Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Jacqueline Houtman Interview and Giveaway!

I'm so thrilled that Jacqueline Houtman agreed to be my first author interview ever! I've been a fan of Jacqueline's work since The Reinvention of Edison Thomas first came out. She's a talented author with a great love and gift for science, and I think you'll agree that she gives a great interview as well. And since she's as generous with her books as she is with her time, Jacqueline has offered to give away a signed copy of The Reinvention of Edison Thomas! Read to the end for more details...

EV: The Reinvention of Edision Thomas is a great story about a really endearing character. Which did you come up with first: Eddy the character, or his story?

JH: Eddy definitely came first. The book started off as a series of scenes. I put Eddy into situations that would be difficult for him and see what he did. I came up with situations where he would react differently than most people, but in ways that were entirely consistent with the way he saw things. As I wrote more and more scenes, a story began to develop. Some of those scenes ended up in the book. Some were cut from the book, but stayed in my head as part of Eddy’s character.

Is Eddy based on anyone you know? Are any of the other characters based on real people?

Eddy’s not based on any one person, but he has the characteristics of several people I know, including me. He is a fictional character. Jim, the crossing guard, on the other hand is based on a crossing guard named…wait for it…Jim. He’s the only real person in the story.

One of my favorite things about Eddy is that the way his mind works is so unique. How did you come up with all of the Random Access Memory facts that you use throughout the book? Do facts get stuck in your brain too? (They do in mine!)

My brain attracts obscure facts like a magnet. In fact, it’s sort of a joke around my house. Eddy stores facts in his brain and he accesses a fact when something happens in his life that is somehow related to that fact. I inserted the facts at transitional points in the story and each fact has something to do with the preceding scene. Some of the facts came straight from my head. Some I had to research. All of them were verified.

This book was first published in 2010. If we could fast forward two years in Eddy's life, what would he be up to?

I think he’d be comfortable with a small group of friends. He would continue to find strategies to help him get along in the world. My hope is that a science teacher would take an interest in Eddy and help him put his great mind to use on interesting and useful projects.

Can you tell us what you're writing next? Will any of the characters from The Reinvention of Edison Thomas show up in future books?

I’m working on a couple of manuscripts. They both have boy protagonists, and—surprise!—they both have a lot of science in them. As for future Eddy books, I don’t have any plans for that right now, but I’m not ruling it out.

What advice would you give to young writers?

 Read and keep a journal. Read everything, even outside your favorite genre. If you like what you’re reading, figure out why. If you don’t like it, figure out why. Write down your ideas. Play with words. Make a habit of writing.

What advice would you give to young scientists?

Same answer: Read and keep a journal. Read about things that interest you. Read about people who do interesting things. Write down observations. Make connections. Ask questions. Don’t just accept facts that are handed to you. Dig deeper. Find out why.
Thank you, Jacqueline! To enter the giveaway, make sure you're a follower of the blog (click "Join this Site" on the right sidebar) and then leave a comment below. As always, bonus points for Facebook and Twitter links/mentions, and double bonus points if you refer a friend who becomes a follwer! :) The giveaway closes Wednesday, December 5 at midnight MST.


  1. What a great interview! I'll have to check this out (I can see why you were drawn to Eddy, Elaine, he sounds like your Isaac).

    Posting on FB.

  2. Excellent interview. I'm always looking for good books to give my boys and this sounds like something they might like.

  3. I love the interview! Thanks for introducing this book to me, my son is going to love it!

  4. Now I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

  5. have an Issac? are you hiding kids from us?
    I know a couple boys who would really enjoy this book :)

    1. The main character in my book is named Isaac. But sometimes he almost feels like one of my kids! :)

    2. becky and i would LOVE to read your book!

  6. Great interview - will check out the book. Thanks!