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?--Marshal Zeringue
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]