Ingrid Jonach’s upcoming YA novel, When the World was Flat (and we were in love), will be out on August 8th from Strange Chemistry, and Ingrid stopped by today as part of her Around the World in 80 Days Blog Tour to talk about the new book, and much more, so please welcome her to the blog!
Also, Ingrid is hosting a pretty awesome giveaway, so be sure to check out the details at the bottom of the post!
Hmmm…an SF love story based on Einstein’s theories…I’m in! Will you tell us more about your upcoming novel, When the World was Flat (and we were in love), and what inspired you to write it?
When the World was Flat (and we were in love) is my debut young adult novel, which is told from the perspective of sixteen year old Lillie Hart, who is completely confused by her feelings towards the new arrival in her small town – Tom Windsor-Smith. As she starts to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.
When she at last learns the truth about their connection, she discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.
It was heavily inspired by Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I just adore the love/hate relationship between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. But then I decided to include some fringe science and the result was a sci fi romance novel!
Will you tell us more about yourself and your background? Have you always hoped to become a writer?
I was born and bred in Australia and currently live in its capital city, Canberra. My family moved around a lot when I was growing up and by the time I had finished high school I had lived in nine houses and attended eight schools! I was also reasonably well-traveled – with my father and sister living in the US and family in Austria.
I think our nomadic lifestyle drew me to reading and writing. It was able to take familiar friends with me wherever we went. I wrote my first full manuscript (for children) at the age of thirteen. It was a fantasy about a magical Ferris Wheel. I would love to read it again, but alas I am not sure where it is (am hoping my mother has it stored it away in a drawer).
When the World was Flat isn’t your first novel, but it’s your first for teens, and also the first with an SF angle.
What did you enjoy most about writing it?
I really enjoyed researching the science behind my science fiction. It is very much fringe science. And I am definitely not claiming to be a physicist! I liked developing new theories about everyday occurrences like déjà vu and forgetfulness.
I also loved researching Albert Einstein. His life was extremely interesting! I also read a beautiful book called Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, which were short vignettes based on his theories.
What are some of your biggest literary influences?
My biggest literary influence across the years has been Victor Kelleher, whose books I devoured growing up – even though many were written before I was born. My favorite Victor Kelleher books include his fantasy novels Brother Night, Master of the Grove, Forbidden Paths of Thaul and Del-Del; his science fiction novels Taronga, Parkland, Earthsong and Fire Dancer; as well as his adult crime novel Storyman.
In fact, many of the books I loved growing up were from before I was born. For example, In the Keep of Time by Margaret J. Anderson, Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink, Well Met by Witchlight by Nina Beachcroft and anything by Enid Blyton.
Other authors who have influenced my writing include Jane Austen, Roald Dahl, John Marsden, and more recently Lauren Child, Sonya Hartnett, Sarah Dessen and Suzanne Collins.
What do you like to see in a good book?
I particularly love character-driven books, although there does need to be a plot! I find the characters are more three-dimensional in this type of narrative. I also like flawed heroes and sympathetic villains for this reason. Yes, part of me was barracking for Lord Voldemort and I never turned against Snape (and before you say it, I took the test for Pottermore and came up in Ravenclaw, not Slytherin!).
Is there anything that will make you put a book down, unfinished?
I am an eternal optimist, so I keep reading regardless. I just wish and want and wait until the last page and then lament the waste of my time. My pet peeve though is a bland protagonist, because I cannot connect with them. They have to have a backstory.
What do you hope readers will take away from When the Word was Flat?
I really want readers to keep thinking about the story after they put it down. When the World was Flat (and we were in love) contains a lot of theories about how the world works, including new explanations for everyday occurrences such as déjà vu and dreams. At the very least, I hope they walk away from the book with a crush on Tom 🙂
On a more personal note, when you’re not at work on your next project, how do you like to spend your free time?
I recently came to the realization during an interview for an upcoming blog post that I currently have no hobbies, which really comes down to a lack of time rather than inclination. Most of my time is gobbled up by work, writing and reading.
I am an activityaholic though and I can often chew up a few spare hours trying my hand at knitting or tap dancing and even songwriting. I spent a good few months trying to learn the guitar and then recording songs to play to my closest friends and family (much to their amusement!).
I do spend a lot of spare time learning and practicing German. I have always wanted to be able to converse fluently with my family in Austria.
You have dual citizenships in Australia and Austria! How did that come about?
I am a bit of a mixed bag nationality-wise. I was born in Australia, but my father is Austrian. He lives in America though. I also have a sister in America. It is quite funny when we are traveling together and are asked about our three different accents. There are some funny looks when we try to explain that we are a mix of Australian, Austrian and American, but are the same family!
If someone were to visit you in each place for the first time, where would you take them?
In Australia, I would show them around the national institutions in Canberra, e.g. Parliament House, Australian War Memorial, National Museum of Australia, etc. I would suggest coming in autumn, when the sky is filled with hot air balloons!
In Austria, I would take them to Villach, which is the hometown of a lot of my extended family.
In America, I would take them to Disneyland, because I am obsessed with Disney. I have been to Disneyland LA, Disneyworld Florida, Euro Disney, Tokyo Disney and on a Disney cruise to their private island in the Bahamas called Castaway Cay.
What’s next for you, this year and beyond?
I am really looking forward to finding out what readers think of When the World was Flat (and we were in love). I would also love to see it translated into other languages, particularly German. I am currently finalizing what I hope will be my next book, as well as beavering away on two other manuscripts (one of which is a potential sequel to When the World was Flat (and we were in love), even though it works as a standalone).
Enter below for your chance to win one of two awesome prize packages as part of the Around the World in 80 Days Blog Tour for When the World was Flat (and we were in love) by Ingrid Jonach.
There will be two winners worldwide. Each prize package includes:
• a signed copy of When the World was Flat (and we were in love)
• a pair of silver plated key-shaped earrings in a When the World was Flat (and we were in love) gift box
• a When the World was Flat (and we were in love) bookmark.
About When the World was Flat (and we were in love):
Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.
When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.
But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.
When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.
An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.
About Ingrid Jonach:
Ingrid Jonach writes books for children and young adults, including the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France published by Pan Macmillan, and When the World was Flat (and we were in love) published by Strange Chemistry.
Since graduating from university with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing (Hons) in 2005, Ingrid has worked as a journalist and in public relations, as well as for the Australian Government.
Ingrid loves to promote reading and writing, and has been a guest speaker at a number of schools and literary festivals across Australia, where she lives with her husband Craig and their pug dog Mooshi.
Despite her best efforts, neither Craig nor Mooshi read fiction.
Find out more at www.ingridjonach.com