You can learn more about the world inside The Glass Sentence here.
We were lucky enough to steal some of S. E. Grove's time on the road for an interview as she begins traveling for her debut release of The Glass Sentence. If you've read my review, then you know how fabulous I think this middle grade book is--a book that can be enjoyed by middle readers and adults alike! Read my review here if you haven't already and enjoy the interview!
In one sentence or a few words, what is The Glass Sentence all about?
Maps, history, and adventure! Or, in sentence form: The Glass Sentence is about two young adventurers in a world where places are all in different time periods.
Fans of what other books would also enjoy The Glass Sentence?
I hope fans of fantasy and historical fiction will enjoy this book. Maybe some Harry Potter readers, maybe some Golden Compass readers. Two big inspirations for me are Ursula LeGuin and Madeleine L’Engle, so I hope readers who like their books will also like this one.
Was there any research involved in The Glass Sentence, or is it purely fictional?
There was a fair amount of research involved, since I wanted to make each “Age” fictional but plausible. So, for example, New Occident is a version of the United States that exists ninety years after the “Great Disruption” – the event that separates places from their fixed point in time. I needed to figure out what would and wouldn’t exist in this world if history had unfolded differently. Would people be able to trade for coffee and sugar? (Yes.) Where would it come from? (The United Indies!) Would light bulbs and photography exist? (No, it turns out!) How would people think differently, how would politics be different, and what would religion and the arts look like? These were all questions I answered through a combination of invention and research.
How do you think your novel differs or stands out from other middle grade books currently on the market?
I think that if this book is different it might be because I am mostly inspired by an earlier generation of writers, as I mentioned before. So this book is sort of drifting loose from time itself! That makes it either distinct in a good way or rather out of fashion, depending on your point of view.
Mapmakers in this story are like no other I've read. They kick butt! Why did you decide to make cartology such an important part of the story? What was the inspiration behind your version?
I’m so glad you think so! The inspiration for me with mapping is really how maps figure in history. Our view of maps these days is fairly limited: we see them as navigational tools, most often for car travel. But maps in different places and times do very different things. They are really arguments about the way the world looks. I wanted to present this idea to readers in a way that would feel exciting and real. My greatest hope for this book would be for it to make history (and mapping, as a part of history) cool!
Your story consists of past, present, future and fantasy. What genre would you put it under?
Hm. That’s a difficult question. Historical fantasy? I’ve heard some people say it even has dystopian elements, though I’m not sure about that. I see it as historical and fantastical, so somewhere in between those two genres.
What was the most fun part of your novel to write?
For me the most fun was creating these places – Ages – and imagining how they would work. To a great degree, the book emerges from a wish (don’t we all have it?) to travel to different time periods, and so I really enjoyed creating those worlds and envisioning them in detail.
Will The Glass Sentence become a trilogy or series?
Yes! There are two more books forthcoming, and the next one will be out next summer. It’s called “The Golden Specific.” Theo and Sophia are part of the story, of course, but there are plenty of new characters, too.
I think your book would appeal to boys and girls of many ages. Do you think your book would make a good YA crossover?
I’m glad you think it would appeal to a broad spectrum of readers. While much of Sophia’s behavior reflects her age (and likewise with Theo), I hope that the things occurring in their world would be of interest to people of any age.
When you aren't writing, what are you doing?
These days, when I’m not writing I’m usually taking care of my ten-month-old baby. We like to spend time in the garden, go for walks, and, of course, read books!
Thanks again for taking the time to answer our questions, S.E. Grove! We highly recommend your book!
The (YA) Bookcase Team