Please welcome Jenny Moss, author of Taking Off. Thank you Jenny for doing this guest post! It truly sounds like a great read, which is available now in stores!
Make sure you leave some comments, I'm sure Jenny will love to hear from her present and future readers. :)
Jenny Moss is a former NASA engineer who worked for NASA during the Challenger disaster, helping to train Judy Resnick and other crew members for that ill-fated mission. She is the author of Winnie's War and Shadow, and lives in Texas.
For more info on Jenny, visit her sites:
Taking Off by Jenny Moss
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: Available Now
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers
Summary: Reimagining the days surrounding this unforgettable event in history, readers are brought back to 1986 as the astronauts prepare for the Challenger mission, and Christa McAullife trains to be the first teacher in space. When a teen named Annie meets Christa, she is fascinated by Christa's courage. Truly inspired, Annie is determined to make it to Florida to see the Challenger launch, a trip that will forever change how she thinks about herself and her secret desire for her own future. Although she is devastated when tragedy strikes, Annie honors Christa by following her own dream, despite the obstacles. Bringing in her experience as a NASA engineer, Jenny Moss weaves a moving story that recaptures the inspiration teens must have felt years ago as they watched Christa McAuliffe reach for the sky.
1) Thank you Jenny for giving me the opportunity to feature you. Taking Off sounds like a great addition to the YA book world. I am eager to know, what inspired you to write it?
JM: My Winnie's War editor Emily Easton thought it would be interesting to tell the story of a student of NASA's Teacher-in-Space Christa McAuliffe. Because I had worked as a NASA engineer, Emily asked if I would like to write the story. I was thrilled to do it! I ended up tweaking the premise - I wanted to set the novel in Clear Lake, Texas, which is the location of the Johnson Space Center, where I was working during the Challenger accident - so the protagonist Annie is not a student of Christa's, but meets her during her training at the space center. I used some of my own memories of the time to create Annie's experience.
2) Throughout Taking Off, who remained your favorite character creation? If you had to pick an actor or actress to play their role, who would it be?
JM: The protagonist Annie because she has a poet's soul and is very sweet and confused. Do you know the actress Mia Wasikowska? She played Alice in Alice in Wonderland and Joni in The Kids Are All Right. She'd be my pick - very talented!
3) I see in your bio that you used to be a NASA engineer. Sounds like an amazing job, could you describe what the experience was like?
JM: I spent many years at NASA designing space shuttle approaches and separations to/from other vehicles. Most of the time I was so involved in getting the work finished, I'd lose sight of the awesomeness of what we were doing. Occasionally I'd stop & remind myself, "The astronauts will be using this technique to fly the shuttle in space," and then I'd go back to the details of the job.
4) If you had to write Taking Off all over again, would you change anything?
JM: I don't think I'm ever completely finished with a book. I even think of revising my books that are already on the shelves at stores, wondering if I would do anything differently. I love the characters and the story in Taking Off. Right now, I can't think of any changes I'd make. Give me a year, and ask me again. :)
5) As an accomplished author, do you have any advice or pointers for individuals interested in writing a book?
JM: My particular problem as a potential author was abandoning a project after writing only a few chapters. I would get obsessed with a new idea - and then drop the current book to write the new one. I finally did finish a novel, and it wasn't published, but I learned a lot in the process of writing it and took that knowledge forward with me. So that would be my advice: Press ahead and finish a book, which includes completing many revisions of it, drastically changing it if necessary. It's very educational.
6) Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
JM: I love to travel, anything from impulsively hopping in the car and visiting small Texas towns to flying to Europe and backpacking and hosteling there. I also love walking, reading, going to the movies, listening to music, and hanging out with family and friends. Simple things.
7) Do you have any other projects you are currently working on?
JM: Yes! I have a few rough drafts of different projects, but my main focus is a YA novel about two teens - Callie and Dale - who skip high school in 1976 to see a Bob Dylan concert in Austin, Texas. I am loving every minute of writing this book!
8) Lastly, do you have anything you want to say to your current and future readers?
JM: I so appreciate my readers, especially since I write in different genres and may not be the easiest author to follow book to book. I have updated my information on my website, so please write or e-mail!