First, for those who want to know, but are afraid to ask (and please, feel free to ask), I talk briefly about my own mental health issues in the following guest blog posts:
Below are actual questions I’ve been frequently asked, not just things I think people might like to know. This of course means I’m not really responsible for what this FAQ includes or omits. 🙂
Where were you born? Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?
I’m answering these together since they’re all tangled up. I was born in Southern California, and soon after that I moved around a few times, but always within California. I went to four different school districts in Southern and Northern California, until I graduated high school north of San Francisco and then went to the University of California at Berkeley. I’ve moved a number of times since then, but always within the San Francisco Bay Area.
What are your influences?
Sometimes when people talk about influences, they mean writers who inspired them to become writers. It’s hard for me to say who that was because I’ve always wanted to write books and don’t remember deciding to. My earliest memories are of reading and enjoying a lot of Dr. Seuss, so he might have been part of that. I think the first time it occurred to me to write for a young audience was when I read Barbara Park’s Junie B. Jones books to my kids. Those are still among my favorite books for any age. Later, reading Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine — I loved how smart that book was — prompted me to actively work on writing YA.
What made you decide to write a novel?
I can’t remember. I’ve loved writing stories since kindergarten–I was a precocious reader and writer. I was twelve when I first sat down to attempt to write a full novel. Didn’t get far with that one. The first time I ever finished a complete draft of a novel and typed THE END, I was maybe twenty-three. No one will ever see that one. So Not If I See You First isn’t the result of deciding one day to write a novel, it’s just the first time I got it right.
What does the braille say in the Acknowledgments of Not If I See You First?
That would be telling! It’s signed by Parker, so that’s one clue. I also say in the Acknowledgments themselves that it’s grade 2 Unified English Braille (UEB), which means you can’t just look up each pattern on Wikipedia and write down the letters to transcribe the text that way — you’ll get some gibberish mixed in if you try that. There are shortcuts, where single forms stand for common combinations of letters as well as for formatting like capitalization, etc.
The Rules of UEB can be found here: UEB-Rules.
A less intimidating and very useful cheat sheet of symbols and contractions, though, and your best bet for transcribing Parker’s braille, can be found here: UEB-Symbols.
Using that last document should make transcribing the braille doable, and I’m perfectly happy for people who do the work to post their transcriptions anywhere they like, and I’ll even verify when it’s correct, but it’ll have to come from someone other than me. 🙂
In Not If I See You First, what is the setting, theme, tone, and what are some examples of symbolism, personification, metaphor, onomatopoeia, etc.
I’m happy to explain my writing process, but interpreting the writing (and doing your homework) is up to you. 😀
My ideas wouldn’t necessarily be better than yours anyway. Authors can tell you what they intended you to see, but only you can judge what you actually see. I could describe a theme that you don’t see in the story, but maybe I just failed to deliver on my intention. Or you might find a symbol I didn’t intend, but that doesn’t make it wrong. I might have done it subconsciously, or accidentally, or not at all. It doesn’t matter so much what I intended, though, because if you find that something in the story has symbolic meaning to you, then it does! Interpretation is as much about you as it is about what’s on the page. It’s a relationship between you and a story, and the author doesn’t get a vote.
That said, I’d be happy to talk about literary devices in my novels as a teacher might. Meaning, I won’t give you my answers, but we can discuss your ideas. Post them in the Comments section for the book you want to talk about, like here: ericlindstrombooks.com/not-if-i-see-you-first.
What are your personal interests?
Well, that’s a personal question. 😉 But I enjoy reading (mostly YA), watching movies and TV (all genres), folding origami, solving puzzles, playing video games, and I’m still looking for a Snorlax in Pokémon Go…
That’s all for now.
If you want to know something that isn’t covered above, feel free to ask in the comments below.