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Ask the Author (Almost) Anything: Gretchen McNeil, author of 3:59

Teenscape Department, Central Library,
Part of the Los Angeles Teen Book Fest Sign

Gretchen McNeil will be at Teen Book Fest on Saturday, Oct. 12 on the Other Worlds panel in Teen'Scape at 2pm, and moderating the Classically Inspired panel in Teen'Scape at 11am. Gretchen will be signing copies of 3:59 from 3-3:30 in Meeting Room B.

The picture of author Gretchen McNeilLet me start by saying, be careful what you wish for - Gretchen McNeil writes about situations that hopefully help her readers appreciate their own reality. In Possess, Bridget develops Ghostbuster talents for dealing with demons. Not exactly a skill you want to share with your school buddies or something to brag about casually. However, it is a special skill that can save unsuspecting human lives, so that's a good thing.

Ten is a contemporary retelling of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. In it, a group of teens with wild weekend party plans on an isolated island find themselves sharing their fun with an unexpected guest that has deadly revenge on the mind. I would suggest thinking twice before accepting any three-day house party invitations or maybe reconsider that goal to be a member of the popular clique.

Book cover of 3:59 - Gretchen's latest bookGretchen's latest, 3:59, is a great read for everyone who wonders about the possibilities of parallel universes. Josie meets her alternate self in the mirror at 3:59 and comes to the conclusion that Jo has a better life in her universe than what Josie deals with everyday. So Josie swaps worlds and gains new insights and finds out later that getting her life back isn’t going to be easy. Be careful what you wish for!

We picked Gretchen's brain about karaoke, parallel universes, and her hypothetical star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Here's what she had to say:

1. If there was a version of you that existed in a parallel universe, what do you hope she’d be like?

I hope she'd be confident and kind. These are the two things I strive to be, and end up failing at most of the time. Confidence means I don't bow to the peer pressure, and I don't care if what I'm doing isn't cool or socially acceptable all of the time. I find I'm happier when I'm confident. Kindness makes the people around me happy as well. Also, not always easy.

2. If you were getting your own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which celebrities would you most like to be near?

Madeline Kahn (because like me, she was a trained opera singer), Katherine Hepburn (the coolest Hollywood megastar ever), and Daniel Craig (because, well, IT'S FREAKING DANIEL CRAIG!!!!)

3. What’s your go-to karaoke song?

My fiance and I do a killer rendition of "Total Eclipse of the Heart."

4. What are one or two books that inspired you when you were a teen?

Anne of Green Gables was my favorite book when I was a young teen. Anne Shirley was an inspiration to a smart, determined, imaginative redhead who got in a lot of trouble. And Jane Eyre, which was so delightfully creepy, it inspired me to read more gothic, scary books which clearly inspired my writing.


You can learn more about Gretchen