Sunday, 26 October 2014

Interview with Lynelle A. Martin, author of "Zapped, Danger in the Cell"

Wordtryst: We have a very special guest on Wordtryst today: 11 year old Lynelle A. Martin, co-author of Zapped, Danger in the Cell. Welcome, Lynelle, and congrats on your debut release! Can you tell our readers how you got started as a writer?

Lynelle: Telling stories was always a big part of my bedtime ritual. My mom and I would take turns telling each other stories or we would do team storytelling: we would make up a story and take turns adding pieces. When I was five years old I saw my Mom’s book in the book stores for the first time. I thought it was so exciting I asked her if I could write a book with her. She said that I couldn’t because she wrote grown up books. But I kept asking her until she finally gave in and decided to write a children’s book so that we could write together. We started this book when I was 8 years old. 

Wordtryst: How did you come up with the idea for your book? Tell us about the book.

Lynelle: My Mom used to work in a lab and sometimes she would take me to work with her and let me look at cells under the microscope. One time she showed me a movie with some cells dividing and I asked her, “What if someone could go into one of those cells?” I guess that, plus the fact that she was trying to teach me the parts of the cell, gave her the idea for the story.

Zapped! Danger in the cell is about four curious children on a field trip who discovers a strange machine. One of the kids touches a button on the machine and the three others got shrunk and zapped into an animal cell. While trying to escape the cell they go through a lot of exciting and dangerous adventures in different parts of the cell that have them running for their lives.

Wordtryst: When you began writing the story, did you know how it would end?

Lynelle: No. I knew I wanted it to begin with a field trip to the Museum of Natural History, because I had just been to that museum on my third grade field trip. But I had no idea how it would end.

Wordtryst: What kind of research did you do for this book?

Lynelle: We did a lot of research by watching videos on the internet that explained the parts of the cell, but I kind of thought it was boring especially when the models in the videos were labeled with words I could not even read or pronounce right at the time.

Wordtryst: When and where do you write?

Lynelle: I write anytime ideas come to my head and I decide to write them down if I can find paper. For Zapped! I wrote a lot of it during the summer of 2011 because I didn’t want to go to summer camp, so my Mom and I made it my summer project.

Wordtryst: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Lynelle: The worst part of writing is the research and the part where I sign autographs because as it is my first time having a signature it takes time to get it right.

Co-authors Jewel A. Daniel & Lynelle A. Martin
at the Baltimore Book Fair, Sept. 2014
Wordtryst: What’s the best thing about being an author?

Lynelle: The best thing about being an author is the experience of seeing my book with my name and picture on it and knowing that I wrote that.

Wordtryst: What's the worst part of being an author?

Lynelle: Signing autographs, answering lots of questions, and sitting through book conventions.

Wordtryst: Do you plan to co-author other books with your mom?

Lynelle: Yes. Zapped! is actually part of a series where kids get shrunk and go on adventures that you can only see using a microscope. We wrote the second book in the series over the summer of 2012 and we began the third one in the series this summer (2014).

Lynelle demonstrating how to make a model cell out of
jello and candy, Baltimore Book Fair Sep. 2014
Wordtryst: How do you decide which parts you would write and what your mother would write?

Lynelle: My mom is a scientist so she wrote a lot of the “sciencey” parts. We did a lot of brain storming together about what would happen to the children in each scene. I wrote a lot of the children’s dialog to make sure the children sounded like children. And I did a lot of the editing especially when we were getting ready to publish it.

Wordtryst: How did you come up with the characters?

Lynelle: My characters are based on me, and my little brother and sister. My brother and sister are funny but very mischievous, just like their namesakes in the story.

Wordtryst: Did you and your mom disagree on anything?

Lynelle: How about everything? I wanted to start the story with a field trip, she didn’t agree, but in the end we started with the field trip. She wanted the characters to be nine years old, I wanted them to be around 10 or 11, but she came around. We even disagreed on how the kids got zapped.

Wordtryst: LOL! You must have been very convincing because you got to do some things your way. I understand some disagreement is normal with creative collaborations. So, what advice would you give aspiring writers?

Lynelle: I guess I would tell them to keep writing and let their imagination guide the way.

Lynelle signing copies of Zapped! Danger in the Cell! at the
Baltimore Book Fair
Wordtryst: What are some of your favorite books?

Lynelle: Dork Diaries. I could hardly wait for each new one to come out. When I first started writing the books I was into the Magic Tree House series, but I’ve grown out of them now.

Wordtryst: Tell us three interesting or crazy things about you.

Lynelle: My sister, my brother and my Mom (They are all crazy :) ). I don’t know, let’s see … I play soccer (interesting not crazy), I do gymnastics (interesting not crazy) and I play the clarinet (interesting and crazy: I’m not kidding, it really can get crazy).

Wordtryst: Where can people buy your books?

Zapped! Danger in the Cell can be purchased at and at Barnes and Noble in both paperback and e-book format. It can also be purchased from the publisher’s website

Wordtryst: Lynelle, thank you so much for visiting our blog today and sharing your publishing journey with us. All the best to you, and to your mom and co-author Jewel A. Daniel. We look forward to hearing all about your future collaborations!