1. How did you come to Summer’s story in The Thing About Luck? In the very first draft, it was Thunder’s story! He’s the Doberman that Summer owns in the book. Then when my editor read the draft, she was like, “Uh, this book is about a dog who goes on harvest…” So I changed it more to Summer’s story, even though I have a real-life Doberman named Thunder who I wanted to write about.
2. You have written two “strong girls” in both Summer and Obaachan, and often they are in a battle of wills. What were the challenges of writing about this relationship? Were there some unexpected surprises for you as the characters unfolded? Their relationship actually was a lot of fun for me. I felt that I was totally in the writing zone when I wrote about them, so it wasn’t challenging in the sense of “hard.” I just had to concentrate on going into the writing zone, and then the words flowed out – as far as their relationship, not with the book in general. The surprises were mostly that as the book progressed, I discovered that despite their being at loggerheads so often, they were also very, very close.
3. Finish this sentence, strong girls… laugh and cry; are filled with sensitivity; change the world; can also be soft when the time is right; and don’t give up.
4. What are you working on next? I have a book coming out in September 2014 about a troubled boy adopted from Romania at age 8. When he’s 12, his parents decide to adopt a baby from Kazakhstan, and the boy has to rethink his entire existence because of things that happen on the trip to Kazakhstan. We’re just putting the finishing touches on this book. It’s called Half a World Away. My next novel will be about the same family when they get home to the United States. I’m not finished with the first draft yet. After that I have a couple of ideas floating around in my head for the next two books, but nothing firmed up.