I am so excited to have on my blog Jenny Martin who is the author of the awesome YA science fiction novel TRACKED (recently released from Dial/Penguin).
Jenny Martin is a librarian, a book monster, and a certified Beatle-maniac. She lives in Dallas with her husband and son, where she hoards books and regularly blisses out over all kinds of live and recorded rock.
TRACKED is a fast-paced, rocketing read, described as Speed Racer meets Star Wars, or The Fast and the Furious gets a futuristic twist. Boy are those descriptions correct!
Everly: There is so much to love about TRACKED. For me, the fast pace and action were perfect. What’s your process for writing action scenes?
Jenny: Wow, thank you so much, Everly! True confession: Believe it or not, the action scenes are actually the easiest for me to write. And the most enjoyable! I think a lot of it boils down to voice. In every scene, I’m always trying to tap into that character’s voice. I’m trying to get under the skin and filter everything through that unique perspective. Usually, I’m not even focusing on what’s actually happening, blow by blow. Instead, I’m interpreting the experience of it. I think that’s the key. I’m always chasing that sense of really being there, and trying to conjure what it would be like for the character. And when that character is strapped in, and blasting off at top speeds…it can be pretty fun!
Everly: I fell in love with Phee’s voice right from the start. I’d love to hear about her evolution from an idea into the fearless character that she is.
Jenny: Great question, and one of my favorites! I’ve written about this quite a bit, but Phee’s voice was really strong, from the beginning. I’d gotten the idea for Tracked, after watching Death Race: 2000 with Jason Statham, and a documentary on out of control corporations, and Phee popped into my head soon after, pretty much fully formed. From the get go, on the page, she was impatient and reckless and headstrong. And above all, fearless—a Han Solo girl with smart mouth and a stubborn, loyal heart. Basically, she was everything I’m not! And I think that’s no accident. Phee came to me during a really tough time in my journey. Writing her was almost therapeutic. She was so good for my spirit, and she helped me face a lot of my own fears, and move past them.
Everly: I also really loved the world of TRACKED and how you brought it alive with culturally diverse characters like Cashoman Dradha, Grace Yamada, and Auguste de Chevalier. What part of the TRACKED world did you most enjoy writing about?
Jenny: Thank you! I really enjoyed writing each of these characters, especially Cash. It was also a lot of fun to dream up the histories of these two planets—his and Phee’s. While Cash’s planet is lush and unyielding, corporations from Earth colonized Phee’s world, and I borrowed a little bit of my home state’s history in writing it. I grew up in dusty, windswept Oklahoma, which was settled in a series of wild, claim-staking land runs. And naturally, I made sure that Phee’s planet was settled that way, too…through breakneck races. Then everything fell into place. I knew why rally racing had to be the most popular interplanetary sport. Suddenly, that history became important to Phee and Cash’s story.
Everly: Please tell me there’s going to be a sequel? (Because I kind of want to read it, like, now!) If so, when can we look forward to seeing it on shelves?
Jenny: Hurray! Thanks for asking. So glad you enjoyed! Yes, there is a sequel under contract, and I’m actually finishing up edits on it right now. It will be out next year, and I can’t wait for readers to see what happens next. Phee has been through so much, but oh boy, she has a long road ahead of her. All I can say is…these characters have become so dear to me, and it’s going to be thrilling to see the finish line at last.
Everly: In the spirit of fast and furious, some quick questions:
Red car or black car?
Black car! Just like Phee’s Talon, of course.
Hero or villain?
Hero, all the way. (I’m Jedi and House Gryffindor, through and through.)
Muffins or cupcakes?
Cupcakes. Especially if they’re frosted with salted caramel!
(Everly: Salted caramel…Om nom nom…)