It's almost time for the agent round of PitchWars and excitement is growing! This week I thought I'd take advantage of the ramping up to introduce everyone to my fabulous mentees (does anyone else think this is just way to much like manatee?) Well unlike lazy, drifting manatees, my crew is a bunch of hard-working, enthusiastic, and generally awesome ladies. See for yourself:
Today, it's Heidi Boyd's turn. If you've ever wondered what middle school was like for Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, boy will you love Heidi's main character!
Can never go wrong with happy dancing! So, start off by telling us what your book's about…
Quincy Strange and The Ten is about a quirky eighth-grade genius, who taps his shirt’s top button when he gets nervous, and sees the world through the black and white filter of science. He notices and remembers the small details others miss, which leads him to discover an illegal experiment going on in the basement of the school. It involves a mystery in finding out who’s behind the secret project, danger when students are forced into the study, a puppy love interest with Sara, and the question of whether or not Quincy will save the lives of the ten test subjects. But really the best part for me is seeing life through Quincy’s eyes. Who says a science geek can’t be funny?
Tell us how did you come up with the title.
I knew I wanted Quincy to be different, so I thought to myself, “Self, how fun would it be if this defining character trait was reflected in his name?” And that’s how Quincy Strange was born. Then in chapter one, Quincy notices an unusual gathering of ten students, which he nicknames The Ten, and that starts the adventure of the unauthorized genetic experiment. So my title became: Quincy Strange and The Ten
I have a million favorite things about Quincy. But tell us what you love about him.
My absolute favorite thing about Quincy is the way he sees the world! He describes everything with a scientific viewpoint in mind. Such as: I was as lost as Pluto’s planet status... as out of place as a nitrogen atom in a water compound... as common as a covalent bond in a carbon compound, and (Love this one!) I pushed my lab-sculpted body way beyond its limits. He’s actually very funny and he doesn’t even try. He has some laugh-out-loud lines, and they were so fun to write!
I spit out my coffee at one point reading this! Funny is an understatement and Quincy is such a sweet kid. Was he inspired by anyone?
My son has Asperger’s Syndrome and an eidetic, or perfect-recall, memory. He has such a different way of looking at the world, it just fascinates me sometimes. So I wanted to create a character that shares some of the oddities that are so endearing to me, in fact several of Quincy’s lines and quirks come directly from my son. (I love to watch my son eat Doritos, he separates out all the perfect triangles first! So hilarious!) Also my dad is a science teacher, and teaches a class on genetics, so that’s where all the science geekiness comes from. (And yes, I got A’s in his Chemistry and Advanced Biology classes!) I’m a chip off the old scientific block, I guess!
What I wouldn't give for an eidetic memory (and some Doritos, now that you mention them…). Switching gears a bit, tell me what your writing space looks like.
I have a writing desk that sits in front of a window overlooking the cottonwood trees in my backyard with the Montana mountains in the distance. The view is very inspiring! The desk; however, not as much. I’m afraid I love sticky notes, and legal pads, and mini-notebooks...pretty much anything I can write ideas on. So, although I love all the digital gadgets technology offers today, there’s just something about jotting notes down with a good old-fashioned mechanical pencil! J Also my work space is never complete without a can of Diet Dr Pepper and a bag of Twizzlers Nibs nearby. Best writer fuel ever! I swear if you mix them together, a chemical reaction takes place, and the new substance generated strongly resembles creativity!
Diet Dr Pepper is my fav! Did you know there is no period at the end of Dr in Dr Pepper. I got my copy edits back on AT YOUR SERVICE (yes, Dr Pepper makes it into most of my stories) and I had to hunt down a can to see for myself (note: never doubt a copyeditor). Now it's my mission to spread the word! Speaking of words, what’s your favorite quote?
My favorite quote comes from Thomas Edison. "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." I have it on a sticky note (of course!) posted to my standing desk file (that holds all my loose notebook pages). I read it every day to remind myself that on my road to publication, success might be just around the corner, and failure only comes if I give up!
I love that quote and completely agree! Last serious question: why do you write for kids?
I write for kids because there’s something magical about all the “firsts” they get to experience on a daily basis. First time holding hands, first new school, first best friend, first big win, first time setting fire to a science classroom, first illegal gene-therapy experiment! New and amazing experiences await kids every day and they’re so open to each new adventure. I love capturing all the emotions and explorations of those discovery years on the pages of a book.
Now for a purely fun one you everyone has to answer: what current reality show could you be cast on?
I would totally be on American Idol. One: so I could meet Harry Connick Jr. (My heart beats faster just saying his name!) And two: because I absolutely LOVE to sing. If you’re ever visiting Bozeman, Montana, and you see a stranger singing in the middle of a department store, no need to call the men with the oversized butterfly nets, it’s probably just me singing out loud to the crowd in my mind!
Wow. We should gather you and your co-alternate Chris (who answered The Voice) together and take this show on the road!! Thanks for being here Heidi and best of luck in PitchWars!