AUTHOR Seth Fishman
PUBLICATION February 25th 2014 by Putnam Juvenile
Mia Kish is afraid of the dark. And for good reason. When she was a toddler she fell deep into her backyard well only to be rescued to great fanfare and celebrity. In fact, she is small-town Fenton,Colorado’s walking claim to fame. Not like that helps her status at Westbrook Academy, the nearby uber-ritzy boarding school she attends. A townie is a townie. Being nationally ranked as a swimmer doesn’t matter a lick. But even the rarefied world of Westbrook is threated when emergency sirens start blaring and the school is put on lockdown, quarantined and surrounded by soldiers who seem to shoot first and ask questions later. Only when confronted by a frightening virus that ages its victims to death in a manner of hours does Mia realize she may only just be beginning to discover what makes Fenton special.
The answer is behind the walls of the Cave, aka Fenton Electronics. Mia’s dad, the director of Fenton Electronics, has always been secretive about his work. But unless Mia is willing to let her classmates succumb to the strange illness, she and her friends have got to break quarantine, escape the school grounds, and outsmart armed soldiers to uncover the truth about where the virus comes from and what happened down that well. The answers they find just might be more impossible than the virus they are fleeing.
Yeah, Baby Jessica was a big deal everywhere, but especially in my home-town. I remember when they freed her, we were listening to the radio in the car and we honked to celebrate. And everyone else honked too. Nothing like that has ever happened to me since. So, I used that scenario as a base for my character, Mia. Something to craft her with. Then, I figured out an entirely different story to put this crafted character into. The thing is, the well keeps coming back to me, and so does the fall, and now as I write book two, it's creeping up as a more than an 'influence'... that's all I can say, for now. But I'm really enjoying exploring it.
I always wonder if it's difficult for a male author to write about a female main character. Did you find this challenging at all? If so, what steps did you take to bridge any gender gaps you may have come across?
Ha, I found this very challenging. My editor, the wonderful Stacey Barney, was instrumental in helping me sort out some of the technicalities. The funniest thing, though, was writing about the romance budding between main characters. I wrote the boy as I KNEW boys acted, but from Mia's perspective, what they were doing seemed weird, uninterested, which is both very real-life, but also not as helpful for the book. An odd balance to strike.
Do you have a writing room? If so, what does it look like?
I don't really, sadly. That's the future. Right now I'm in the living room in the morning, or the bedroom at night, depending on when. But my wife DID get me an awesome glass desk to write on for my birthday last year. I envision a leather chair and a library and a cat purring nearby.
What books are currently on your to-read shelf?
Good question. My clients' books, of course - can't wait for new ones to come in. But, otherwise, my to-read (and not my currently reading) shelf has Patrick Ness, recommended by the great writer Alexander London. And also, finally, some Alice McDermott.
What were some of your early influences that may have helped shaped your writing style? (books, movies, music, etc.)
My first love was Tolkien, but I wouldn't say that influenced my style. I love books that bend the grammar rules, that feel like the words are actually from a person's mind, and not the author's, and I tried to do that with mine. A modern example would be John Green. When I was younger, everything from Falkner to Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card to ANYTHING by David Mitchell. Movie: Dead Poet Society (I am a crier, even at emotional commercials, ha). This book is sort of a Toy Soldiers meets Red Dawn (the old one), so we can toss those in too, but I love the odd and imaginative. And I try to do the same in my writing. Straightforward different.
Thanks for taking the time to let us get to know a bit more about you and The Well's End, Seth!
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Seth Fishman (me) was born and raised in Midland, Texas (think Friday Night Lights) and received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England (think cold and rainy and millions of castles). His YA thriller, The Well's End, is the first in a series and the protagonist, Mia Kish, is roughly inspired by a hometown drama that (when I was young) really blew him away: Click Here To Read The Article