Author Chat with Megan E. Freeman (Alone), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Megan E. Freeman author of
Read on for more about Megan and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Megan E. Freeman!
Megan E. Freeman attended an elementary school where poets visited her classroom every week, and she has been a writer ever since. She writes middle grade and young adult fiction. Megan is also a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet. An award-winning teacher with decades of classroom experience, Megan taught multiple subjects across the arts and humanities to students of all ages. She lives near Boulder, Colorado. Visit her online at MeganEFreeman.com.
Perfect for fans of Hatchet and the I Survived series, this harrowing middle grade debut novel-in-verse from a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet tells the story of a young girl who wakes up one day to find herself utterly alone in her small Colorado town.
When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She’s alone—left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned.
With no one to rely on, no power, and no working phone lines or internet access, Maddie slowly learns to survive on her own. Her only companions are a Rottweiler named George and all the books she can read. After a rough start, Maddie learns to trust her own ingenuity and invents clever ways to survive in a place that has been deserted and forgotten.
As months pass, she escapes natural disasters, looters, and wild animals. But Maddie’s most formidable enemy is the crushing loneliness she faces every day. Can Maddie’s stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
ALONE tells the story of a twelve-year-old girl who is left behind and has to survive on her own when her Colorado town is evacuated and abandoned. The idea first came to me in a mother-daughter book club gathering when my daughter and her friends were in fifth grade. We read Island of the Blue Dolphins and the girls were fascinated by how the main character, Karana, could survive alone on an island for eighteen years. I pointed out that the island was her home, and she was already comfortable there. The greater challenge was being all alone for so long. I asked them to imagine what it would be like for them to come home after school to find everyone in the entire town gone. What would they do? How would they survive? What if they couldn't reach anyone for help? What if no one came back? I couldn't get the idea out of my head and it became the seed for the story of ALONE.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel definitely came first. I struggled for a long time with ideas for different titles. When I was researching the historical events that inspired Scott O’Dell to write Island of the Blue Dolphins, I learned that the woman he based his novel on was referred to in the nineteenth century press as “The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island.” So for most of the time I was writing ALONE, I used the working title Lone Girl. It didn’t feel like the right or final title, but it was a decent placeholder. It was ultimately my editor and her team at Simon & Schuster/Aladdin that suggested ALONE. I think it’s perfect.
YABC: Do you have a favorite writing snack?
I do! I love sliced apples with peanut butter, especially when the apples are crisp and juicy like Galas or Red Delicious, and the peanut butter is extra chunky. It’s a great pick-me-up in the afternoon when I have a tendency to get a bit lethargic and I’ve been at my desk for too long. There’s something very satisfying about the combination of sweet and salty.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
What’s not to love about Pascal Campion’s art? Here’s part of the note I sent to my editor when I first saw it:
I love the watercolor medium.
I love the colors.
I love the choice place Maddie in nature.
I love that we can’t see her face or her race.
I love the inclusion of George.
I love the choice of winter and all the sensory feelings (and challenges) that evokes.
I love the hoodie and backpack and the stocking cap.
I love that the backpack looks too big for her.
I love that it’s a hiking backpack and not a school backpack.
I love her boots (I want a pair like that!).
I love the staff.
I love the leaf texture overlaying the snow.
I love the sunlight.
I honestly can’t imagine a more perfect cover for the book, and I’ve already heard from teachers and parents that their students picked up the book and began reading based solely on the cover. Visit Pascal Campion’s Instagram and website to see more of his incredible work.
YABC: What’s on your TBR pile?
I’m part of a group of middle grade and young adult authors debuting in 2021 called The21ders, so I’m lucky to receive a lot of advance reader copies of their forthcoming novels. Right now I’m really excited about Olivia Chadha’s Rise of the Red Hand, Halli Gomez’s List of Ten, Alysa Wishingrad’s The Verdigris Pawn, Tirzah Price’s Pride and Premeditation, and Andrea Wang’s The Many Meanings of Meilan. There’s information about all of these books and many more on The21ders’ website. Check it out!
YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
I loved Kate Albus’s forthcoming novel A Place to Hang the Moon and Kate Foster’s forthcoming novel Paws. A.J. Sass’s middle grade debut Ana on the Edge was great. Joy McCullough’s verse novel Blood Water Paint and Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet were both jaw-droppingly good, and so beautiful. I’m also a big Fannie Flagg fan, and I just finished her latest delight, The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I was a teacher for many years and I saw firsthand the critical importance of early childhood literacy. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program does incredible work to make sure children are exposed to books starting from birth, and the program’s impact on literacy rates in participating states and countries is huge. Access to quality education is at the heart of so many of the issues we face, and reading to the littlest among us is essential if they are going to succeed in school and grow up to become the compassionate, critical thinkers our world needs.
YABC: What advice would you give to new writers?
Everyone always says to read widely, and yes, of course, do that. You must do that. But I would also encourage aspiring writers to get involved in the writing communities around them, whether geographically or online. Find local writing organizations and attend their workshops and conferences. Make friends with other writers and find or form a critique group to share your writing and hear other people’s work. Seek feedback and take it to heart. Everything about being a writer involves a learning curve, so embrace the curve and take full advantage of all the resources that are out there waiting to be tapped.
By: Megan E. Freeman
Publisher: Aladdin Publishing
Release Date: January 12th, 2021
One winner will each receive a copy of Alone (Megan E.) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*