JONATHAN AUXIER: Tell us about your book in the length of a Tweet (280 chars):
DANIEL WHEATLEY: A fourteen-year-old girl discovers a world of Scientists who can bend the basic functions of the universe--gravity, momentum, chemical compositions, magnetism--and that she's one of them.
AUXIER: What other books inspired this story?
DW: The obvious one, of course, is Harry Potter! I just love the idea of a school for kids with magical abilities and all the adventures that could happen there. Less obvious (and straying from the book category) are many of the science TV shows I grew up on. My parents were big on educational entertainment, so Bill Nye, Magic School Bus, Contact 3-2-1, and National Geography were favorites in our house. I drew on all of those in putting together Zanna's world of science.
AUXIER: Do you hide any secrets in your book that only a few people will find?
DW: Well, they wouldn't be secrets if I gave them away! I don't know if these count, but there's definitely things I've included purely for my own amusement. The riddle Pops challenges Owin with: "Can you take nine matchsticks and turn them into ten without breaking any of them?" was a real riddle that my own grandfather gave me, among many others, before family dinners when I was growing up.
AUXIER: What book in your personal library holds the most sentimental value?
DW: I have a Folio Society edition of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles that a very dear friend of mine gave me in celebration of selling The Zanna Function. They're absolutely gorgeous books, and Bradbury is my favorite writer bar none, so they definitely hold a special place in my otherwise terribly unsorted collection of secondhand books.
AUXIER: Tell me about one darling you had to kill in order to make your book better.
DW: There's a scene where Zanna crafts a weapon to defend herself out of a mercury thermometer and nitrogen in the air, and in an early draft I really got into the mechanics of how her weapon changed the derivatives of the coordinates for the nitrogen to accelerate it...of course, I thought it was very clear, but my editor had other ideas. It's much more simplified now, and that's really for the best!
AUXIER: What’s your favorite under-appreciated MG or YA novel?
DW: I'm going to be bad at this question because I'm not sure what qualifies as being under-appreciated! I remember tearing through The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series and the Kat, Incorrigible series. Basically, if you put the words "incorrigible" in your title, I will read it.
AUXIER: I love Kat ... and Incorrigible Children! You and I have very similar taste! When you sold your first book, did you buy or do anything to celebrate?
DW: I did! I went out and bought a bottle of Laphroaig--I'm a giant sucker for peaty scotches but thankfully my wallet usually keeps me in check. In this situation, however, a little splurge was warranted.
AUXIER: What is the last book that made you cry?
DW: I've been reading a lot of big humorous adventure MG recently, which is loads of fun but doesn't typically tend to tug on my heartstrings. I did tear up at Furthermore (and hope to reprise it with Whichwood real soon since that's up next on my TBR pile!)
AUXIER: Name one movie or TV show that you think is better than the book? What makes it better?
DW: I really liked the movie version of Coraline! I think what I liked the most was that they really took advantage of what movies can do to tell that story. It wasn't just an animated book but its own separate work, which made it stand out for me.
AUXIER: Can you show us your best monster face?
AUXIER: You're a natural! What’s the one question you wished I had asked?
DW: The same one Zanna gets asked--What is your Iron? Every Scientist has to pick their own Iron, which is the personal object they use for all their function manipulating. I won't spoil what object Zanna picks for herself, but mine is my coffee mug. I can't go anywhere without it!
AUXIER: Cool! Thanks for visiting The Scop!
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