Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona, but moved east to study at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. She now writes full time and can be found hard at work on her next novel in a charming apartment overflowing with books. You can visit her online at www.alexandrabracken.com or on Twitter (@alexbracken).
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i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play¬ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep¬arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.
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Mindy: Hi Alexandra! First I want to say welcome to Magical Urban Fantasy Reads! I am looking forward to PASSENGER and I know my readers are as well and am so happy that you could stop by for a visit!
Alexandra : Thank you so much for having me!! I’m excited to hear what you guys think when you have it in your hands!
Mindy: For the readers: can you tell us a little bit about PASSENGER and the characters?
Alexandra : Of course! I pitched Passenger as being like Outlander meets National Treasure to my editor, and I think that description still works pretty well! It’s the story of Etta, a modern New York City teen, who finds that she’s the latest in a long line of time travelers—unfortunately, she discovers this during a violin performance, and only because she’s basically being kidnapped and brought into the past by the head of another family of travelers. He needs her to find an object that he claims was stolen from him, and if she refuses… well, she loses her path home forever. She’s joined on the adventure by Nicholas, another reluctant traveler currently working as a privateer in the 18th century.
Mindy: Will we get to see the cover for WAYFARER soon?
Alexandra : I wouldn’t say soon, unfortunately! We’re still working on it and trying to land on the right option. Passenger is a hard cover to live up to! ;)
Mindy: Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?
Alexandra : Sort of—Etta was really inspired by the teens (and some now-adults) I met while I lived in New York City who had grown up there. Most of them are incredibly self-sufficient, cultured, and driven, almost like the city sharpened them. Etta inherited a lot of those traits, which helps her survive this whole ordeal and bounce back when she takes hit after hit.
Mindy: Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?
Alexandra : I really, really loved writing from both Nicholas and Etta’s point of views; they’re different in so many ways, and had such different upbringings, but they’re so well-matched in the ways that really matter. I love Etta’s spunk and Nicholas’s dry humor.
Both Sophia and Cyrus were really difficult to write, and for two very different reasons. Sophia, a traveler Etta’s age who’s grown up in this world, is an absolute pill for the most part, but I find her anger and frustration really understandable. She’s a young woman who wants more and opportunity, but for all of the advantages and opportunities innate in time travel, they’re very old-fashioned and priggish about gender roles. And, well, Cyrus is just plain E-V-I-L.
Mindy: What is your favorite passage/scene in PASSENGER?
Alexandra : I really love the scene with the snake, mostly for Etta’s reaction and Nicholas’s realization in that moment that she’s it, and all of the quiet despair and happiness that came bundled with that.
Mindy: What kind of research did you have to do for the story?
Alexandra : Hah! The better question is, what didn’t I research? I had to learn a lot about the violin and violinists and a tiny bit on musical theory, I revisited a lot of the primary documents I worked with when I studied early American history in college, struggled (in vain!) to find some sort schematic of a non-military tall ship vessel, seafaring, World War II, dress styles from head to toe, typical food dishes… I LOVE this kind of stuff, though, so it was an absolute joy. The fact that they’re time travelers gave me a little wiggle room on this, but I also consulted quite a bit with the Oxford English Dictionary to make sure that Nicholas wasn’t using words that were standard in the 18th century, to double-check that the meaning of a word hadn’t changed, and that he would be able to glean what Etta meant if she used a modern phrase.
Mindy: What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?
Alexandra : I’m reading Winter by Marissa Meyer veeeeery slowly, both because I don’t want it to end, and because I don’t actually have that much time to read right now. I’m getting close to the end of drafting Wayfarer, Passenger’s sequel, and trying to use every spare moment for it.
Mindy: Who is your ultimate Book Boyfriend?
Alexandra : Ron King-of-My-Heart Weasley. Always!
Mindy: What inspired you to write YA?
Alexandra : The funny thing is, I only ever wanted to write children’s books, pretty much from the moment I knew I wanted to be a writer. (This was in third grade after I wrote a short story about the planets in the solar system.) I had so much fun reading the books I grew up that I thought it must be just as fun to write them. And, mostly, it is.
I think I ended up gravitating toward YA because of when I started trying to write to one day hopefully be published. I was a freshman in college and I had so many thoughts and ideas and feelings about those teen years I had to get them out.
Lightening Round Questions
Mindy: Twitter or Facebook?
Alexandra : Twitter
Mindy: Favorite Superhero?
Alexandra : Sailor Moon (she’s still my hero)
Mindy: Favorite TV show?
Alexandra : Right now? It’s The Knick.
Mindy: Sweet or Salty?
Alexandra : Salty… like me (just kidding!)
Mindy: Any Phobias?
Alexandra : Spiders and the ocean
Mindy: Song you can’t get enough of right now?
Alexandra : Shine a Light by BANNERS
Mindy: Upcoming Movie you’re most looking forward to?
Alexandra : It was The Force Awakens… so now I guess it’s Rogue One? Sign me up for endless Star Wars movies forever and always!
Mindy: Thanks so much Alexandra for answering my questions!
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