1. In Rippler, several of the main characters are cross-country runners. The descriptions of running are all very visceral; were or are you a runner yourself? Are there other aspects of your life that a reader can catch glimpses of in the pages of your book?
I was never the super-serious runner that Sam is, and a couple of repeated injuries have meant I can't run anymore. I miss it! Like Sam, I grew up very close to Yosemite, and all of the detail about trees, plants, and animal life come from my own experiences in the area. Sam would have learned the names of these things because her mom loved to paint out-of-doors, especially in Yosemite. In another area, I can relate to Sam's loneliness--the moments where she feels on the outside come from truly hard times in my life.
2. The romance in Rippler is secondary to the friendship between Sam and Will. Was it a conscious decision on your behalf to avoid the 'fated love' type of romance that is so common in YA fiction these days?
I definitely made their friendship primary on purpose. I'm so tickled that you noticed! I think love can certainly have a "fated" feeling to it, but that comes much later when you realize how so many things came together that might not have come together, and it can have that feeling of having been "fated." But actually, I think it is nearly impossible to recognize "fated-ness" at the time it is happening. I mean, I think it's a pretty common experience that some guy seems so right, but then it turns out he's a total jerk after all, even though it might have felt fated at first.
3. Do you have a particular soft spot for any one of the characters in Rippler?
I really love Mickie. She's so prickly on the outside but she's made of dandelion fluff inside. Or maybe chocolate pudding. Something soft and yummy that is different from what she seems at first glance. I love how Sam gets to see the softer side of Mickie as time goes by. And I have so much admiration for Mick--she's a fighter, a survivor!
4. If you could have a special ability, what would you choose?
I would choose power over the weather. And no doubt I would make a complete mess of the eco-system, because I would make it sunny and warm in western Oregon all the time.
5. And, the most important question of all: when can we expect the next Ripple novel?
Tee hee! I'm hard at work. My editor keeps making me fix things so that they will be better. Grrrr! (Just kidding!) I think we're looking at early to mid September at the moment. *crosses fingers/knocks on wood*
Thank you very much to Cidney Swanson for allowing us a deeper insight into her work. I, for one, am looking forward to September!
You might also like to check out Cidney's blog, Facebook or Twitter.
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Rippler, by Cidney Swanson