Interview: Maddy Lederman
1. Your main character, Edna, is 13 years old. How challenging was it to channel a teenager while writing this book?
I remember that time of my life vividly, and I'm still a kid at heart, so it was more fun than challenging.
2. Edna moves in with her grandparents who live in the middle of nowhere. Have you ever lived in or visited a similar place?
Yes, I've spent a lot of time in the Mojave Desert where Edna In The Desert takes place, and I had to interview someone who lived very remotely once when I was writing for a regional magazine. There was no cell phone service for miles, and they had no Internet. I wondered how a modern, city kid could stand it because most of my friends' kids are permanently attached to their phones!
3. What sort of relationship does Edna have with her grandparents?
At the beginning of the book, she has no relationship at all with them. If anything, she dislikes them because she doesn't understand them and, frankly, she thinks they're weird. When I started to write this story, it was about a spoiled girl getting to know her grandmother who has always been strange and distant. But in a broader sense, I wanted to explore how the gap between generations is widening with the advancement of technology. Young people now are growing up in such a different world than their grandparents did.
4. Edna has to give up her cell, Internet, and television. Which of these items would be the hardest for you to give up?
Wow, all three would be hard! I think Internet would be the hardest because I do so many things online. And if I couldn't call or text people on my cell, at least I could email them!
5. Johnny is Edna's love interest. What is it about him that attracts Edna?
Edna meets Johnny under rather extraordinary circumstances. That situation combined with his looks are the things that initially spark Edna's attraction, but as the story progresses, she's attracted to who he is: his sense of honor, his thoughtfulness, and how he's different than anyone else she knows. Also, without Twitter, Facebook or any social media, she gets to know him in live-in-person. Her feelings develop more deeply. She has to make the most of every minute she's with him, because that's all there is!
6. What is something you hope readers will take away from this story?
I hope readers will be transported by it and think about being more present when they spend time with their families and people they love.
7. If you could change lives with one of your characters, who would it be?
I would choose Edna. After the summer in which the book takes place, she has a lot of potential!
8. What do you do when you're not writing?
I work in the art department for films and TV shows. It's hard work, but fun, and there's a lot of storytelling in it.
9. What are you working on next?
I'm working on a sequel to Edna In The Desert, and I have several other book ideas, stay tuned!
10. Where can our readers find Edna In The Desert?
Edna In The Desert
is available at:
Electio Publishing (Paperback orders come with a free ebook!)
The Community Bookstore in Brooklyn, NY.
Edna is a precocious troublemaker wreaking havoc at her Beverly Hills school. Her therapist advocates medication, but her parents come up with an alternative cure: Edna will spend the summer in the desert with her grandparents. Their remote cabin is cut off from cell phone service, Internet and television. Edna’s determined to rebel until she meets an older local boy and falls in love for the first time. How can she get to know him from the edge of nowhere?
Keep up with Maddy here:
Want a chance to read this book for free? There's a copy of Edna in the Desert up for grabs on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18592524-edna-in-the-desert