come on so strong that I’ll send her running in the opposite direction? These are the questions that sparked the creation of Dian and her parents in Not a Chance.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About two months – or six, if you count the four months it took me to work up the courage to start, once I had the idea. Even so, that first draft bears virtually no relation to the present manuscript! I think the only similar aspects are the location and the two main characters, and even the names of those elements have changed.


Thanks for reading!

And now I’m tagging my writing friend Kari Jones, so please head on over to her blog and see what she’s up to now.