Sharilyn Grayson answers 5 questions about
Dawn Hyperdrive and the Galactic Handbag of Death, her new outer space adventure for middle-school readers.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE A CHILDREN’S STORY THAT’S “‘STAR TREK’ MEETS ‘PETER PAN'”?
I got the story idea from the Disney Peter Pan movie. Last spring, my toddler Jane went through a phase where she wanted to watch it over and over again. Somewhere in the middle of all of those replays, I thought of switching all of the gender roles and setting the story in modern day. When I began to play with that idea, a modern, female spirit of eternal youth just clicked for me as a video game character. And of course the video game had to be set in space, because I have come by my geekdom honestly. My dad raised me on original Star Trek, and I had a crush on Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s Jean-Luc Picard as a teenager. The two worlds just melded for me.
‘GALACTIC HANDBAG’ IS THE FIRST BOOK IN A SERIES: DO YOU HAVE A SET NUMBER OF TITLES IN MIND, OR ARE YOU SIMPLY NOT YET DONE WITH DAWN HYPERDRIVE?
I have planned four books. I’m writing the second one as we speak. The last two exist for now only as rough story outlines. I don’t want to create the detailed outlines until I’m closer to writing the books. I want to find out what my characters have to show me in book two and how they change during the adventure.
THIS IS YOUR FIRST PUBLISHED NOVEL—WHAT PART OF THE PROCESS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST?
I was surprised at how much work happens after you finish writing. I’d always thought that I would type “The End” on the back page of a manuscript and be done. But for the last month I’ve been learning about ISBN numbers, the Library of Congress, copyright law, social media marketing, formatting Word docs for different online publishers, and blogging.
LOOKING AHEAD AS AN AUTHOR, ARE YOU FOCUSING ON DAWN HYPERDRIVE FOR THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE, OR DO YOU HAVE OTHER FICTION IN THE PIPELINE?
Dawn Hyperdrive is my life for the next year. I’ll release a new sequel every three months until the end of the year, and then I’ll set my sights on finishing some other books I’ve started and beginning some of the stories in my idea journal. I’m going to focus on children’s books and YA novels for the time being.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUNG READERS WILL GET OUT OF ‘GALACTIC HANDBAG’?
I hope they’ll see that family is precious and irreplaceable, even though your siblings may irritate you and your parents may not understand you. I also hope they’ll carry away with them a deep loathing of people who separate parents and children and who force adult roles on children. Mrs. Scales is the worst kind of villain, and each villain in the three coming books is cut from the same cloth. And honestly, I hope that kids will just have fun visiting outer space and the land of fairy tales with my characters.
Sharilyn is donating a tenth of her profits to Project AK-47, a Nashville charity that buys child soldiers in southeast Asia and Africa and gives them homes and education.