Where did the idea of Across the Universe come from? How did you pick the title?
I came up with the idea of the twist first—the conclusion to the mystery. I built the entire novel—the characters, the plot, the setting—to make that twist happen in the story.
“Across the Universe” has always been my favorite Beatles song, and was my original title for the novel. I changed it before submitting it to my agent and publisher, and, ironically, they wanted to change it back to Across the Universe!
How has life changed for you since the publication of your novel?
It’s honestly a lot happier. There’s a sense of fulfillment that you get when reaching a dream, and that is a feeling that I think will never fade.
Other than that, I also get to sleep more! There wasn’t much sleep involved when I was both teaching, being a housewife, and writing a novel! Now I get to focus on the novel, which just adds to the happy in my life.
If your book were made into a movie, who would you want to play Amy, Elder, Eldest, Orion, Doc, and Harley?
For Amy: Molly Quinn, hands down. She’s the daughter in the ABC show CASTLE, and I adore her.
For Elder: I’ve no idea. Many fans say Taylor Lautner. I think Carlos Garcia (From BIG TIME RUSH) or Avon Jorgia (from VICTORIOUS) might be good fits. There’s sadly a lack of actors of color, and I would need a multiethnic actor for the role—for every role of every character born on the ship.
For Eldest: If you’ve ever seen the movie SERENITY, the Operative was the man I had in mind while writing this character.
For Doc: Oh…I don’t know. Many people hate Eldest, but Doc’s the creepiest guy for me (after Luthe). Someone very twitchy and neat and OCD…
For Harley: I had David Tennant in mind while writing this character. His spastic portrayal of Doctor Who seemed to fit the character perfectly. He’s too old and too white for the role, but someone with that sort of crazy energy.
Which character do you most relate to?
Both Amy and Elder—Amy in her desire to be with her parents is similar to my desire to have parents to protect me when I first moved away from home. And Elder’s desire to be good enough echoes my desire to be published.
How did the design of the ship come about?
I came up with the ship as I wrote, and, about halfway through, took a sheet of notebook paper and sketched the ship out. It’s roughly egg-shaped, a sort of symbolic nod to the idea that people are born on the ship.
If you were on the ship, where would you like to be? The hospital? Recorder Hall? Research lab?
I would like to be in a room that isn’t revealed until the second book. It’s behind one of those rare locked doors, and it’s pretty much the only room I would want to be in…
If you could come up with a playlist for Across the Universe what music would you use?
Definitely “Across the Universe” by the Beatles! I tend to listen to one song over and over as I write, and that was one. Also “Fact/Fiction” by Mad Langer
What other projects do you plan to work on? What can you tell us about them?
Well, I’ve got to finish out the trilogy, and am working on Book 3 right now. After that, I do have an idea for something that would come next, but I’m too superstitious to talk about it now!