A heist so monumental, it may cost them everything... When Reed Paine is sent to a secret detention school for teens whose parents are branded enemies of the state, he doesn’t expect to find friendship – especially after coming face to face with Riley Paca, a girl who has every reason to hate him. But when Reed, Riley and a few others start reading the old books they find in tunnels under the school, they begin to question what they are taught about the last days of America and the government that has risen in its place. Then the government decides to sell the Liberty Bell and Reed and his friends risk everything to steal it – to take back their history and the liberty that has been stolen from them.
Interview with Jennifer Froelich, author of STEALING LIBERTY:
Jennifer, will you describe your book in 3 words?
Monumental Future Heist.
If you could be any character from one of your books who would it be?
Xoey from STEALING LIBERTY. I love her quiet strength and gentle convictions. She does so much good for others, but doesn’t make a big deal about it. But she’s also flawed and angry underneath, and I can relate to that. I just think she handles it all so much better than I would.
What is your greatest fear about being an author?
That readers won’t connect with what I’m trying to say. Coming up with a story and then crafting it into a novel takes so much time and thought and energy and passion – if the result of all of that was a big fat “No, we hate it” that would be devastating.
Would the 10 year-old version of yourself kick your butt or praise you for what you've accomplished in life?
I got a typewriter for my tenth birthday, so I’m pretty sure she would be thrilled that I’m writing novels, but she would also be thoroughly disappointed that my success hasn’t translated into a mansion with servants and a pool with a water slide.
What do you do when you finish your book and turn it in to the editor?
Go to PF Chang’s with my family and then contemplate the impossibility of ever writing anything again.
What is your favorite Genre and why?
Suspense. I have always loved puzzles. Trying to follow the clues and figuring out how they fit together to create a complete picture is exhilarating.
What is one thing that would surprise us about you?
I went to seven high schools.
Was there an author who inspired you to write?
So many, but I think I was most heavily influenced by M.M. Kaye and Mary Higgins Clark.
How did you come up with the characters in your books?
I wanted lots of different kinds of people to identify with my ensemble cast in STEALING LIBERTY, so I used something called “Multiple Intelligence Theory” to develop my characters. MI Theory says people can be intelligent in eight areas: language, interpersonal communication, intrapersonal communication, math/science/tech, spatial skills, kinesthetics, nature and music. All of us have intelligences in more than one of these areas, but not usually all of them. I made sure my characters covered all eight areas. Now my favorite thing to ask readers is “which character was your favorite?” To my delight, I’m getting lots of different answers and hearing that my characters feel very real and not like “characters” at all.
Do you prefer to write alone or do you like to collaborate with other authors?
I prefer to write alone, but I rely heavily on my alpha and beta readers (my two sisters and my daughter) to give me input a few chapters at a time.
Everyone uses computers, tablets, phones and no one uses handwritten form or typewriters, what do you prefer to use?
I use my laptop, but I also keep notes in journals and on notecards. I even created what we called my “psycho wall” for Stealing Liberty, with maps and timelines and character sketches and flags and photos, all with yarn connecting ideas. It covered the entire wall in my writing loft and was probably a bit unsettling for visitors.
Is there a ritual you do every time before you begin your book?
Not really. My ideas are typically marinating for several years before I start writing, so I have journals filled with cryptic (and usually overly-dramatic) scenes and notes. Putting all of that in order is necessary, but only takes on ritualistic qualities when I decide to burn the lot of it and start over.
Thanks for taking some time with us today Jennifer!
Here's a little bit more about her, how to grab this fantastic book, and connect with her on social media:
Jennifer Froelich published her debut novel, Dream of Me, in late 2011, which reviewers praised as "well-orchestrated with outstanding imagery." Her second novel, A Place Between Breaths, published in 2014, was called "a roller-coaster ride with enough twists and turns to keep everyone interested" and won an Honorable Mention in Writer's Digest's 23rd Annual Self Published Book competition. Jennifer is a frequent contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul. A graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University, Jennifer worked for many years as a freelance editor and writer before publishing her own work. She lives in beautiful Idaho with her husband, two teenage kids, and a rescue cat named Katniss.
An excerpt from STEALING LIBERTY:
Reed is frowning. Something brews behind his eyes. “You said the Bell will travel by freight train?”
“From Old Philly to the Western Sand? Any chance it will pass on these tracks?”
Sam shrugs and bends over his tablet, tapping and swiping with sure fingers. Finally he raises his eyes. “It’s possible. There are a couple routes from Philadelphia to San Francisco still passable since the Yellowstone landslide, and this one hasn’t been bombed by rebels. Yet.”
Reed starts pacing. “Is there a way to hack the transportation system? To make sure it will pass the school?”
“Probably,” Sam says.
“Even if we do, the Bell will be crated and traveling by pretty fast,” Paisley says. “Not much to see.”
Reed stops pacing and his eyes lock with mine.
My heart turns over. I somehow know what he’s thinking and, for the first time, the hole in my heart feels like it might heal.
“I don’t want to see it,” he says. “I want to steal it.”
Purchase a copy of STEALING LIBERTY for only $4.99!
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