In Shadow, fourteen-year-old Preston Craft is organizing a film festival for his school’s film club. When one of the films goes missing two days before the festival begins, Preston is convinced it was stolen and is determined to get it back. The only indication of the theft is a suspicious shadow that Preston noticed right before he discovered the film was gone—but Preston is legally blind and no one quite believes him. However, not unlike the gritty private eyes in the classic black-and-white films he adores, Preston refuses to give up. Can he solve the mystery based on such a shady clue?
How do you usually begin writing your stories?
For me, the character usually comes first. I like to get to know who I am writing about, and then I figure out the plot once I’ve spent a bit of time in the character’s world.
What planning or research did you do for your book?
Preston has a visual impairment, so that meant doing a lot of research to make sure I understood the varied ways people can be visually impaired, and how Preston’s impairment affected the ways he interacted with his surroundings.
Do you have any advice you would give to an aspiring writer?
Never be afraid to write the story you want to tell. Whether your story is similar or totally different to what you’ve seen before, you bring something unique by writing it yourself.
What’s the most prized book on your bookshelf?
A custom, movie replica version of The Neverending Story. I love the book (and the movie), and having a beautiful edition reminds me of its magic every time I see it on the shelf!
What are your favorite ways to procrastinate? Why?
When I need a break from writing, I love watching movies with my family. But when I’m in a writing mood (and just can’t buckle down), I love looking at bookish crafts, like quote bookmarks and story-themed candles. Book-inspired merchandise helps to bring the tales to life, and actually doing some of the crafts can be a lot of fun.
What would your hero name and special power be?
My favoritism heroine is Batgirl because she not only fights crime, she is also a librarian. I’d love to take after her – call myself the Enlightener and have a super ability to research fast and pick up random skills learned through reading!
Do you keep books after you’ve read them, or give them away? Do you borrow books from your local library?
I love collecting books, so I definitely tend to keep books after I’ve read them. But I’m also a librarian, so of course I borrow books, too!
Who would you want to play your protagonist in a movie, and why?
Probably Finn Wolfhard! He’s such a great actor, and since Preston loves horror movies, it’d be fun to have an actor well-versed in the genre playing the part.
What types of conversations do you hope will come out of your book?
I hope readers will talk about disability—asking questions about the things they don’t know/understand, and discussing how disabilities are in many ways simply other ways of being, with their own sets of challenges and opportunities.
Shadow is available now!