INTERVIEW: Meradeth Houston, author of TRAVELERS

We're pleased to feature an interview today with Meradeth Houston, the author of Travelers, a thrilling time-travel YA novel! 

By Meradeth Houston
Published on August 2nd 2015
Published by: BookFishBooks
Purchase: Amazon
Sienna Crenshaw knows the rules: 1) no time traveling beyond your natural lifetime, 2) no screwing with death, and 3) no changing the past. Ever. Sienna doesn’t love being stuck in the present, but she’s not the type to to break the rules. That is, she wasn’t the type until her best friend broke every one of those rules to keep Henry, her twin brother and Sienna’s ex-boyfriend, alive.

Suddenly, Sienna is caught in an unfamiliar reality. The upside? Henry is still alive. The downside? Sienna’s old life, including the people in it, has been erased. Now, Sienna and Henry must untangle the giant knot in time, or her parents and all the rest of the Travelers, will be lost forever. One problem: the only way to be successful is for Henry to die...

The last time I tried to write a story about time-travel, I wound up with a whole wall of color-coded post-it notes so I could keep all of the events straight. How did you keep any time-travel aspects of your story organized?

LOL! Oh wow, I can totally relate to this! I have several large pieces of paper that I’d written out all the trips the characters take, and then I created a master sheet, color coded, and with all these little notes. It looked like spaghetti by the time I was done! So…I don’t know if I’m the best person to recommend how to keep organized ;) But I did find it helpful to make notes to myself as I worked, and have a very clear idea of how time travel worked in my world so I didn’t end up doing something that couldn’t technically work. In the end, I tried to keep it simple…but it didn’t happen!

If you can share without spoilers, what is your favorite line or scene from your book?

Hmm, probably the one where Sienna meets Henry in the alternate reality and realizes it’s really him. This doesn’t have any real spoilers, so this is it:

I wasn’t sure if I felt more like Alice in Wonderland or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. I sure wasn’t in Kansas anymore, but it felt like I’d fallen down a rabbit hole. 
Another girl outside the stall brushed her hair in the mirror. It took me a second to realize she wore a very prim and proper school uniform, complete with an ugly plaid skirt and pressed shirt. She looked me up and down but said nothing. Though from her head-to-toe inspection of me, she clearly disapproved. 
I scanned the room, trying to figure out what else was different. The mirrors were clean—no random lipstick marks or haze from cosmetic spray. 
A deeper flare of panic kicked my heart into high gear as I realized Joan had ditched me. I checked the other stalls, each as spotless as the one I materialized into, but other than the other chick at the mirror, I remained alone. 
My hands shook as I pushed my hair away from my face. 
A sob hitched in my throat, but I forced it down. I had to keep control of myself until I got my butt back where I belonged. Then I could freak out, preferably in the comfort of my room, under my blankets. I’d make a little fort and bring ice cream. My room—I just had to think about my room. Wait, did I even have a room here, wherever I was? 
The other girl threw me one last carefully bland look and left the room. Something told me she would go report me to the school authorities. For a second, I thought about trying to catch up to her, but my voice caught in my throat. I took a deep breath and realized if I wanted to get back to my school I needed to figure out where I was. Pronto. 
I could Travel from here—I didn’t have to know my starting point—but I’d already managed to get myself in the wrong spot once today. The smartest thing to do would be to stay put until I figured out where I’d landed.   
Taking a deep breath and clutching my textbook to my chest, I pushed the outside door open. 
As I glanced around, goose-bumps rose across my back. The layout of this school looked identical to my own. Lockers lined the hallway across from the bathroom door, and the low murmur of voices resonated from the classrooms surrounding me. Of course, there was one big difference. This place was most certainly not a public high school—and not the one I’d left a minute ago. 
“There you are. What took you so long?” 
I jumped and stifled a scream as someone addressed me. 
“Um, I think you have the wrong person.” I turned and met the boy’s eyes. A rush of blood swirled under my skin. He had the best green eyes. They were also unmistakable.
My heart froze in my chest. 
Joan’s brother, my boyfriend. Dead boyfriend. Alive and kicking—well, currently he laughed and stood a little too close to me. I struggled to breathe.
What inspires you? Are there specific authors, shows, movies, or music that really inspires you -- as a person or in your writing?

So many things inspire me! I think that inspiration can come from a million different places, so long as we’re open to it. Songs are especially potent for me, and I often find lyrics that fit what my characters are feeling/doing and love getting inspired from that. And definitely good books make me want to be a better writer, particularly the work of authors like Madeline L’Engle or Maggie Stiefvater (along with about a hundred others, but I’ll stick to these right now). 

Can you share a little bit about any other upcoming projects/works in progress?

I’m currently shopping a book that I absolutely adore and hope finds a great home. It’s about coincidences and people who are tasked to make them “happen”—kind of like the Adjustment Bureau meets Charlain Harris’ Harper Connolly books (or at least that’s how they’ve been described by my critique people). I’m also writing something new and fun and very different, which I’m describing as Sherlock meets Orphan Black on the set of a Bond film.

Keeping with the theme of our blog name, The Best Books Ever, I've got to ask: what is your absolute favorite book?

It’s always so hard to chose! But A Wrinkle in Time has been my favorite for a very long time and is one that I regularly go back and re-read. It has so much magic in its pages!

Thank you so much for hosting me today!!

About the author...

I’ve never been a big fan of talking about myself, but if you really want to know, here are some random tidbits about me:

>I'm a California girl. This generally means I talk too fast and use "like" a lot. Since I now live in Montana, sometimes this is a problem.

>I have my doctorate in molecular anthropology. Translation: I sequence dead people's DNA and spend a whole lot of time in a lab, which I love.

>I've been writing since I was 11 years old. It's my hobby, my passion, and I'm so happy to get to share my work!

>My other passion is teaching. There's nothing more fun than getting a classroom of college kids fired up about anthropology! This is probably a good thing, since my day job requires me to teach at the local university.

>If I could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because I'm terrified of heights.

Connect with the author: 

FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblrAmazonGoodreads, and of course her blog!

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