Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Interrogation Room #21: F.T. Bradley, author of DOUBLE VISION

DOUBLE VISION from fellow sleuth F.T. Bradley is out in stores today! Internal Affairs has hauled her in for a few questions, but we're finding it hard to pin her down. We do know that DOUBLE VISION is getting rave reviews. Jack D. Ferraiolo, Edgar Award nominated author of THE BIG SPLASH, says, “Lincoln Baker is an awesome main character: savvy, funny, and like a young James Bond, he can’t resist the chance to start some trouble. Give him a mystery to solve, stick him in Paris, arm him with gadgets, and watch stuff go boom.” And Horn Book Magazine calls it, “A great voice, with a good heart, some self-awareness, and a funny style.” We double agree.

Enter to WIN A SIGNED COPY OF Double Vision below this Interrogation Room session!

A bit about F.T. Bradley:

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. This is the first book in her new series about Lincoln Baker and Ben Green. 

A bit about DOUBLE VISION:

One's a Secret Agent, One's Not.

Twelve-year-old Linc is a trouble-maker with a dilemma. His antics on a recent school field trip went way overboard, landing his already poor family with a serious lawsuit. So when two secret agents show up at his house, Linc is eager to take them up on their offer to make the lawsuit disappear. They just need one tiny favor.

Turns out Linc looks exactly like one of their top kid agents—an agent who's vanished during a vitally important mission. But no debriefing can prepare Linc for how dangerous the mission really is. It's too bad he isn't a black belt, a math genius, or a distance runner like his agent double. He'll need all those skills and more if he hopes to make it out of this mission alive. . . .

Confess please. You sold this book before it was fully written, didn’t you? How did this story idea come about and what was your path to publication?

I had written several YA novels that everyone seemed to like, but no one wanted to publish… After I sent my now-agent a query, he suggested I write middle-grade. So we sort of came up with it all together. Long story short, we worked on the proposal for what is now the Double Vision series, and my nice editor at Harper Children’s liked it enough to buy it.

Then we still revised a lot of the concept and the pages, and I wrote the rest. Throughout the process, Linc (my main character) stayed the same, though. It’s a strange path to publication for a fiction writer, but there you have it.

Congratulations! So, most of DOUBLE VISION is set in Paris. Our sources have told us you have moved a lot. Have you ever lived in Paris? Or did you send spies to do your research? …or perhaps you gleaned information through OTHER means? 

I wish I’d lived in Paris, that would’ve been sweet… And no spies, alas, unless you count Google. I had to do a lot of research on the city, and all the places Linc visits. Don’t tell anyone, but I used the library a lot…

Montmartre, Paris, France

Speaking of Paris, I loved learning that Leonardo Da Vinci would go to Montmartre to buy birds to set them free. What is your favorite Leonardo Da Vinci tidbit of information? 

That was one bit of info I loved too. Apparently Leonardo da Vinci was a vegetarian. And he painted two versions of the Virgin on the Rocks painting—one hangs at the Louvre in Paris, and one is in London.

For my kid readers, I thought it was important that da Vinci wasn’t always seen as the genius we view him as today. The man didn’t finish a lot of projects he started. I think we can all relate to that a little bit…

Gadgets ready for BarcelonaI love that--makes me feel a little better about some of my works-in-progress! One character that doesn't seem to leave things unfinished is Linc’s friend Henry. Henry is Linc’s “gadget guy,” an inventor of sorts who designs tools and technology to help Linc out. How did you come up with all the ideas for the gadgets? What’s one gadget you wish Henry could invent for you? 

I tried to think of something that would be helpful to get you out of a jam, and then I’d have Henry work his magic to create a gadget to suit the scenario. Henry is one of my favorite characters, so that part of the story practically writes itself.

I wish I could have a device that stops time—it seems I never have enough of it…

So...our investigations have turned up that you are a self-proclaimed reluctant reader and that you wrote DOUBLE VISION with reluctant readers particularly in mind. How are reluctant readers different than regular readers? And, as a writer, what did you pay attention to in order to address this?

I think we’re all a little bit reluctant in our reading: we skip lengthy narrative passages, and avoid books that don’t strike our fancy… I’m very guilty of this. As a writer, I use a lot of dialogue and action. It’s what I would like to read—and you can still have meaningful moments and depth.

To get on my soapbox for a second… There are kids that wouldn’t pick up a book at all unless you made them—part of the problem is that assigned reading is just not their speed. We need more fast-paced mysteries and thrillers, adventure stories that keep you turning the pages. I worry that the middle-grade department doesn’t reflect what we like to read when we grow up (like mysteries/thrillers), and I hope that Double Vision is a book that connects with kid readers.

If we lose readers, it’s at the middle-grade level.

Ouch! Someone just kicked me off my soapbox…

DOUBLE VISION is the first book in a series. How much did you have to plan out what happens in subsequent books as you wrote the first book?

Because of the way the book sold (as a partial), we made most of it up as we went. I think the double artifact element was established early on, and the characters were already in place—that’s the hard part. The series now can go anywhere I want to drop Linc… It’s fun.

More importantly, I have young readers in my house who need to know: when is the next book is coming out—and will it involve more farmyard mishaps?

No farmyard mishaps—I think Linc is happy to leave the chickens behind this time around.

For book two, I’ll reveal that we go deep into the spy world of Washington D.C. Oh, and Linc is still getting himself into plenty of trouble. It’s out sometime in 2013…

Code / Cipher And finally, DOUBLE VISION is packed full of codes and ciphers. First, this investigator has been dying to know: what IS the difference, exactly, between a code and a cipher? And, second, do you have any parting code/cipher messages for your readers?

I had to look that one up, I’ll admit, but I think a cipher is a coded message, where a code can just be numbers and letters. If that makes sense *scratches head*.

On a related note: I have a bunch of links on the Double Vision books website (www.doublevisionbooks.com) to the NSA, CIA and International Spy Museum with code-breaking games, and lots of kid-friendly secret agent fun. You know, for the kids (or adults, if you’re like me).

A parting code… Here’s a book code I came up with. You’ll have to use Double Vision to decode it:







Uh-oh. Readers, we need your help. Please check out the links below for more on F.T. Bradley and to find out where you can get a copy of  DOUBLE VISION to help us crack this code!

Website: www.doublevisionbooks.com
Twitter: @FTBradleyAuthor

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  1. Great interview! I loved hearing about how the series came to be. Really appreciated F.T.'s comment that to some extent we're all reluctant readers, and the idea that action need not detract from meaningful moments and depth. Can't wait to read Double Vision! Good luck with your launch!

  2. What an interesting path to publication! It's encouraging that it can happen in so many ways. Best of luck to you!


  3. Awesome interview and the book sounds so fun. Can't wait to read it.


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