An interview with Peter Abrahams
Peter Abrahams discusses his first book for children, Down The Rabbit Hole, the first in the Echo Falls mystery series.
Q. You have written several critically acclaimed adult novels including The Fan, A Perfect Crime, The Tutor and Oblivion but Down the Rabbit Hole is your first book written for children. Did you find this to be a difficult transition? Which audience do you prefer writing for?
A. I loved writing this book. The truth is I didnt think much about the transition. The story unreels before the eyes of a 13-year-old girl, so the language of the book is her language. As for audience, its tremendously gratifying to be entertaining young readers.
Q. Do you have a particular writing philosophy that you follow?
A. Im very persnickety about writing. I have a million rules, but they all boil down to trying to do something original on every page.
Q. Ingrid Levin-Hill, the 13-year-old super sleuth and star of the Echo Falls series is a very multifaceted and believable character that the target reader can really relate to. Why do you think that is? Is she based on a particular person from your family?
A. Certainly the fact that I have four kidstwo boys, two girlswas a big help in keeping things real. There are lots of dark patches in childhood, but what I remember most about my own is the feeling of exhilaration that comes with waking up to the world of human life. What surprised me was Ingrids take on thingsthat part wrote itself.
Q. Everyone seems to be in love with all of the characters in this book--especially Grampy. Did anyone in your own family influence your writing? And if so, how?
A. My mother was a writer and taught me a lot when I was very young. A few years ago, I wrote down what shed taught me in the form of Enids Laws. There are six of them.
1. Organization is everything.
2. Fiction is about reversals.
3. Torment your protagonist.
4. Push everything as far as you can without contriving.
5. Always advance the story.
6. Be original.
Later I added a seventh: Be playful.
Q. Stephen King has noted you as his favorite suspense novelist and youve been compared to such mystery greats as Hitchcock, Grisham, Coombs, and Diehl. Were you a mystery reader when you were growing up?
A. I read all kinds of things, including mystery, but pure adventure was my favoritepirate stories, lost in the Arctic, hacking through deep jungle, all that.
Q. Fans of Down the Rabbit Hole will be thrilled to know the second book in the Echo Falls series is in the works. What we can expect from Behind the Curtain? Is it true that just as the first book has references to Alice in Wonderland this one plays to the Oz fans?
A. In Behind the Curtain, Ingrid and her friends are putting on the scene where Dorothy, Woodman, Lion and Scarecrow discover that the Wizard is a fraud. At the same time, a terrible threat has come to Echo Falls, even insinuating itself in Ingrids family. When its almost too late, Ingrid realizes that she literally doesnt know the half of it. I can also reveal that math continues to be Ingrids undoing and that a piglet on Grampys farm plays an important role.
Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.
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Books by this Author
For the album by Wire, see Behind the Curtain (album).
Behind The Curtain is the second book in the Echo Falls mystery series by best selling crime novelist Peter Abrahams.
Ingrid lives in a small community called Echo Falls. She's in the school soccer team and is in the drama club. Everything is normal until one day she sees what her dad has been looking at on his computer. On the Jobs.com site. He suddenly starts getting temperamental. Throughout the next few days, Ingrid notices other weird things occurring like her brother starts getting more buff but has strange pimples on his back, and her soccer coach getting switched with another very odd coach, Julia LeCaine. Ingrid starts to try to find out what is happening and in the mist of it, on a random day when she is outside going to the MathFest, she gets kidnapped. She finds herself in the trunk of a car and escapes. But she doesn’t know who tried to kidnap her and if they would try again. Throughout the book Ingrid has to face many mysterious and scary situations to find out what is happening! Guided by her hero, Sherlock Holmes, it's not going to be easy for this 13-year-old!
She soon realizes that the new coach, Julia LeCaine, was the one who kidnapped her for money. After she escapes the kidnapping, which happened on the MathFest, a day she was told to show up for she was one of the contestants, barely anyone believes her, and if they did, they had doubts. Luckily, Chief Strade, father of Joey Strade (who is Ingrid's friend/romantic interest) believes her, but cannot act upon it too much, for there are too many holes in her story.
During all this, Ingrid's brother, Ty, starts taking steroids, an illegal drug sold by the Krackens (her not-so-friend, Chloe's servants). though she's quite sure of this, she doesn't want her brother to get in trouble, so she has to prove the crime herself by pretending to be a buyer. She brings a tape recorder along with her, with hopes of recording their conversation and showing it to Chief Strade. She writes a note on Carl Kraken Jr's janitor desk to meet them at the tree house she and Ty used to hang out in. She only meets Carl Senior, the oldest living Kraken, and nearly buys the steroids but is foiled when her recorder gave her away. After a quick chase in the woods, the three Krakens catch her, but Chief Strade and some other cops rescue her and arrest the Krakens.
Kirkus Reviews wrote "In a literature notoriously light on solid mysteries, Abrahams’s second outing for kids stands out as a deliciously plotted, highly satisfying adventure." while Publishers Weekly, in reviewing the audio version, stated "youngsters who have never read a Sherlock Holmes story will be won over by the perilous adventure so expertly presented."