What is your birthday?

September 25.

How did you come up with the idea for Book Scavenger?

When I began writing Book Scavenger, I lived in San Francisco and the city itself was a big part of my initial inspiration. It always struck me as a cool setting for the type of story I loved reading when I was young. In particular I was thinking of the books From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg, The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, and the movie Goonies. I liked that all of those stories have adventure, mystery, a cool setting, a theme of friendship and learning to work together, and several of them incorporate cool historical facts or puzzles in an interesting way. So I set out to write a story like that set in San Francisco.

When I walked around San Francisco, I often imagined my characters and one day I saw this scene—vividly, like a movie in my mind—where kids found a book in a BART station that appeared to be hidden, and then they were chased by men who wanted the book. Even though I imagined this, I didn’t know the whys behind what was happening. Why was the book hidden, why were the kids interested in it, why did the men chase them . . . I set about brainstorming answers and writing about these characters and the things I thought might be happening in their story, and eventually my ideas evolved into the final story.

What was the most fun part of writing Book Scavenger?

Finishing it! Haha, just kidding. Although, there were a lot of moments working on Book Scavenger that I doubted myself and my ability to write the story the way I imagined it, so to have stuck with it (through eight different drafts!), and to have a publisher excited to publish it, and to see it sitting on shelves next to my favorite authors is incredibly rewarding. But as far as the writing process goes, I always love brainstorming ideas and imagining different characters and scenarios. That is so much fun for me. Finding the right words to accurately relay what I’m imagining is the hard part. 🙂

How many books will be in the Book Scavenger series?

Right now, there are three (Book Scavenger, The Unbreakable Code, and The Alcatraz Escape). At the moment, there aren’t more in the works beyond the third, but that could change in the future. I’m writing a different non-Book Scavenger middle grade right now, and I have another book idea I’d like to write next, but if readers really like the third Book Scavenger and want more, I do have ideas for future books in the series.

Should your books be shelved under Bertman or Chambliss?