Mymcbooks Interview F.T. Bradley, Author of Double Vision.
Author bio: F. T. Bradley is originally from the Netherlands and still likes to travel, like Linc, whenever she gets a chance. Her husband’s Air Force career has F. T. and their two daughters moving all around the world, but for the moment the family lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Double Vision is the first book in her new series about Linc Baker and Ben Green. Find out more at www.doublevisionbooks.com, and follow F.T. on Twitter @FTBradleyAuthor
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog.
What is the last book you read?
I just finished Michael Connelly’s The Black Box, and Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew: Small Vocanoes, a graphic novel. I usually read a novel written for adults, then a children’s book, to keep things interesting.
What was your favorite teen book?
Growing up, Agatha Christie was my favorite author as a teenager. Now, I don’t have a favorite as such–I just love YA and middle-grade mysteries. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, and Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn are recent favorites in YA. In middle-grade, Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn tops my list.
What were your earliest memories of writing?
I remember writing a lot in third/fourth grade, but it tapered off when I got older. I didn’t really catch the writing bug until I was in my twenties, believe it or not.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural?
Honestly, writing didn’t come to me until a later age, and it came from me, really. I had two small children, and wanted to do something just for me. I’d always wanted to write a book, so I said to myself: “what are you waiting for?” My first attempts at writing were really terrible, but I slowly got better…
Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first?
I usually start with character, and Double Vision was definitely all driven by main character Linc. If you have a strong character, the story follows in a snap.
What inspired you to write Double Vision?
I actually developed the concept for the series together with my agent (Stephen Barbara), and later with my editors Barbara Lalicki and Andrew Harwell at Harper Children’s–that was so much fun. But Linc’s character came first, and the other lead characters, Ben and Henry for instance, quickly followed. Although the Double Vision series is fast-paced and has lots of plot twists, the characters really drive the story. They’re what make the writing–and hopefully the reading–lots of fun.
Are you working on a new book?
I just finished the second book in Linc’s adventure, called Double Vision: Code Name 711. I’m now writing the third book, and having a blast.
What is the most difficult part of writing?
That first draft is so exciting, but kind of scary too. I always wonder: what if I can’t do it? My editors have been fantastic about taking that first draft and helping me make it the best book possible.
Do you write full time or do you still have a day job?
I write full-time, but have two school-aged daughters that I home school for the time being. It’s kind of like having a day job…
How do you react to a bad review and have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
Thankfully, I’ve only had a few negative reviews–most feedback on Double Vision is very positive. But it’s still a subjective business; not everyone is going to like the book, and that’s okay. I look for anything in the review that can help me make the next book better, but mostly, I just let it roll off my back.
I don’t really believe in writer’s block as some sort of mystical affliction. If I get stuck, it’s usually because I haven’t thought a plot element through all the way, so then I take a walk, or go do something else. In the few cases where I can’t see a clear solution, I check with my editors at Harper. Somehow, they always give me the perfect fix.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book?
I hope they enjoy the adventure! And I also hope that kids realize that you don’t have to be an academic or athletic superstar to be a hero. Just look at Linc…
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with?
That’s a tough one… To be honest, I would love to dine with some of my fellow debut authors. As I travel I get to meet lots of new authors, and it’s so great to share the journey with someone who’s in the same boat. Not a very glamorous answer, but there you have it.
What author inspires you the most and why?
I recently had a chance to meet Dan Gutman, who writes The Genius Files and many other books. He has such a great connection to kids, and an amazingly positive and down-to-earth attitude that’s so inspiring.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
I’m on a schedule with the Double Vision series, so I have to take writing seriously. I get up early when I write a first draft–about five or so, when it’s nice and quiet in the house. I do editing in long sittings, since it’s the easiest way to grasp the story in its entirety. But I do take breaks–it’s important to give yourself downtime, I think.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read?
Most importantly: let kids choose. Take your child to the bookstore or library, and let them experience the joy of picking out their own book, even if it’s just one (as long as it’s appropriate, obviously). For older kids that have required reading, do the same thing–you can pair a book of choice with one that meets curriculum. It’s up to us to associate reading with fun entertainment.
And don’t forget to read yourself. Kids who see parents read for fun are much more likely to do so themselves, and continue the habit into adulthood.
What advice you would give to new writers?
Stay positive. Don’t give up–rejection is part of the business (like those negative reviews), so learn to take criticism in stride, and move on. Find some fellow writers, so you can share your rejections and successes with people who get it.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
If you read Double Vision, let me know what you think! And for you teachers and parents: I have lots of fun links to kid-friendly spy games, and Common Core teacher guides to use in the classroom on my website www.doublevisionbooks.com.
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