I’m so excited to announce the launch of Time Tracers by Annabeth Bondor-Stone and Conner White. It’s a fun, fast-paced middle-grade adventure with an awesome main character, Taj Carter. We asked Annabeth and Conner about their own writing adventure.
MGM: What was the inspiration Time Tracers?
AB: We started with a question. When time flies, where does it go? Then we thought, maybe time doesn’t just fly away, it actually gets stolen.
CONNOR: But only fun time. Time doesn’t go by very quickly when you’re stuck in traffic or chopping an onion.
AB: Once we figured that out, we thought, what would be the most valuable time that could possibly be stolen? Naturally, summer vacation came to mind.
CONNOR: The most precious chunk of time known to kid-kind.
AB: We wanted to explore the importance of fun. And we wanted to create a main character whose number one priority is not just to have fun, but also to create fun for others.
MGM: What is your writing process? (Do you write every day? A certain number of pages, etc.)
AB: First, we outline the whole book in detail. Then we sit down and write every sentence together.
CONNOR: Well, Annabeth sits down. I frantically pace around the room.
AB: We try to write for at least four hours a day.
CONNOR: But sometimes we run out of coffee so we have to stop early. Other times, we make more coffee, so—
AB: Connor, I think they get it.
CONNOR: We send our first draft to our editor, who always gives us useful and insightful notes. Then we do one to two more drafts. Once it’s finished, we eat sushi.
MGM: What is the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding writing?
AB: A writing teacher I had in college once said in order to keep up your creative output, you have to get creative input–go to a museum, see a play, read a book. That really helps when I feel stuck.
CONNOR: The best piece of advice I ever heard was from Don Draper on Mad Men. Whatever it is you’re writing about, think about it as hard as you can. Then let it go. An idea will come to you when you aren’t trying to force it. Often, when you have shampoo in your hair. (I added that last part myself.)
MGM: How long from when you started writing the Time Tracers until it was published?
AB: We came up with the idea about three years before it was published. It took a year to sell the idea, a year to write it, and a year to do everything that needs to be done before a manuscript becomes a book… copy editing, cover design, marketing, publicity.
CONNOR: All the things we have no idea how to do.
MGM: I see this book a collaborative effort. Any advice about teaming up on a book project?
CONNOR: A lot of people think of writing as a solo activity but it’s a completely different experience working as a team. For instance, if you’re banging your head against the wall, there’s someone around to tell you, “Stop that. You might dent your head.” It’s very handy. Also, it’s great to have a partner when you’re writing comedy. It’s more fun to try to make someone else laugh.
AB: As far as advice goes, pair up with someone who brings a different perspective and voice. Connor and I have very different strengths so we are able to write stories together that we would never be able to write on our own. And choose someone you’re happy to spend a lot of time with.
CONNOR: And then marry them!
AB: That last part is optional.
MGM: Is there a fun picture you would like to share?
CONNOR: We have two. Each featuring our favorite beings on the planet: kids who love reading, and our pug, Agador.
For more fun with Annabeth and Conner, visit http://annabethandconnor.com/