Tracker220 by Jamie Krakover
1- Okay, so you're a rocket scientist. That does, actually, impress me very much. What's the coolest thing you've done or worked on because of that job?
Too many too count, but one of my favorites was when I was working as a Teardown Engineer. It's a lot like it sounds, we would tear apart aircraft structure either physically or virtually and analyze the cost implications on the designs. I was working on some landing gear but we only had 2D drawings which I was struggling to visualize. At that time they were only letting a small number of people in to see the aircraft but I asked the design engineer if there was any way we could see the landing gear. The next thing I knew, I was laying underneath jet prototype number 1 as the engineer walked us through the different parts of the landing gear. Such a cool experience.
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
You do you. If you can write every day, do it. If not, don't. Taking aspiring out of your profile, if you write, you're a writer, no matter how you do it.
3- What is the best piece of writing advice you've received?
I'm going to cheat and give two pieces of advice
- Make sure your main character is an active participant in their story, explain their world through their eyes. That includes everything from internalization, to dialogue etc. Make the story about the main character.
- Kill the filter (heard, felt, saw, thought, etc.) words and to be verbs as much as possible. The right verb can take a good sentence and really make it pop. It's the difference between she heard the car beep outside the window and The car horn blared through the window. The difference between Her hair was long and brown and Her long brown hair draped perfectly over her shoulders and down her back, not a single strand out of place. It lets you go deeper into the description.
4- Would you please tell us more about FIRST Robotics?
FIRST Robotics is a fantastic organization that allows students of varying age groups to build and code/program robots with the help of a coach and mentors then compete to accomplish a series of tasks. The program promotes STEM in kids as young as kindergarten all the way up through high school. Grade school kids work with Lego sized creations with FIRST Lego League then in middle school/high school can move to 18 cubic inch robots with FIRST Tech Challenge, and in FIRST Robotics Competition for high schoolers, the robots can get as big as 28'' x 38'' x 60''.
I had the pleasure of mentoring an all girls team, and it was awesome to watch them learn and explore the engineering process as well as gain confidence through the program. For more information on FIRST including finding out ways to volunteer visit https://firstinspires.org.
5- Would you share a picture with us of your book with some cool science thing?
6- What did you contribute to the book "Putting the Science in Fiction: Expert Advice for Writing with Authenticity in Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Other Genres"?
Putting the Science in Fiction is a great resource for folks wanting to learn the basics of a variety of science topics. The book can be leveraged by writers to get complicated science topics right in their writing. I wrote two pieces for the anthology, one on the Misconceptions of Space and the other on 3D printing and the feasibility of the Star Trek Replicator.
7- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
I'm @Rockets2Writing on Twitter. I tweet about space, writing, women in STEM, cosplay and pretty much anything sci fi. One of my favorite people on twitter is my critique partner Tom Torre ( @TomTorreD20 ). He tweets about writing and gaming including video games and Dungeons and Dragons. Jennifer Stolzer ( @jenniferstolzer ) did my cover art and is part of my local writing group. She tweets amazing art as well as lots of dog pictures. Meredith Tate ( @mltate24 ) who is another one of my critique partners and used to be part of my local writers group but moved away and I miss her. She has several awesome YA sci fi books out as well as her upcoming YA Rom com called SHIPPED about fandom which I'm so excited for.
8- What’s one writing goal you hope to accomplish before you die?
This is probably a pipedream, but I would love to be invited to San Diego Comic Con as an author. And if I could write something for Star Wars that would be amazing too!
9- What most motivates you to read a new book?
For me it's the story. If it's something that piques my interest I'm sold regardless of who wrote it. That tends to be YA or MG Sci Fi or Fantasy but doesn't have to be.
10- It's our tenth anniversary! How far has your writing come in the past ten years and where do you see your writing career ten years from now?
Oh my goodness I've come so far in the last 10 years. I started getting really serious about my writing at the tail end of 2009/early 2010. I was a baby writer wondering if my ideas were worthwhile and learning to hone my craft. It's when I joined my local writers guild and started working with critique partners. Since then I've written several manuscripts, been agented, published, and met so many amazing people in the writing community.
As for the next ten years, I hope there's many more books in my future. I hope to find another agent and look forward to lots more writing!
11- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!
Author name: Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman @misterkristoff and @AmieKaufman .
Title: Illuminae Files
Love because: I loved the unique format, the ya space/sci fi aspect of the story and the nonstop action and problems. It was a really fun book to read that reeled me in and never let go.
12- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader?
In general, TRACKER220 is a pretty dark book, but it has moments of finding the light in the darkest times. I hope people are able to experience the sadness, the frustration, the questions, the adrenaline rushes, and so much more. But most importantly, I hope readers are able to find the light in the darkness which is something I think we can all use right about now.
13- What kind of impact do you hope your book will have?
The book focuses a lot on advanced technology and what we are willing to compromise (or not) as technology advances and conflicts with other aspects of life. I hope TRACKER220 makes people think about what technology they use, why they use it, what they might be giving up because of it, and what they want to have control over (or take back control of).
14- What is the best writing tool, program, or reference book you've ever bought?
The First Five Pages by Noah Lukemon. It gave me a great foundation early on. Also highly recommend Angela James's 'Before You Hit Send' class. I learned so much about editing in that class.
15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
The main character in Tracker220 is Jewish like I am. As Kaya has issues with her tracking chip, she starts to explore what it means to be Jewish. Over time she discovers how her faith sometimes conflicts with her technology, how she wants to observe her faith, and how she wants to own her Jewish background.
Growing up the only Jewish characters I saw in books were related to the Holocaust or Jewish persecution. I hope this book finds Jewish readers who can identify with it, as well as others looking to learn more about one Jewish experience.
16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?
I'm a little biased because I work on the blog, but Middle Grade Minded has a lot of awesome book reviews as well as some fantastic writing advice. I also really enjoy Forever Young Adult, which reviews books, movies, and tv shows. And of course if you're looking for book recommendations of pretty much any kind, Dahlia Adler( @MissDahlELama ) is who you want to follow.
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
TRACKER220 is the manuscript that found me my agent. I worked with her for about 6 months on editing the manuscript. Just before going out on sub, she left agenting for another role in publishing. It really pulled the rug out from underneath me. I tried to requery and find new representation but YA sci fi is a particularly tough sell.
That said, I knew I had something special that had gotten a lot of traction during pitch events. That told me readers were still very hungry for YA sci fi. I wanted to take back some control of my publishing career. I decided to self-publish through Snowy Wings Publishing which is an awesome cooperative group of self published authors. And it's been a great experience. I've learned a ton and have enjoyed hearing from readers.
18- Which author, past or present, do you feel most resembles your work?
I think folks who enjoyed Proxy by Alex London will enjoy TRACKER220. Both are dystopian YA's with Jewish characters and similar advanced technology. Very different plots, but similar tones.
19- Would you please ask our audience a question to answer in the comments?
In TRACKER220, the trackers implanted in everyone's head allows people to communicate and access anything on the network in the blink of an eye. But it also means the authorities track everywhere you go, everyone you talk to, and everything you do. If you could do anything in the blink of an eye what would it be? What would you be willing to give up for that ability?
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
You can find out more about TRACKER220 on my blog including a book trailer, synopsis, and an excerpt of the entire first chapter!
Growing up with a fascination for space and things that fly, Jamie turned that love into a career as an Aerospace Engineer. Combining her natural enthusiasm for Science Fiction and her love of reading, she now spends a lot of her time writing Middle Grade and Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.Jamie lives in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband, Andrew, her son, and their dog Rogue (after the X-Men, not Star Wars, although she loves both). When she isn’t being a Rocket Scientist by day and a writer by night, she can be found catching up on the latest sci fi TV, books, and movies as well as spending time on Twitter (maybe a little too much time :-P). And no, the rocket science jokes never get old!Through Snowy Wings Publishing, Jamie is the author of Tracker220 (October 2020). She also has two female in STEM short stories published in the Brave New Girls anthologies and two engineering-centered nonfiction pieces that published in Writer’s Digest’s Putting the Science in Fiction.
Social Media Links:
Blog – http://jamiekrakover.blogspot.com
Twitter – @Rockets2Writing
Instagram – https://instagram.com/jamiekrakover/
Goodreads – https://goodreads.com/author/show/16483406.Jamie_Krakover
Bookbub - https://bookbub.com/profile/jamie-krakover
Tracker220 by Jamie Krakover