Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Chasing Secrets Blog Tour

About the Book:
Newbery Honor–winning author Gennifer Choldenko deftly combines humor, tragedy, fascinating historical detail, and a medical mystery in this exuberant new novel.

San Francisco, 1900. The Gilded Age. A fantastic time to be alive for lots of people . . . but not thirteen-year-old Lizzie Kennedy, stuck at Miss Barstow’s snobby school for girls. Lizzie’s secret passion is science, an unsuitable subject for finishing-school girls. Lizzie lives to go on house calls with her physician father. On those visits to his patients, she discovers a hidden dark side of the city—a side that’s full of secrets, rats, and rumors of the plague.

The newspapers, her powerful uncle, and her beloved papa all deny that the plague has reached San Francisco. So why is the heart of the city under quarantine? Why are angry mobs trying to burn Chinatown to the ground? Why is Noah, the Chinese cook’s son, suddenly making Lizzie question everything she has known to be true? Ignoring the rules of race and class, Lizzie and Noah must put the pieces together in a heart-stopping race to save the people they love.

Gennifer joins us to talk about historical times periods, research, and great books.

If you could go back in time to any historical period, where would you choose to go?
I love the Roaring Twenties, so of course I’d love to go back there. I’d like to have been one of FDR and Eleanor’s children. I wish I could have been Mary Todd Lincoln’s best friend. And I’m dying to know what it might have been like to be twelve in ancient Egypt.

        What’s the best part about researching a new book?
       There are so many best parts it’s difficult to choose. Sometimes I’m sure I’ve found this great cache—an old book, a historic tour, an expert to interview—and I’m vibrating with excitement about what I’m about to find. And then I get my hands on the book, or take the tour, or interview the person and . . . nothing. Not nothing, nothing. I always find something or other. But nowhere near what I’d expected. Other times, I’ll be scrounging around in the least likely of places and all of a sudden I open this book or archive file and it’s like Christmas, Easter, my birthday, Hanukkah and Halloween all in one. What a thrill to find juicy information!

       Would you like to go to a finishing school?
       Absolutely. My mother was a very unusual person and a born contrarian. She did not know the proper way to do anything. And if she did know, she went out of her way to do the opposite. As a result, I was left to my own devices when it came to decorum. I would really like to know all the rules so I could decide for myself what I want to follow and what I don’t. That said, though, I think a year of finishing school would be all I could take. After that, I’d want to go to a real school.

Do you have a secret passion for a certain subject, like Lizzie?
Every day I discover new secret passions. I wish I could have been a doctor. I’d love to be a psychiatrist. I’d like to be the CEO of a small company. I think I’d be a great judge. Reading gives me the chance to get a glimpse of other people’s lives. Writing allows me to experience being that person. One lifetime is not nearly enough.

What’s the last book you read that you would recommend to everyone?
The last middle-grade novel: Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead. The last adult novel I’d give a thumbs-up: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The last nonfiction book: Empire of Deception by Dean Jobb.
Sounds Great Right?
Win your own copy (US only please)

1 comment:

jpetroroy said...

I'd love to live in Victorian England.