Jessica Lee Anderson is the author of Uncertain Summer, a new novel for kids. Her other books include Trudy and Border Crossing, and she lives near Austin, Texas.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Uncertain Summer, and for the idea of including Bigfoot in the plot?
A: Years before the Finding Bigfoot television show (which happened to be the original title of my first draft that I later had to change), I watched a cryptid hunting documentary featuring the Patterson-Gimlin film.
After the documentary wrapped up at close to midnight, I looked over at my dog with Sasquatch-like fur, and it got my imagination working overtime. I knew I wanted to write a book featuring Bigfoot somehow. My nephews and my niece provided much inspiration for the story.
Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?
A: While I knew the general direction of the book’s ending, it took at least six drafts before I felt like I got the story arc right. I rewrote the story from scratch twice and made many changes along the way, which included restructuring the plot to include the contest.
Q: What do you hope kids take away from the book?
A: I hope kids enjoy the story first and foremost! I also hope young readers find whatever treasure they are seeking, especially the riches of friends and family.
Q: Who are some of your favorite writers?
A: One of my favorite writers is Judy Blume—her voice has always connected with me, both when I was younger and as an adult. Another favorite is my critique partner and dear friend, P.J. Hoover. I feel so lucky that I get to read her work ahead of publication as I love the worlds she builds and the adventurous plots she creates!
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I’m currently working on stories for young readers to include two new Time Hop chapter books for Rourke Educational Media.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Thanks for spending time with me! If you’re interested in writing, I encourage you to keep pursuing your goal. No matter what, believe in the possibility of the impossible!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb