“What’s New” Interview

This is a GoodReads interview I was asked to do on a blog tour.

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?


Where did the idea come from for the book?

Deep in my memories is a shotgun blast that ripped through a quiet Missouri morning when I was about 14 years old. For no reason I can put my finger on, the events of that day came rushing back at me—the way the shot silenced the birds, my dad racing out of our house in his slippers and robe, the belt untied; and the taste of fear. Even though I had 2 other books I “should” have been working on, I knew I had to write this one.

What genre does your book fall under?
oung adult/middle grade mainstream “historical” fiction—set in 1963, the year America grew up.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’d try to steal the entire cast of To Kill a Mockingbird.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In the summer of 1963, fourteen-year-old Tree Taylor is forced to discover the secret nature of truth, when she secretly witnesses her dad, Doc Taylor, take the shotgun out of the hands of a woman who has just shot her husband…and then declare the shooting an accident.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Knopf/Random House is publishing the novel, and I’m represented by Curtis Brown, Ltd.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
About 6 months

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I’d be ecstatic if anyone saw a spark of resemblance to To Kill a Mockingbird.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My dad was an amazing character—small town doctor, who accepted canned peaches and strawberry preserves as payment from patients, who delivered the vet’s babies in trade for the vet caring for our horses and dogs, who was constantly learning new languages, new memory tricks and mathematic techniques. How could I not write about him in some way? 

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

First sentence: “The morning the gun went off, I was thinking about Tolstoy and the Beatles, and maybe, if I’m being honest here, a little about Ray Miller and how his eyes were perfect little pieces of sky.”
In 1963, no one locked the door; people left the keys in the car (so we’d know where they were); every grown up parented every child in the town; President Kennedy hadn’t yet been assassinated; and few knew that Vietnam would soon take over all conversations. Kids hung out at the pool and danced rock ‘n’ roll until the world disappeared.

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6 Responses to ““What’s New” Interview”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    Sounds interesting! Are any horses gonna be in it? Are you gonna write any more books with Winnie characters in it? I LOVE those books! (especially the end of the 2nd chapter to the last chapter of Starlight animal rescue. I still remember almost exact words to it, and I haven’t read that book in like, 3-4 years!) I love your books, especially the horse ones!! I LOVE horses!! (I have read almost every horse book in the whole library!)

    • dandimackall Says:

      Hi, Jennifer! Wow–thanks for being such a great reader! I do love horses, too. I even love the shaggy hair they get in the winter. I’m sure I’ll always be writing about horses…

  2. L.W. Olson Says:

    This novel sounds really cool.

  3. Patricia Pilon Says:

    I really really loved this book. I’m a teen librarian and I think this is one of the best teen novels I have ever read and I read alot of books written for teens. I was heartbroken about what happened to Jack and I had been hoping before I got to the conclusion of the novel that you would write a sequel to this book set 5 or 6 years into the future. Who was Jack House? And yes right off the bat I felt that you had captured the atmosphere of To Kill A mockingbird. Bravo!

    • dandimackall Says:

      What a lovely review, Patricia. Thanks so much. Jack House was my older cousin and best friend (no romance–that part of the book is fiction). But he did die in Vietnam, and I still miss him. Thank you for your compassion and understanding.

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