Note: My answers may contain some spoilers for the book—please don’t read this if you haven’t finished the book!
How did you get the idea for this book?
It was because of reading a book about genocide while I was staying at a Disney hotel. (Probably not a very common experience.) The book told of a true story of people killing each other over what seemed to me to be almost imperceptible differences; meanwhile, in my life, every time I turned around one of the hotel workers was telling me—seemingly with utter sincerity--“Have a magical day!” The contrast between the two realities was so stark. But the book I was reading—Strength in What Remains, by Tracy Kidder—wasn’t just about humans treating one another horribly; it was also about one man’s decision about how to live his life afterward. (What he did was amazing; Strength in What Remains is an amazing book. Though it’s more for adults and teens than for younger kids.) I started thinking about how tempting it is to keep horrible facts away from kids; it’s tempting to keep innocent little kids both innocent and ignorant, and only show them a Disney-fied, “Isn’t the world magical?” view of life. Kids in the real world see pretty quickly that everything isn’t always perfect. But what if kids were taken away from their normal world, and raised in circumstances that were as ideal as possible? What would they gain—and lose--if that happened?
Are the Freds good guys or bad guys?
I think readers need to finish the whole series before they make up their minds about that.
How many books are there in the series?
There will be a total of three: CHILDREN OF REFUGE is the second book; CHILDREN OF JUBILEE, the third, will come out in September of 2018.