Saturday, May 20, 2023

Q&A with Joan F. Smith




Joan F. Smith is the author of the new young adult novel The Other Side of Infinity. She also has written the YA novel The Half-Orphan's Handbook. She lives in Massachusetts.


Q: What inspired you to write The Other Side of Infinity, and how did you create your characters Nick and December?


A: I had the idea for The Other Side of Infinity when my son was a newborn. The main character, December, has the power of almost unlimited foreknowledge, as it’s called in the book. That stemmed from my desire to want to know everything that was ever going to happen so I could anticipate and deal with the anxiety that arises when caring for a new life.


I sat with that idea for a bit, and then everything arrived at once when I thought about a friend of mine who had passed away very young. The question of “what if something could have been done to save him” has always stuck with me, and I combined the two. 


Q: Did you know how the novel would end before you started writing it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: I had the full ending planned out! Careful readers may find three very specific pieces of foreshadowing present in the story, plus some other stray ones. 


Q: How would you describe the dynamic between December and Nick?


A: Ooh, I like this question! I think I'd describe it as sweet and bashful meets a wary but blossoming trustfulness. 


Q: How was the novel's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: The book actually sold under a different title. I like playing with unanswerable concepts/questions, and time is one of those things for me that is so malleable because it's a human construct. December’s abilities are “out there” and I like how that plays into “the other side” of infinity - is there another side to it? What side are we on?


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I have two adult novels that I’m wrapping up now! Both of them explore something a little bit speculative that happens in our world. I also have a third YA partially drafted.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I’m so grateful for the opportunity to appear here. Readers can find me on all social media @jf_smit. 


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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