(From Lindsey Lane:) When I go into a school for an author visit, I always tell students that the cool thing about writing is that there are no right or wrong answers. There’s spelling. There’s grammar and punctuation. But really, there is no right way to tell a story. For me, as long as I’m telling a story that is true to a character’s heart then I’m doing my job as a writer.
When I started writing EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN, it was a series of linked short stories, all of which occurred around a patch of dirt by the side of the road, which is called a pull-out. You see, I woke up from a dream and saw a boy standing in a pull out and wondered what the heck he was doing there. Then a lot of different characters showed up at the pull out, each for a different reason, each with a different desire. Eventually I discovered Tommy, a brilliant, socially awkward high school boy who goes missing from that pull out. Once I ‘found’ Tommy, I knew his absence could pull all the stories together. In a weird way, Tommy would be the negative space at the heart of the novel around which all the stories of the people in the town revolved, only their stories would be a bit off course in the way that things go a bit wobbly when someone is missing.
That’s also when I added the fist person sections of the kids talking to the Sheriff about Tommy. I needed the urgency of their voices and their knowledge of Tommy to weave the world of the novel together. I took a risk interjecting first person sections with the third person stories. I mean, in the end, the reader of EVIDENCE steps into the perspective of twenty-one characters. That’s a lot to ask a reader but I think we live in this crazy exciting time as storytellers. Graphic novels. Fan fiction. Flash fiction. Novels in verse. It’s insane. And that’s just the reading format. If you turn on the television or go to the movies and plays, writers are taking big risks with story telling. Leaps in time, point of view shifts, simultaneous realities are all pretty common now. Do they all work? Probably not. But if your story is true to a character’s heart, your reader will go anywhere with you.
About EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN: When high school junior Tommy Smythe goes missing, everyone has a theory about what happened to him. He was an odd kid, often deeply involved in particle physics, so maybe he just got distracted and wandered off. He was last seen at a pullout off the highway, so maybe someone snatched him. Tommy believes that everything is possible, and that until something can be proven false, it may be true. So as long as Tommy’s whereabouts are undetermined, he could literally be anywhere.
About LINDSEY LANE: Award-winning author Lindsey Lane is proud to announce her debut YA novel EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN will be published by Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers on September 16, 2014. Her picture book SNUGGLE MOUNTAIN (Clarion, 2003) is now available as an iTunes app, which Digital Storytime describes as “heartwarming and adorable with rich illustrations and lyrical text.” In 2010, Lindsey received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Lindsey is a featured presenter at many schools where she gets kids (of all ages) excited about writing. When she is not writing, reading or being a mom, Lindsey loves sweating at Bikkram yoga, seeing movies and plays, and enjoying some of the outrageously good food at Austin restaurants with friends.