Monday, November 25, 2013


Mia Grace, author of the Young Adult time travel novel Correlation, talks about her background and inspirations.


Book description:

When the past and the present collide… 

Hailey Kent knows how she wants to spend the summer before her junior year in high school: hanging out at the pool with Jenna, her BFF; riding her new trail bike on Vermont’s country roads; and flirting with Jenna’s hot older brother, Cody. 

Hailey’s plans are shattered when a post-graduation accident puts her brother into a coma. Feeling guilty for not stopping him from going out that night, she seeks solace in exploring an old house and its overgrown gardens. 

A mysterious correlation of events propels her back in time to the Vietnam War era, where she realizes she can use her knowledge of one boy’s fate to save his life. 

But first, Hailey needs to convince him of her sanity.

Hi, Mia! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline. Can you tell us about your background as an author? What got you into writing?

Hi, Mary, and thank you for having me on Zigzag Timeline!

I guess the urge to write novels has always been with me. I’m enthralled by a good writer’s ability to transport readers to another time and place, and it’s a skill I’m constantly working to acquire.

I’ve been writing novels for about thirty years, starting in the early 1980s. Back then, I hand-wrote them on whatever paper I could salvage, including the flip sides of form letters and old telephone bills. That seems so archaic now, in the world of computers, but I have reams of scribbled-on, mismatched sheets of paper to prove it!

In my other, more practical, life, I write and edit articles about consumer issues related to food and nutrition, so I guess I’m just addicted to wordsmithing.

"Correlation" tells the tale of a young American girl in 2013 who gets sent back to 1968. Why did you choose this particular time jump to explore? Why send a modern teenager back to the 1960s?

The 1960s were the years of my youth and young adulthood, and they were incredibly tumultuous years politically and socially. Women’s lib marches, the civil rights movement, and Vietnam war protests all occurred during that period. My generation fought and died in Vietnam, and it was a tragedy that changed our lives.

When I decided to write about a girl who seeks to change history, I immediately thought of that war and the young men who died in it. I wanted her to care about that and to attempt to save at least one young man’s life.

Bicycles are featured fairly prominently in "Correlation" and serve an important role in the plot. Why bicycles?

I needed a means to send Hailey back into the past, but I didn’t want it to simply be some invisible portal that she mistakenly slipped through. A bicycle from that era seemed like a logical means of transportation into the past (if there can be such a thing!). The bike gave her freedom to travel in and out of the time period, as needed.

I noticed that Hailey is an easy character to sympathize with, since her emotions really come to life in the book. What was it like getting into her head?

Getting into her head was a challenge for several reasons. First of all, I’m not a sixteen-year-old and haven’t been for a long time! Secondly, I had to imagine what it would feel like to have a family member hanging onto life by a thread after a tragic car accident since, fortunately, I’ve never experienced it. The hardest part, however, was giving authenticity to her reaction to the time-travel experience. How would the average person respond to the notion that she may have just gone back in time by forty-five years? How long would it take for her to recognize and accept it, rather than assume she was losing her mind? It’s one thing to be okay with it in a story. It’s another to try to come to terms with the possibility in your own life!

What are you hoping readers get out of reading your book?

I think the idea of attempting to change history is a fascinating one—is it history if it’s been changed?—and I hope that readers will be inspired to ask themselves relevant questions. If you could change history, what might the unexpected ramifications be? How are things in life intertwined, and if you were to change one thing, what else might you affect? Are we victims of fate, or are we responsible for our own outcomes? Is there value in lamenting past mistakes, or do we need to accept them and move on because they can’t be changed?

What's your favorite part of writing? Plotting? Describing scenes? Dialogue?

My favorite part is creating characters with interesting personalities, especially people with whom I would like to hang out or handsome men I’d like to know better. My favorite character in Correlation is Susan Wells.  She’s known love and loss and then found happiness, and she’s a survivor and a good, kind-hearted person who has the wisdom of her years.

For me, one of the hardest things about finishing a novel is knowing I won’t be spending time with its characters anymore. It’s like having good friends move away and never hearing from them again. I completely understand the lure of the sequel, because I also want to know what happens next to my characters!

What’s the most challenging aspect of writing, in your opinion?

My biggest challenge is killing my darlings—giving up my favorite, super-clever, amazingly well-written phrases and astoundingly creative passages that just plain don’t add to the story and must be sacrificed for the good of the whole.  To say I’m not a fan of the editing process would be to put it mildly.

Why did you choose to write a young adult novel? What is it about the genre that appeals to you?

The young adult age group includes readers who are old enough to ask the big questions about life but may not have delved too deeply into them as yet. They are the ones who seek answers to how and why things happen and are experiencing those “coming of age” moments that define who they will be as adults.

Because I have had female young adult readers in my family for the past ten or so years, and have another entering that age group now, I’ve enjoyed first-hand their excitement over a book that speaks to them. I want to write one of those books.

How long does it take you to write a book? Do you have a writing process, or do you wing it?

I only have time to write on weekends and a few evenings a week, so writing a book usually takes several months. I may have a general idea of where a story is going to go, but basically, I wing it and often don’t know how the story will come out. I’m more likely to create characters and put them into an interesting situation, then let them run with it.

That said, Correlation was a novel that had more of a known outcome than most that I have written. For that reason, it was actually harder for me to write, because I’m not usually that structured.

Did you ever surprise yourself when you were writing "Correlation"? Characters who took on lives of their own? Plot elements that took unexpected turns?

When I first described the old abandoned house, I had no idea that the cabbage rose wallpaper would hold any significance to the outcome of the story. It was just one of many random things remaining in the desecrated rooms and had no other purpose at the time I introduced it.

While I knew where the story needed to go, I wasn’t sure how Hailey would convince the 1960s’ Peter Wells that she wasn’t some drug-addled girl who thought she was from the future. Knowledge of historical events that would happen in his lifetime was a given, but the personal touch of his sister’s obsession with papering her bedroom evolved all on its own.

I do love it when that happens!

Thank you again, Mary. I loved your questions!

Thanks for dropping by!

Correlation is available in e-book and paperback formats at the following online retailers:

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  1. Thanks for having me, Mary! It was fun!

  2. I enjoyed reading the interview and looking into your mind. Thank you for giveaway

  3. Great interview! Just wanted to let you know I nominated your blog for an award! Go to my blog for the details and post info. (:

    -Shalyn @ PR Book Reviews