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  • The Book Goat

Nicole Valentine: A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity


It's October! Fall weather! Pumpkin stuff! Foofy sweaters! NEW BOOKS!

A Time Traveler's Theory of Relativity

by Nicole Valentine

He believes in science, but only magic can help his mom.

Twelve-year-old Finn is used to people in his family disappearing. His twin sister, Faith, drowned when they were three years old. A few months ago, his mom abandoned him and his dad with no explanation. Finn clings to the concrete facts in his physics books--and to his best friend, Gabi--to ward off his sadness. But then his grandmother tells him a secret: the women in their family are Travelers, able to move back and forth in time. Finn's mom is trapped somewhere in the timeline, and she's left Finn a portal to find her. But to succeed, he'll have to put his trust in something bigger than logic.


October 1st, 2019

Introduce yourself and your debut novel!

Hello! My name is Nicole Valentine and I’m an author and technologist. I’m originally from New York and now I live outside of Philadelphia with my family. My middle grade novel A Time Traveler’s Theory of Relativity debuts on October 1st from Carolrhoda.

What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?

The fact that I haven’t had to do it alone. The Novel19s have been wonderful. Everyone I’ve met along the way has been so helpful.

Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!

Sarah Baughman’s The Light in the Lake is my kind of novel. We didn’t know each other before this year, but I feel we were both tapping the same magical vein deep within the earth’s core. If we lived closer I’d be kidnapping her for café writing sessions.

What’s a cool thing about your book that isn’t in the blurb?

There are several layers to the story. Younger readers will enjoy the fast-paced adventure, older readers will find a more nuanced read. I’ve included some “real life anchors.” Many of my fictional elements tie into the real world. An intrepid reader with a fine sense of Boolean search terms will find more than most. For instance, the tree with the two doorknobs on top of Dorset Peak actually exists.


What inspired you to write this book?

I lost my father when I was twelve and that event divided my childhood in half. It was very much a bifurcation of my timeline. I think losing someone close to you feels like this no matter how old you are. While my book is an adventure for all readers, I believe that young readers who have already grappled with grief will recognize how being lost in time and grieving someone are very similar. I’m hoping that they will feel less alone when they read about Finn and Gabi.


Describe your writing space.

*looks around* One wall lined with crowded bookshelves, an overstuffed chair for reading, a corner desk covered with far too many papers, lots of owls, prints of Nikola Tesla’s Alternating Current Generator patent, a signed first edition of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, various artistic renderings of Baba Yaga’s chicken-legged hut and two sleeping cats.


How do you select character names?

I’m really methodical about it. They typically have several layers of meaning. I look up both their derivations. Some I choose because of classic literary affiliations. I’ll leave it at that. J


If you could only buy one book this year, which book would it be?

Erin Entrada Kelly’s Lalani of the Distant Sea – it perfectly filled the Ursula Le Guin Earthsea-sized hole in my heart.


Share a favorite song!

The Scientist by Coldplay was my re-entry song whenever I sat back down to write this book. It’s one of my favorites and it fits the mood perfectly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB-RcX5DS5A

Thanks for interviewing, Nicole! Your office sounds AWESOME!! I'm so excited to check out your book on 10/1/19!

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#interview #novel19s #october #middlegrade #mg

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