The girls in my book club decided to read Freefall by Mindi Scott as our most recent read. Once the decision was made, I sent Mindi a message via Twitter asking if she’d be willing to participate in a Q & A with my book club. She was incredibly wonderful and agreed to have us send her some questions for her to answer 🙂 During our meeting to discuss Freefall we went down to the computer lab to type the questions- they went crazy! The girls came up with around 30 questions, and I sent them all (I told Mindi we didn’t expect her to answer all of them). She answered almost EVERY question- how cool is that?! Because there was so much text, and many of the questions revolved around writing (I have many future authors-yay!), I’m only posting the questions and answers dealing with Freefall. Thank you, Mindi, for being completely amazing and participating with us!!
- Did you get close to your characters? If so, how did you get into their mentalities to make them as believable and real as they are? While I was writing this book, I spent the majority of every day thinking about Seth and trying to work out scenes, and there were even nights (many of them) when I would dream from his point of view. It became very easy to see the world through a Seth filter. I didn’t have to wonder how he’d feel or what he’d think about something; I just intuitively knew. I think that is probably how the other characters came to life as well. I was really focused on Seth’s.
- Did you base your characters and story off real life experiences or people you know? The main thing that was real was the idea of Kendall’s secret boyfriend. It was very, very, very, very loosely based on something I experienced.
Also, I remember after high school, hearing about a guy who took it really hard when he found his best friend’s body. The circumstances there were totally different than what happened in the book, but I did use some of what I imagined he went through when I was writing Seth.
- How did you choose the names for the characters? The first thing I do when I start any new project is write the alphabet down a page. As I come up with names, I fill them in next to the corresponding letter and try not to repeat letters if I can help it. I also try to make sure the names are varied so that there can’t ever be even a moment of confusion about whom my narrator is referring. Here are few of the names from Freefall and where they came from:
- Seth McCoy: A band my husband was in used to play at a tavern in Olympia, Washington, called McCoys. Also, I knew a bass player named Sean McCoy (formerly of the band, Bacchus) and I thought it was the perfect name for this character. It seemed kind of weird to name my character after an acquaintance, so I went with Seth instead; it is the same number of characters and starts with the same first letter.
- Daniel Jackson: His drink of choice is Jack Daniels. So I reversed it. (Yes, really.)
- Rosetta Vaughn: I wanted her name to be something flowery and feminine. I also wanted it to be kind of uncommon. Rosetta is the heroine in The Captive, the first Victoria Holt novel I ever read. So, like my Rosetta tells Seth, her name came from a romance novel. Her last name is Vaughn because I was watching a lot of Alias at the time and Sydney’s love interest was Michael Vaughn.
- Kendall Eckman. Her name was originally going to be Kendra. I don’t remember why. I changed it because I didn’t want both of the main girls’ names to end with the letter A.
- Xander Yates. There is a character named Xander on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In one episode, Buffy and her friends all temporarily lose their memories due to a spell. Xander pulls out his license and discovers that he’s Alexander. One of the other characters then calls him “Alex.” I liked the idea of my Xander getting to try out Alex for IC class, so I went with it. (Plus, the letter “X” was available.)
- Taku Endo. He’s named for another bass player I know (from The Valley).
- Carr Goodwin. He always felt like a Carson to me, but I didn’t want to have “-son” since some of the characters refer to Daniel Jackson by his last name only. Goodwin was chosen because of Woody Goodman, a character on season 2 of Veronica Mars. I don’t know now if I got mixed up and thought Woody’s last name actually was Goodwin or if used Goodwin because I liked it better.
- Where did you get the idea for IC class? In college, I took an Interpersonal Communications class. Even though it bored me at the time, it really did stick with me and change the way I communicate. The instructor gave us the opportunity to choose alternate identities for the class. She also had us keep journals and challenge ourselves to do things outside our comfort zones for class credit. The format of the class in my book, though, was just stuff I came up with when considering what I thought would make the class more interactive if I were teaching it to high school students.
- Are there any scenes cut from the story? SO MANY! I wrote at least fifteen first chapter versions, all of them vastly different from each other. I cut almost everything with Seth’s brother, who was a major, major character in the first draft. I also took out Kendall’s sister completely, who happened to be the girlfriend of Seth’s brother.
I once had a scene where Daniel stole Seth’s car and totaled it.
At one point, I had a prologue with Seth and Isaac, which took place right in the hours before Isaac died. My editor didn’t like it, which is good, because I didn’t like it either. Seeing Isaac alive and in action seemed to weaken the story considerably; it gave readers the opportunity to judge Isaac for themselves. (To me, who Isaac was isn’t the real point. What matters is what he meant to Seth and who Seth is going to be without him.)
Thank you again, Mindi, for this awesome opportunity you gave my book club. They loved it and are extremely thankful!