The idea for my middle-grade futuristic mystery MEMORY TRAP stems from my fascination with memories. As a child, I realized that memories faded away. So my best friend and I created “Memory Boxes,” saving letters, postcards, photos, report cards, and other personal things. One unusual item in my box was a wax frog I’d won at a party. To preserve memories, I also kept diaries. I still have my first diary which was a gift when I was eleven.
The first entry from my very first diary:
June 19: Got up. Played, ate, and smashed Eddie’s finger. Went to coast. Had fun. Swam at beach. Eddie got into my diary—so he’s in for it now! Went to bed.
Disclaimer: I didn’t smash my brother Eddie’s finger on purpose—we got along really well and still do.
Keeping diaries and journals has taught me two surprising things.
When I read about events I don’t remember, often the memory comes back as if my brain is a computer. The written memory connects me to forgotten data—like a Google link to the past.
My memories of past events are often wrong.
Thinking about memories led to questions that intrigued me: What would it be like to have someone else’s memories? How would it happen? Would you still have your own memories? Would you stay yourself or become someone else?
The plot for MEMORY TRAP took shape. I imagined an island in the future created by scientists who cured all illnesses and controlled aging so no one appeared over 25. Death only happened by accident—or murder. And “Lost Ones” were replaced in “Families” by transferring their memories into youths. Jennza is one of these youths. Unlike her birth-mates, though, she doesn’t follow rules and yearns to explore beyond the fence. She fears gaining new memories that will tie her to a family in a role of sister/mother/daughter to strangers. “If I have someone else’s memories,” she worries, “will I still be me?” Jennza’s determination to stay herself leads her far from the life she expected—and into danger.
One morning an opening line popped in my head:
“Get down, Jennza—or you’ll die!”
“Don’t be dramatical,” I call out to Lorelei, my fingers curling around steel mesh as I dangle midway up the Fence. “No one dies anymore.”
I wrote two pages quickly but it had a long journey of rewrites and publishing challenges when its first publisher closed. Now I’m excited that for its release by Clear Fork Publishing. I especially love the gorgeous cover by talented artist, Dea Lenihan. I hope you’ll enjoy MEMORY TRAP!
Linda Joy Singleton is the author of over 55 books for young readers, including the CURIOUS CAT SPY CLUB series, and picture books SUN & SON, CRANE & CRANE, and CASH KAT. She’s a longtime member of SCBWI and Sisters in Crime, and a frequent speaker at conferences, libraries, and school. She lives in Northern California in the foothills where she and her husband enjoy a menagerie of animals including horses, cats, dogs, peacocks, ducks, pigs, and a family of Dexter mini-cows. For fun activities, free stories, writing advice, and the latest news check out my website: www.LindaJoySingleton.com.