Peter Abrahams discusses his first book for children, Down The Rabbit Hole, the first in the Echo Falls mystery series.
Q. You have written several critically acclaimed adult novels including
The Fan, A Perfect Crime, The Tutor and Oblivion but Down the Rabbit Hole is your
first book written for children. Did you find this to be a difficult
transition? Which audience do you prefer writing for?
A. I loved writing this book. The truth is I didnt think much about the transition. The story unreels before the eyes of a 13-year-old girl, so the language of the book is her language. As for audience, its tremendously gratifying to be entertaining young readers.
Q. Do you have a particular writing philosophy that you follow?
A. Im very persnickety about writing. I have a million rules, but they all boil down to trying to do something original on every page.
Q. Ingrid Levin-Hill, the 13-year-old super sleuth and star of the Echo Falls series is a very multifaceted and believable character that the target reader can really relate to. Why do you think that is? Is she based on a particular person from your family?
A. Certainly the fact that I have four kidstwo boys, two girlswas a big help in keeping things real. There are lots of dark patches in childhood, but what I remember most about my own is the feeling of exhilaration that comes with waking up to the world of human life. What surprised me was Ingrids take on thingsthat part wrote itself.
Q. Everyone seems to be in love with all of the characters in this book--especially Grampy. Did anyone in your own family influence your writing? And if so, how?
A. My mother was a writer and taught me a lot when I was very young. A few years ago, I wrote down what shed taught me in the form of Enids Laws. There are six of them.
1. Organization is everything.
2. Fiction is about reversals.
3. Torment your protagonist.
4. Push everything as far as you can without contriving.
5. Always advance the story.
6. Be original.
Later I added a seventh: Be playful.
Q. Stephen King has noted you as his favorite suspense novelist and youve been compared to such mystery greats as Hitchcock, Grisham, Coombs, and Diehl. Were you a mystery reader when you were growing up?
A. I read all kinds of things, including mystery, but pure adventure was my favoritepirate stories, lost in the Arctic, hacking through deep jungle, all that.
Q. Fans of Down the Rabbit Hole will be thrilled to know the second book in the Echo Falls series is in the works. What we can expect from Behind the Curtain? Is it true that just as the first book has references to Alice in Wonderland this one plays to the Oz fans?
A. In Behind the Curtain, Ingrid and her friends are putting on the scene where Dorothy, Woodman, Lion and Scarecrow discover that the Wizard is a fraud. At the same time, a terrible threat has come to Echo Falls, even insinuating itself in Ingrids family. When its almost too late, Ingrid realizes that she literally doesnt know the half of it. I can also reveal that math continues to be Ingrids undoing and that a piglet on Grampys farm plays an important role.
Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.
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