Date Published: 8/6/2013
16-year-old Zippy Green never meant to fall in love with a girl, but when she does, her ultra-conservative father tries to send her to anti-gay camp. At the Kansas City airport, however, she hides inside a giant suitcase and sneaks onto an airplane headed not to the camp, but to Seattle, where her online love Mira lives. Halfway through the flight, the plane barrels out of control and crashes into the ground, knocking her unconscious.
When Zippy awakens, she finds that most of the passengers have vanished. She doesn’t know what’s happened, but she’s determined to find out. She begins a quest on foot toward Seattle, and along the way, she meets a teenager with a concussion , a homeless man with a heart condition, a child without a shred of bravery, and a terrier named Judy. Together the group discovers that more than two-thirds of the world's population has mysteriously disappeared. But that's only the beginning...
All Zippy wants is to find her Mira, but before she can she has to contend with two outside forces. The first is her homophobic father, who does everything in his power to keep her from the girl she loves. And the second is extinct creatures of all shapes and sizes, including living, breathing dinosaurs, which have replaced the missing population.
Where did you get the idea for the novel?
It was important to me to write a young adult fantasy novel with a gay protagonist. There are plenty of gay young adult "issue" books, but I wanted to write a story that would normally have a heterosexual lead, and put in a lesbian instead. I loved the idea of a girl getting away from her homophobic father by zipping herself into a suitcase and boarding a plane headed toward her one true love. I also had been wanting to write a dinosaur adventure book for a few years, and ultimately decided to blend these two ideas into the same book.
Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?
I came up with the title, after many weeks of searching my brain for what I could call this thing. Once Upon a Time in Topeka was the first title, and then I was calling it Enraptured for awhile. Over the Rainbow just seemed to make the most sense, given the Wizard of Oz connection.
Why did you pick this genre? What do you like about it?
I have been writing Young Adult fiction ever since my second book, but I've written a few different kinds of genres under the YA umbrella. My Happy Birthday to Me books are paranormal romance, my Grisly High books are teen horror, and Over the Rainbow is a gay young adult fantasy. I like to write about teenagers but keep things fresh with different kinds of genres. Right now I'm sticking to gay young adult contemporary, which is the genre for my next three books I'm in various stages on.
Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
The most exciting thing to ever happen to me was seeing my book Happy Birthday to Me on the shelf of a local Reno indie bookstore, next to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. Rowe is very close to Rowling, so I like the idea that years down the road, my books and her books will be right next to each other on various shelves! (Of course there's that Rainbow Rowell, who might ruin the whole thing! Haha.)
What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
I am currently reading Rainbow Road, by Alex Sanchez, and House of Sand and Fog, by Andre Dubas III. I like to read young adult fiction and adult literary fiction concurrently.
What is your writing process?
I usually write in the morning, whenever possible, and write 2,000+ words a day in a first draft, and revise 8-10 pages a day when I'm working on subsequent drafts. Sometimes, when I'm really crazy, I try to work on the first draft of one project and work on a revision of another one, in the same day.
At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say?
I have yet to do a book signing, but I would love to write a note in each book. I sign my name for Goodreads Giveaway books, and I always accompany my name with a note of some kind. Mostly I just say how thankful I am for the support, and that I hope the reader will take a look at more of my books!
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
I went to film school at Loyola Marymount University from 2003 to 2007, and held various odd jobs in the entertainment industry, like Production Assistant for a reality television show, and Casting Associate for a feature film casting director.
How do you react to a bad review?
At this point I've learned that any review is better than no review. Very few people reviewed my Grisly High trilogy, and the sales suffered because of it. I of course want a positive review every time out, but I'll take both the positive and the negative. As long as readers are talking about my work, I'm happy.
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I sold my first book, Slate, on Amazon in March 2011, and to celebrate, I opened a 1998 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon I had been saving for many years, and enjoyed it with a friend of mine from L.A. It was a beautiful evening!
Brian Rowe is a writing fiend, book devotee, film fanatic, and constant dreamer. He's written nine novels, dozens of short stories, five feature-length screenplays, and hundreds of film articles and essays. His fiction has appeared in Dreamspinner Press, Mobius Magazine, and Wilde Oats Literary Journal. He is one half of the YA book blog Story Carnivores, where he reviews the latest in books and film. He is currently pursuing his MA in English at the University of Nevada, Reno, and is hard at work on his first New Adult novel, which will be released in November 2013.