Published by Disney-Hyperion
Published on November 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Humorous, Young Adult
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Emma Allen couldn't be more excited to start her sophomore year. Not only is she the assistant stage manager for the drama club's production of Hamlet, but her crush Brandon is directing, and she's rocking a new haircut that's sure to get his attention. But soon after school starts, everything goes haywire. Emma's promoted to stage manager with zero experience, her best friend Lulu stops talking to her, and Josh--the adorable soccer boy who's cast as the lead--turns out to be a disaster. It's up to Emma to fix it all, but she has no clue where to start.
One night after rehearsal, Emma stays behind to think through her life's latest crises and distractedly falls through the stage's trap door . . . landing in the basement of the Globe Theater.
It's London, 1601, and with her awesome new pixie cut, everyone thinks Emma's a boy--even Will Shakespeare himself. With no clue how to get home, Emma gamely plays her role as backstage assistant to the original production of Hamlet, learning a thing or two about the theater, and meeting an incredibly hot actor named Alex who finds Emma as intriguing as she finds him. But once Emma starts traveling back and forth through time, things get really confusing. Which boy is the one for her? In which reality does she belong? Will Lulu ever forgive her? And can she possibly save two disastrous productions of Hamlet before time runs out?
Which do you find the hardest to write, the first or the last line of your novel? Why?
The last line! When I first wrote the end of Saving Hamlet, I wanted the last line to address something big and profound. An early reader called me out on it, and told me it sounded cheesey and grandiose. He was totally right. I realized making the last line about Emma made it more profound, in a lovely, small way. I really like how it ended up.
Which comes first in your writing process, the title, or the content of you story? (Do you always know what your book’s title is going to be?)
Actually, it’s happened both ways for me! For Saving Hamlet, the story came first, and I had no idea what to call it. My professor had to name it for me xD. For my second book, Nothing Happened, the title/concept came to me first, and then the ins and out of the story.
Let’s talk character names. How do you go about selecting names for characters in your book? Do the names you pick have any significance to you, or do you ever feel inspired by a name?
For Saving Hamlet’s main character, Emma’s name came out of nowhere. I’m still not sure why I picked it, but it means “universal,” so that ended up working out well with her story!
For my second book, Nothing Happened, I’m adapting Much Ado About Nothing, so the names of the main characters have to hint at Shakespeare’s original character names. That was really fun to figure out. My favorite is the new version of Beatrice, Bee. <3
How do you plot your books, do you write it down on paper/index cards/etc, or do you write on the fly? Do you ever find that your plot changes as you write, or does it stay pretty close to how you planned it?
I write the first draft on the fly, and then write a long, detailed outline for the second draft. For the third and fourth drafts, I modify the detailed outline and stick to that, adding in scenes as I go along.
For my first two books, the overall plot has stayed the same, but the details often change a lot! Emma and Lulu’s relationship took more center stage as I went along with Saving Hamlet, especially after I started working with my editor at Hyperion, Kieran Viola.
Do you have any authors who inspire you or your writing style? If so, who?
Absolutely!! I am so inspired by Tamora Pierce, Terry Pratchett, Rainbow Rowell, Meg Cabot, Melina Marchetta, Diana Wynne-Jones, Jane Yolen, etc…. and obviously, William Shakespeare ;)
What’s in your “Author Survival Kit”? (Pens, Caffeine, iPods, Prozac?)
Pens & notebooks, eyeglasses, my phone, green tea, headphones & electronic music (Rattat is my writing soundtrack right now!), Shakespeare, and… can I fit my cat and dog in this kit?
I love that Prozac is mentioned here. Taking care of my mental health is a huge part of being a writer for me. So if this is a Mary Poppins bag situation, I’d definitely put my therapist in the kit too.
Do you have a favorite place to write? Tell us about it!
Libraries, coffee shops, or, and buses/trains. I love writing in transit — I used to do my homework on the train and bus, so that environment, strangely, really helps me focus.
If you could use 3 words to describe your books, what would they be?
Shakespeare, friendship, and feelings.
What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?
I don’t have a bucket list, but I think it would have only one item: Shakespeare’s Globe! I’ve already been, but I have to go back. Forever, maybe.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What is something you never leave home without?
My phone! I write down all sorts of ideas in the Notes section, whenever they come to me. Also, benadryl and my epipen. #allergylife
What is your favorite movie?
The Princess Bride
What are the last 3 books you enjoyed reading?
Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig, Princess Diaries: Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. ALSO: I’ve been doing a lot of reading Twelfth Night because I’m directing a student production this year. It is SUCH A GOOD play!
What are 3 words you’d use to describe yourself?
Goofy, caring, driven.
Do you have a favorite hobby/pastime?
Taking care of my pets! I have a dog, Suzie, a cat, Harriet, and two pet rats, Meg and Marigold.
This or That?
Sunrise or Sunset?
Coffee or Tea?
Hot or Cold?
Cold. I’m into sweaters.
PC or Mac?
By Land, or by sea?
For traveling, definitely land. But I do love living near the ocean!
Half-empty or Half-full?
Autumn or Spring?
Autumn. Beautiful leaves/Halloween/my birthday. And now, the anniversary of my first book’s publication day!
Summer or Winter?
Winter. I live in New England, and I love snow. And the holidays!!
E-book or Print Book? (Preferred reading)
Reading for pleasure, I’ll do either! But if I’m studying, I like print.
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10/26: The Young Folks – Review
10/27: No BS Book Reviews – Q&A
10/28: The Book Cellar – Review
11/1: The Plot Bunny – Review
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