I’m thrilled to welcome, Peggy Eddleman, author of Sky Jumpers, the first book in a new series by the same name! Check out the interview to learn more about Peggy, including the writer that’s influenced her most (he doesn’t write novels!), why she feels bad for her favorite word, and the long journey to deciding on Sky Jumpers as the title of this first book!
Did you have trouble writing any of your characters or specific scenes within the novel? Or, were any characters or scenes particularly easy to write?
Action scenes are, by far, the easiest for me to write. They come out so naturally and are so much fun, and it’s so easy to make it chock full of emotion and great pacing. If it wouldn’t make for an awful story, I’d write a book with nothing but action scenes.
Has the title changed or stayed relatively the same as your novel journeyed towards publication?
The title did change. It was actually a very long and involved process. It began as THROUGH THE BOMB’S BREATH. We had considered changing it several times, but nothing had sounded right. Then, as the cover got closer and closer to being final, we decided that it needed to be different. My editor and I brainstormed more than a hundred titles and narrowed it down to a dozen. Then we polled nearly 500 middle grade-aged kids on what their favorites were. When we took that information to Sales & Marketing, they fell in love with the name SKY JUMPERS. We decided, though, that SKY JUMPERS made a fabulous series name, and that we would keep the book name THROUGH THE BOMB’S BREATH. Ultimately, though, having a strong series name actually split the focus. When people asked the name of the book, it was hard to know whether to say SKY JUMPERS (because it was larger on the cover) or THROUGH THE BOMB’S BREATH (because that’s the book name). So we decided to drop the book name, and have SKY JUMPERS be the name for both the series and for book one.
What book or author has most influenced you as a writer or in general?
My most influential author doesn’t actually write books— he writes movies and tv shows. Joss Whedon. It’s hard not to pick him because I learned so much about writing while watching his commentaries on the episodes he wrote, when I was just barely on the cusp of deciding to be a writer. Hearing the reasons why he made the decisions he made on each plot turn gave me the tools I needed to become a writer and plow ahead, hungry to learn more.
What jobs did you have on your way to becoming a writer/published author? Is there a certain work experience that has shaped your writing?
My first job, at age fourteen, was as a newspaper delivery girl. Then I moved on to laundromat cleaner, fast food worker, bank teller, technical support for computer software, technical writer, and most recently, I worked with fourth graders struggling with math and literacy. But the one that most shaped me as a writer is that of being a Mom. Not only does it mean I get to hang out with middle grade -aged kids all the time, but it means I get to read them lots and lots of middle grade books.
If you had to pick a favorite word, what would it be and why?
As a kid, it was antidisestablishmentarianism (28 letters long), because my dad told me that it used to be the longest word in the dictionary until supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (34 letters) kicked it out. It didn’t seem fair that a fake word could strip it of it’s title AND get a song made up about it! I kind of felt for the word, you know?
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?
Movies! But only in the theater. (If they leave the theater before I watch them, there’s a .001% chance I’ll ever see it. It’s all about getting distance from my to-do list, and not being able to do anything else while I’m there.) For some odd reason, I crave movies ferociously whenever I’m in edits. There’s an amazing theater a mile from my home that has tickets for $3.50 and popcorn for a buck. No joke. I’m pretty sure they can guess exactly when I get each edit letter.
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