Melody Fitzpatrick on Operation Josh Taylor

Melody Fitzpatrick on Operation Josh Taylor

Posted on October 14 by Melody Fitzpatrick in Interview
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Tell us about your work:

Operation Josh Taylor is the first book in the Hannah Smart series.

Thirteen-year-old Hannah Smart is a teenager with big dreams, although she doesn’t quite know it yet.  It takes wanting something desperately, in this case, tickets to heartthrob, Josh Taylor’s upcoming concert, to push her to find out what she’s really made of.

Suddenly thrust into a world of possibilities, Hannah sets out on a journey of ups and downs with one clear goal in mind. Unfortunately, in her enthusiasm to “get the job done” she tends to veer off the path … a lot.  But thanks to Hannah’s no-holds-barred attitude, she launches herself over the hurdles, and with the help of her genius best friend, Rachel, she finally comes up with a plan that will guarantee success!

Little does she know, there are bigger things in the works far beyond her control, that just may crush her dreams completely …

 

How did you come up with your work?

When my daughter, Erin, now in grade twelve, was in elementary, she was consumed with Hilary Duff — I mean, completely and utterly obsessed! When Hilary announced she was coming to Halifax on a concert tour, it was like Erin had won the lottery.  Our plan was to snag “the best seats ever” but instead, we “snagged” floor seats. We were packed in like sardines, with a dismally rotten view of the stage. Even still, we made the best of it. I mean, it was far better than the alternative.

This got me thinking.  How would Erin have reacted if we hadn’t gotten tickets, or what if I suddenly decided she was spoiled (because she was) and needed to learn the value of money (which she did), and that she, with no cash in her bank account, would have to pay for her ticket herself?  I pictured her absorbing the news …

First would come denial — You can’t be serious, Mom.

Then anger — YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS, MOM!

And finally, bargaining- You can’t be serious, Mom? I mean really, you’re just kidding right? Come on, tell me the truth. Mom! I mean it. Please. I really mean it! Pleeeeeeeease!

At the risk of sounding like a horrible mother, I couldn’t help but laugh, thinking this would be a great starting point for a fun story.  And so Operation Josh Taylor was born.

 

How did you come up with the title?

When I first sent Dundurn the manuscript for review, it was called Chronicles of Hannah Smart, a Teenage Businesswoman.  While I was waiting for a response from them, I asked Tom Cleary, VP and grade five teacher at Sir Charles Tupper Elementary in Halifax, to give the novel a test run with his students.  The overwhelming consensus was that they loved the book, but hated the title saying it was long and boring and it was certainly not about Narnia, so what was with the “Chronicles”?  The class gave me lots of suggestions, the best one I used: Hannah Smart, Operation Josh Taylor … Thanks Rachel!

 

What is your new project?

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At the end of book one, I left people hanging.  I realized Hannah needed a new adventure that would take her life to the next level.  Because I’ve recently rediscovered a love of skiing, I thought it might be exciting to throw Hannah into a skiing adventure, knowing that I could have lots of fun with it.   Of course Hannah will terrified by the entire idea, at least at first.  Admittedly, I enjoy making Hannah suffer because it’s so much fun watching her fall down and then somehow find a way to pick herself back up.  The whole endevour helps her grow and bloom into a wiser, kinder and even more amazing kid.

Right now, I’m writing Hannah Smart, In Over Her Head.  It’s a high seas adventure where Hannah meets her biggest challenge yet, searching for sunken treasure on the open sea.  The fact that she fears the ocean, and would rather be anywhere but on a boat, will not be her biggest challenge … Like always, someone’s got it in for her. This time Hannah faces off against the most devious rival of them all.

Melody Fitzpatrick

Posted by Dundurn Guest on January 20, 2015

Melody Fitzpatrick

Melody Fitzpatrick is the author of the Hannah Smart series. When she’s not busy dreaming up stories, she is an educational program assistant in the public school system, helping kids discover their amazing inner awesomeness. Melody lives in Bedford, Nova Scotia.