Note: My answers may contain some spoilers for the book—please don’t read this if you haven’t finished the book!
Why did you pick Virginia Dare as one of the “missing children of history” that you wanted to focus on in this series?
Virginia Dare was actually one of the first missing children I thought of when I got the idea for this series. People have been wondering for more than four hundred years what actually happened to her. And because so little is known about her life after the first few weeks, that left plenty of room for me to improvise with my fictional story.
Why did you include Brendan and Antonio’s stories as the fictional One Who Survives Much and Walks With Pride instead of focusing only on Virginia Dare?
The more research I did about Virginia Dare and the Roanoke Colony, the more the racism (and, for that matter, the sexism and class-ism) of that time period bothered me. It’s one thing to know, intellectually, that people were racist in the 1500s and 1600s, and that back then people with white skin did awful things to people with darker skin. It was another thing to immerse myself in reading about those injustices day after day. I had chosen Virginia Dare for my series, but it bothered me that, in one sense, you could argue that she’s famous only because she was born with white skin. I was also frustrated with the limitations of the historical record, and I started thinking that time travel would rewrite “official” history in many ways: Maybe we would discover that some of our greatest heroes were cowards and liars who just had a knack for p.r. And maybe we’d discover that people whose names are currently lost to history would rise to become our true heroes, because we could be certain of what they’d actually done. And then, from that, I began imagining Brendan’s and Antonio’s part in this story.
Why did you end the book with such a cliffhanger?
Easy answer: To make people want to read the next book, too! More involved answer: Even though it’s a little bit cruel—and I do feel bad that readers who got Sabotaged as soon as it came out had to wait a full year for the next book—I really did think that was the best way to work things. I wanted Second to have messed things up so thoroughly that it would require at least another book for Jonah and Katherine to begin straightening out time.