Kim Long: Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament
It's October! Fall weather! Pumpkin stuff! Foofy sweaters! NEW BOOKS!
Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament
by Kim Long
Twelve-year-old physics whiz Lexi Magill won't let anything stop her from winning Wisconsin's Teleportation Tournament--the annual competition where teams teleport around the world to solve science-based puzzles. She needs the prize money if she wants to re-enroll in the science academy her parents can no longer afford. Added bonus: she'll be able to reconnect with her best friend Haley.
But Lexi's two teammates put a wrench in her plans. When one misreads a clue that lands the team in a castle in Germany, and the other loses her teleportation medallion in Poland, Lexi wonders what she's gotten herself into. Struggling to keep her team under control as the race rages on, Lexi not only has to figure out how to get back on course (literally), but she must decide how far she's willing to go to win, and who her real friends are.
October 1st, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Hi everyone! So happy to be here. Thanks for inviting me, Sofiya. My debut is Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament. After her father lost his job, Lexi’s pricey science academy fell victim to her family’s new Downsizing Initiative. Lexi would do anything to get back to her old school, so she enters Wisconsin’s annual teleportation tournament with two classmates from her new school, figuring she’ll use the prize money to re-enroll and get back to her friends. The tournament requires teams to solve STEAM-based puzzles and travel (i.e. teleport) to various destinations across the world. Along the way, chaos ensues as Lexi attempts to keep her team on track, avoid sabotage, and cross the finish line.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
Easily all of the other debut authors I’ve met either online or in real life. Writing can be so solitary, and we often thing we’re the only ones worrying about things that come up in our publishing journey. It’s great to meet fellow writers going through the same things.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
Just one? UGH. I’ve read so many awesome ones, Sofiya’s included! I absolutely loved Anya and the Dragon! For contemporary with a dash of magic and science though, I really liked Sarah Baughman’s A Light in the Lake. It’s STEM-y while also being very grounded.
What’s a cool thing about your book that isn’t in the blurb?
How much baseball there is in the book! Lexi is a huge Brewers fan. Part of her motivation with the tournament is to use some of the money to take her Dad to a Brewers game now that they had to give up their season tickets. Lexi uses her beloved Brewers as motivation and there are baseball/Brewers references throughout. I really think that if there’s a baseball fan out there, they’d love the baseball and competition aspects of this book.
What inspired you to write this book?
I really wanted to write a competition/tournament book, but I also wanted to do it in a way that the kids wouldn’t be limited to a museum, store, library, etc. While being stuck in traffic, I thought of how convenient it would be to teleport home, and from there I started fiddling with the idea of how teleportation would make travel easier and solve my problem of giving the kids a world-wide landscape for their competition.
Describe your writing space.
I write in my basement. Lol. Seriously! It’s a finished basement, and I have a TV tray that holds my laptop. I can’t write to music or TV—it’s too distracting, so the TV will be off as I type away.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
It varies by type of book. For Lexi, I had to do more research upfront because the puzzles tie into each other, and I had to be careful of time zones and connecting everything together. I also had to tie in a STEM angle, so I was doing a lot of internet searching on scientists, museums, etc. so that everything matched up like it was supposed to.
How do you select character names?
For first names, I’ll figure out how old they are, compute when they would have been born, and then review the list of most popular baby names from that year. For last names for sidekick characters, I might use someone I know or a variation of their name. For names from someone from another country, I’ll look at a list of Olympians from that country to see if I can find names I like. After all of that, for the main characters especially, I’ll play around with them. For Lexi¸ I really wanted her initials to be ATM since money issues were a part of the story (though through revisions, the ATM references were deleted), so I searched for a “T” name that would flow.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Wow! I don’t know what I would do without my writer friends! Until the Novel19s, I think I met all of my writer friends through on-line contests like Query Kombat and Pitch Wars. Whether I was an entrant or a judge/mentor, I reached out and connected to so many who have helped with my work. Melyssa Mercado is always up for reading anything I write, and Julie Artz caught a plot hole in Lexi during editor revisions that I still can’t believe no one caught earlier! But really, so many other people have inspired and helped me that there are too many to mention here.
Share a favorite song!
I’m huge Bruce Springsteen fan. One of the things I love is how he constantly remixes songs, his own and covers. This is one from a few years back where he covered Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive while touring Australia. Still a fave!
Thanks for interviewing, Kim! I'm so excited to check out Lexi's adventures on 10/1/19!