Give us an insight into your main character. Why is he/she special?
I always write for soft, but strong, female leads. Emily, the main character of Trapped, exemplifies both of these characteristics. She's only just under sixteen years old, but she's even more mature than her mother. She has had to raise her younger twin sisters practically from birth, and when the tunnel caves in around them, her sisters are her first priority. Every decision she makes is to keep them safe--she has to be very careful and wait out the drama of the tunnel until the rescue team arrives.
At the same time, Emily is very much a teenage girl. A slightly older boy, Chris, survives the cave-in as well, and much to Emily's consternation...he's a flirt! Emily, a responsible pseudo-mother and long-time math nerd, doesn't know what to do with him. But she's just reckless enough to give him a shot. Putting her caution aside, Emily is able to trust and rely on Chris as secrets unfold about what brought the tunnel down in the first place. In the end, it's this ability to be reckless--not to be cautious or responsible--that ensures their survival.
Tell us about the cover/s and how it/they came about.
For the cover I hired the very talented artist Alexandra Hemrick. I knew I wanted a close up on Emily, the main character, during the climax of the novel when she's racing to save her sisters. The cover had to convey that they were in the tunnel, as well as the drama and the determination of the main character. I love how it turned out!
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
On the one hand, I think they are a little bit superfluous--it's a book for reading, so why do you need a video? On the other hand, I really really want to do one! They're a great way to capture the tone and drama of the novel, and to capture a reader's eye. I'm still debating about whether I'll do one for Trapped!
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad?
Every single one--so all you readers out there, remember it's important to submit reviews! Reviewers are great at highlighting the major A+ characteristics of your novel. I always get good feedback for my plot, dialogue, and how well readers can relate to the emotional experience of my characters. They also point out the rough spots, like when a character doesn't ring quite true. This is very important feedback that you can learn from for your next novel.
Imagine your main character dies on page one, everything else remains the same, describe the new plot to your book.
Haha just this question made me sad! If Emily had died in the cave-in and everyone else survived, I think the book would still turn out the same way. Chris, the lead boy, would step in and look after her younger sisters while they're trapped--he's just that kind of guy. The bad antagonists would still have their plots, but they would never be discovered. The characters who survived the cave-in would still get out alive--but neither love nor justice would be served.
Driving home from a high school math competition, the last thing Emily expected was to get trapped in a caved-in tunnel. Yet when the dust settles, she soon finds there’s even more going on than a math nerd could have calculated. Only a few other cars survived the cave-in, leaving her trapped with a team of plumbers, a cranky old man, a Governor, and a family of five. An older boy named Chris also managed to survive the cave-in...but his bright blue eyes seem to be watching everyone just a little too closely.
As the hours tick by and the water runs out, the survivors struggle to wait for the rescue team. But Emily had seen something just before the tunnel collapsed, something that makes her realize that this cave-in was no accident. She is trapped with the killer of hundreds of innocent people–with nearly a mile of solid rock blocking every exit.