Thursday, April 14, 2016

Martha Freeman

Martha Freeman is the author of more than two dozen books for children including, with the collaboration of astronaut Mark Kelly, on the Astrotwins series, Astrotwins--Project Blastoff and Astrotwins--Project Rescue. From Freeman's Q & A with Deborah Kalb:

Q: How did you end up collaborating with Mark Kelly on the Astrotwins books, and what is the writing process like between you?

A: Paula Wiseman at Simon & Schuster knew me from other projects and asked me if I would be interested in the collaboration.

I have been interested in space from an early age. My dad gave me a telescope when I was very young and together we would look at the stars and planets. I am old enough to remember not only the moon landing in 1969 but (barely) the Gemini and Mercury missions of the '60s. And I remember Star Trek and Lost in Space on TV, too.

It was a forward-looking and exciting time. The astronauts were real American heroes in an uncomplicated way that seems hard to imagine now. So -- long story short -- I jumped at the chance.

As for the writing process, Mark Kelly is the brains of the operation. He provided the plot, the voice and the true-life details about his and Scott's childhood.

I did most of the word-by-word stuff -- I call it putting in the commas -- while he continually made sure the manuscript stayed true to his vision with his suggestions, revisions and corrections.

I also did a lot of research on my own. Mark is a very busy guy, and I didn't want to drive him crazy with questions about details that I could learn from other sources.

Also, by the time Mark became an astronaut in the 1990s, space technology -- especially computing power and spaceship design -- was very different than it had been in the ‘70s when the books take place.

I still have the 11 books I read for background on a shelf in my living room -- many astronaut memoirs as well as some more general science reading. And I...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue