Monday, July 8, 2019

A TIME TRAVELER'S THEORY OF RELATIVITY by Nicole Valentine

From Nicole Valentine's website


Hi, everyone! I'm excited to introduce my author friend Nicole Valentine, whose debut MG novel, A TIME-TRAVELER'S THEORY OF RELATIVITY pubs in Oct 2019. 

Here is my interview with Nicole:



1) Hi, Nicole and welcome to My Brain on Books! Why don't you start by telling us about your debut novel, A TIME-TRAVELER'S THEORY OF RELATIVITY, coming Oct 1, 2019 from Carolrhoda Books, an imprint of Lerner.


Thank you so much for having me!

A TIME-TRAVELER'S THEORY OF RELATIVITY is about a very practical, science-loving boy who discovers the family secret: all the women in his family can time travel. I have been fascinated with time travel since I was a child and this story explores not just the adventurous side of being able to travel in time, but all the emotional and moral conflicts that would arise. I describe it as A Time Traveler’s Wife meets Tuck Everlasting. While there is plenty of page-turning adventure inside, it is also a heartfelt story about family and loss.

The official description:

Twelve-year-old Finn is used to people in his family disappearing. His twin sister, Faith, drowned when they were three years old. A few months ago, his mom abandoned him and his dad with no explanation. He clings to the concrete facts in his physics books and to his best friend, Gabi to cope with his sadness. But when his grandmother tells him the family secret: that all the women in their family are Travelers, he realizes he has to put his trust in something bigger than logic to save his Mom.


2) What came first: the character of Finn, or the story idea? And how long did it take you to write this impressive novel?

The story idea came to me when I was twelve or thirteen, shortly after my father died. Like most children dealing with grief, I desperately wanted everything to return to normal. Being the grand and complicated thinker that I was, I headed to books about time travel. It seemed like the most logical solution: go back in time and warn my father about his undiagnosed heart problem. I read every time travel novel I could get my hands on. I began forming the story I wished I could find, eventually it morphed into this book. I’ve written many things in-between, but this book has been with me the longest. It isn’t easy writing a novel, it’s even harder to write time travel. It takes a lot of work and well, time, to get it right.

Nicole Valentine, from her website



3) Wow! That's quite a journey. And a touching background story, Nicole. Have you always wanted to be a writer? Please share your writing journey with us.

I have for as long as I can remember. My elementary school librarian published a humorous poem of mine on a mimeographed newsletter that went home to parents. After that I decided I wanted to keep making things that made people Feel with a capital F, whether it be laughing or crying.


4) Your agent is Linda Epstein at Emerald City Literary. Please tell us how you found her. 

After graduating with my MFA from Vermont College, I attended SCBWI events and met many agents along the way. I met Linda at NESCBWI where she was presenting. I really liked her style. I wasn’t ready to query yet, but I made a note to remember her when the time came. I highly recommend new writers do this. Keep track of everyone you meet and take notes about your meeting. I used an online tool called Insight.ly for this and it became invaluable when I was finally ready to query.


5)  That's wise advice. Tell us about your cool website and especially SteaMG, the Middle Grade Sci Fi Authors Alliance.

Well, as you can probably tell from my childhood story, sci-fi books hold a special place in my heart. When I was searching for books about time travel as a kid, I didn’t discover the secret to turning back the clock, but I did discover awe. Those books filled me with wonder and gave me hope. I want to make sure more books in the tradition of A Wrinkle in Time and When You Reach Me continue to be written and placed in the hands of young readers.

I’ve been reading about awe a lot in the last several months. I realized that was what moved me as a young girl and I found it only in the pages of books. Psychologists are just now beginning to study the emotion of awe and its benefits on the human brain and body. Subjects in psychological studies report a feeling of having more time available, increased generosity, and decreased aggression. Awe generates empathy. Scientists have found that awe also combats stress in an empirical way. I know it was awe that saved me. We need more books that bring hope through inspiring awe. SteaMG is about highlighting those books. It's also about honoring fiction that is inspired by science and STEM. I personally think our world could benefit from more adults who have a reverence for scientific thought. Reaching middle grade readers is one way to start. 

SteaMG has been wonderful in not only finding like-minded librarians and teachers, but helping us as authors connect and organize our efforts. I could not be happier with how it’s turned out. We are adding new authors in June and the site will continue to grow with new features.

6) And is there another MG sci fi in the works? Or perhaps a YA?

I am sticking to middle grade for the time being. I’m currently writing another heartfelt sci-fi middle grade about UFOs. It will have readers searching for meaning in everyday occurrences and looking up at the night sky very carefully.

Thank you, Nicole! Readers, here is Nicole's info:

You can link to my website at nicolevalentinebooks.com and my twitter @nicoleva

My book can be preordered anywhere books are sold.

18 comments:

  1. I love time travel and that's great that it's combined with a love of science. Really enjoyed the interview and learning how Nicole came up with her story idea. Glad you're back, Joanne!

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    1. Thanks, Natalie. Good to be back!

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    2. Thank you, Natalie. I'm so glad Joanne is back too.

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  2. I see an ARC of this book on my TBR pile and have a review scheduled for late September. The interview was great and provided many insights. Best of luck, Nicole, with the launch of this intriguing story.

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    1. Thank you, Greg and thank you for reviewing. I'm so glad you were able to get an ARC. I hear they are hard to come by right now. (I don't even have one anymore!)

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  3. I love how Nicole took a very difficult life event and turned it into a novel. I enjoy time travel and this sounds like a wonderful read!

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    1. All the writers I know use this same inkwell. :)

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  4. I love time travel books, so will definitely add this to my TBR pile. I have a little bit of a hard time getting students to read time travel, which always confused me until someone pointed out that they may find it confusing. I still keep recommending them, though!

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    1. I agree. Time travel can be confusing. I think "soft sci-fi" is good approach for middle graders (vs. hard sci-fi). My steamg.org collective is all about making sci-fi, fantasy and STEM related fiction accessible to kids.

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  5. I always enjoy reading about the writing paths of authors. Thank you for sharing this interesting conversation for MMGM!

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  6. This is a great interview! It's neat to hear about the backstory of this intriguing book. Thanks for the interview!

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    1. Thank you. Love your blog name! Describes every room in my house.

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  7. It's always inspiring to read writer's stories. Thanks for the interview. The book sounds great. Good luck!

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  8. Thanks for doing this interview. It's nice to see I'm not the only one who keeps an idea in my head for years! The book sounds intriguing!

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    1. Thank you, Andrea. I think the ones that "marinate" the longest end up being the best!

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  9. Many thanks to everyone who commented and especially to Nicole Valentine for being here to reply. I'm so excited about Nicole's debut novel!

    Readers, what you didn't know was that both Nicole and I were having technical difficulties on Monday. Glad it all worked out eventually!

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. (Note: I've had to enable comment moderation due to excessive spam!)