About the author:
Mary G. Thompson was raised in Cottage Grove and Eugene, OR. She was a practicing attorney for more than 7 years, including almost 5 years in the U.S. Navy, before moving to New York to write full time. She received her BA from Boston University, her JD from the University of Oregon, and her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School.
You can haunt Mary G. Thompson at-
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1. In seven words, could you introduce readers to Ryan, the main character in Escape from the Pipe Men?
Like most kids raised in a zoo.
2. So, how did Ryan and his sister wind up in an intergalatic zoo?
One day when Ryan was little, the Pipe Men were exploring the universe and popped into Ryan’s house through a portal. The Pipe Men offered to take care of them and teach them all about the universe. They convinced Ryan’s parents that the family was lucky to be chosen as zoo people. Of course, later they start to wonder …
3. Why did you choose to write a middle grade space-travel adventure? What part of the setting for Escape from the Pipe Men did you enjoy creating the most?
I wanted to write a space travel adventure because I wanted to create a bunch of weird aliens! I love that in books aliens can look like anything, unlike on TV, where all the aliens have to basically look like people. Also, portals and spaceships are really cool. There’s nothing I’d like to do more than travel through space, so I’m living vicariously through my characters! My favorite setting in the book is actually Earth. There’s a scene near the beginning where the kids have to go out on Earth even though they don’t know much about it. What would Earth be like if you were used to a planet with different weather and different technology? How would you feel about humans if you’d never been around them?
4. Mary, I hear that you were a practicing attorney for over five years, what did you enjoy most about being an attorney?
I loved being in court and thinking on my feet.
5. Would you mind sharing with us why you chose to switch professions to become a writer?
For some reason, I decided I wanted to write at the same time as I started law school. Once I finished school I started actually doing it, and soon it took over more and more of my brain, until I wanted to spend as much time on it as possible. It was hard to do as much writing as I wanted while I was working as a lawyer, so I decided to take some time off and come to New York to get my MFA in Writing for Children.
6. If you could pick any character from any book and were given the opportunity to change what happened to them, which character's story would you change?
Piggy lives and saves the day.
7. What was the last book that kept you reading late into the night? What about it made it hard to put down?
Recently I’ve been catching up on the William Sleator books that I missed as a kid. I recently read Singularity and loved it. It starts out as a simple book about a weird occurrence and takes a turn toward introspection. It turned out to be a lot more thought provoking than I expected at first, which I love. It shows how science fiction can explore truths that realistic fiction can’t get to.
8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose?
Hermione. Always choose Hermione.
9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?
Well, I live in a tiny New York City Apartment, so cave is the appropriate word. My computer desk is also my kitchen table and my office is also my living room. Everything is piled high with books and magazines and random papers. Everything revolves around King iMac.
10. Any upcoming projects that you can share with us?
My next book will be Evil Fairies Love Hair. It’s about a town where ravenous hair-eating fairies grant kids’ wishes. Look for it next August!
Thanks so much for stopping by, Mary. Escape from the Pipe Men! sounds like such a great read. And yes, Hermione would probably be able to save the world from a robot invasion (she's one sharp cookie).
Thirteen-year-old Ryan Hawthorn has spent his life on display as a human exhibit in the multi-eyed Pipe Men’s intergalactic zoo. When his father is accidentally poisoned, it’s up to Ryan and his seven-year-old sister, Becky, to scour the universe for the antidote. Along the way, they encounter many strange creatures—from the doglike Hottini to the spindly-legged, hairy Xaxor—and learn that the Pipe Men (or, as Becky calls them, “overgrown drainpipes”) are not kindly overlords, as they had been led to believe. It's not only the humans who are planning to rebel! A wildly imaginative middle grade space-travel adventure.