Today’s guest blog is by Joelle Charbonneau. Joelle has performed in opera and musical theatre productions across Chicagoland. She now teaches private voice lessons and is the author of two mystery series: The Rebecca Robbins mysteries (Minotaur Books) and the Glee Club mysteries (Berkley). Joelle’s also the author of The Testing young adult trilogy that debuted with the bestselling The Testing. Book 2 of the trilogy, Independent Study will hit shelves January 7th, 2014.
The main inspiration for The Testing came out of my teaching. As a private singing instructor, I work with a number of high school students to help them prepare and go through the college admittance process. Every year the bar is set higher and higher. Two years ago, I mentioned to one student how much more demanding the process has become in the past decade and said I couldn’t imagine it getting any harder. Of course, after I said that, I wondered—how could the process become more challenging and under what circumstances would society allow that kind of challenge to exist? That was the moment I knew I needed to write The Testing. Of course, once I decided to write it, I found the creation of this book to be different than the funny, adult mysteries that I’d published up until now.
Part of the challenge of writing this book was the world building required. To be honest, I didn’t set out wanting to write a post-apocalyptic book. However, after I came up with the story question, I had to find a circumstance in which The Testing could exist. In order to do that, I had to venture into the future where the challenges of life required leaders who excelled in science and math. I also needed a world where the price that would be paid for choosing poor leadership would be incredibly high. So high, in fact, that Testing candidates are required to demonstrate their ability to make life and death choices. After all, how do you know what someone is capable of doing until you actually see them put to the test?
The good news is that I greatly enjoyed the process of creating the world and the characters in it. I think I probably ended up on several United States agency watch lists while doing my research, but that’s okay. I had so much fun spending time in Cia’s world through all three The Testing Trilogy books. Here’s hoping readers have fun, too!
More information about the author can be found on her website or on Facebook or you can follow her on Twitter @jcharbonneau.