Friday, April 2, 2010

Meet Jacqueline Houtman and Eddy

Today Jacqueline Houtman has graciously offered to chat with me about EDDY, writing, and science! Check it out:

Eddy knows a lot of random facts. Are these things you already knew? Or did you research each fact specifically to make it fit the scene?
Some of them I knew already and if they fit the scene I would use them. Otherwise I just cruised the Internet for each fact, trying subjects that would fit until I found something fun. The Internet is a wonderful thing.

Similarly, EDDY is centered around science and inventions. What was your research process like for all of this? Did you write the book based on what you learned as a scientist? Or did you have to do a lot of research?
My training was in the biomedical sciences. Most of the biology came from things I knew already, although sometimes I had to dig a little to come up with exactly what I needed. Eddy knows a lot more than I do about electronics, computers, chemistry, and physics. Luckily, my husband is an expert, so I often went to him for ideas. He also read over the manuscript to make sure I got it right.

Why did you decided to write for Middle Graders rather than another age group?

Middle school is where you figure out who you are and where you fit in the world. I’m still trying to figure that out for myself, so MG is a natural for me. I also think that a kid on the spectrum would have a lot of challenges in middle school, which, let’s face it, was awful for everyone. Even kids who understand the unwritten social rules. Even the popular kids, although I wouldn’t know for sure, because I wasn’t one of them.

Have you ever tried to invent something? How did it turn out?
Most of my inventing is in the kitchen. I love coming up with new combinations of flavors. I make a mean vegetarian lasagna, just like Eddy’s dad.

Why did you want to write about a character similar to Thomas Edison?
I didn’t start out wanting Eddy to be like Edison. I just thought it was a cool name. I liked the idea of reversing first and last names. Then I thought about it some more. Eddy really hates his name at first, but when he starts learning about Thomas Edison, he realizes they have a lot in common and finally accepts the name. In a way he’s accepting himself.

Thanks for stopping by Jacqueline!


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