Find out the answers to some of my questions about Freefall Summer by Tracy Barrett (Interview & #Giveaway)

Welcome to my tour stop for this new YA release! Follow the rest of the tour
here, and check out an interview with the author and the tour giveaway below...

Freefall Summer
By Tracy Barrett
YA Contemporary
Hardcover & ebook, 272 Pages
April 3rd 2018 by Charlesbridge Teen


Sixteen-year-old Clancy Edwards has always been "the good girl." Ever since her mother died in a skydiving accident when Clancy was young, Clancy's father has watched her like a hawk. Between her dad's rules and her boyfriend's protectiveness, she's longing for an escape this summer. Then she meets Denny.

Denny is a new skydiving student and college freshman. Clancy lets Denny think they're the same age--and that she's old enough to make decisions for herself. But the lies snowball, relationships are damaged, and suddenly Clancy isn't the person she wants to be. If only making choices were as simple as taking a leap out of a plane. Before Clancy can make things right, one last act of rebellion threatens her chance to do so--maybe forever.

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Author Interview

What inspired you to write FREEFALL SUMMER?

I love retelling familiar stories, particular fairy tales and Greek myths. The Greek myths I’ve retold (King of Ithaka, a retelling of Homer’s Odyssey from the point of view of Odysseus’s son, Telemachos; and Dark of the Moon, a retelling of the myth of the Minotaur from the points of view of the Minotaur’s sister and his killer) were set in the ancient world. I thought it would be interesting to write another retelling but set it in the modern world, and since I used to skydive, the myth of Icarus came to mind. Freefall Summer quickly veered away from a strict retelling of the myth, but people who are familiar with the story of Icarus will find echoes of it in the book.

Would you tell us a little more about your protagonist, Clancy?

Clancy is a 16-year-old girl who lives the unconventional life of being the daughter of a skydiver who operates a dropzone (a place where people can skydive). She’s smart and ambitious, and longs for the day when she can come out from under the thumb of her over-protective father and go away to college. She works at the dropzone packing parachutes to earn college money, while attending an on-line summer school class that she hopes will allow her to graduate early and save on expenses. Clancy deeply misses her mother, who died in a skydiving accident when Clancy was a little girl (leading to her father’s over-protectiveness), but has never talked about her with her father. Clancy’s scared to open the topic with him for fear of throwing him back into the overwhelming grief he experienced at the time.

Clancy is an interesting choice for a main character. What inspired the name?

Since I was originally going to make this book a retelling of the myth of Icarus, I wanted her name to sound like “Icarus.” I found the name “Carys,” which I really liked, and came up with the name of “Jenna Clancy” for her mother (I have no idea where that came from!). Then, it became important for the character to want to be called by her mother’s name, but she knew it would upset her father to call her “Jenna,” so I had her choose to use her mother’s last name as her first name. Phew, long answer to a short question!

What was your favorite part of writing this story or favorite scene?

I loved writing about the problem Clancy has with her parachute. Although I never had a damaged canopy when I was jumping, I did run into another problem, and my brain took over to save me in exactly the same way Clancy’s brain reacted.

Have you ever been skydiving, and if you did, what was your favorite thing about it, or did you have to research that aspect of the story?

Both! I have been skydiving, and I did have to research that aspect of the story. I made seventeen jumps a long time ago, so while I had experience to go on, I knew that the sport had changed a lot since I last jumped. For example, student jumps used to be a very small part of the business of the dropzone—most of the time I was jumping, I was one of only two students. Now first-jump students make up the large majority of the business. Also, they were just starting to experiment with tandem jumps back in the day, and now that’s almost the only way to make a first jump. So I hung around dropzones and picked up on the way things are done now. I also had current jumpers read the manuscript and correct errors in terminology, facts, practices, etc.

My favorite thing about jumping was when the parachute opens and you look up and it’s perfect, and you hang around in the air for a long time enjoying the view. You feel totally safe at that point and totally awesome for having saved your own life once again!

Actually, maybe my favorite thing about skydiving is that I met my husband on the drop zone. I was a student and he was a famous skydiver. I was having trouble packing my parachute and he offered to help me! We never made a jump together until I did my tandem jump while researching Freefall Summer. He jumped out right ahead of me (solo).

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a YA novel set in Pompeii at the time of the eruption of the volcano Mt. Vesuvius (79 CE), which covered the city in ash and rocks and preserved it in amazing shape. My main character is a slave who has buried all memories of her past, including how she came to be enslaved, and is terrified of caring about anyone because she fears she’ll lose them. I can’t come up with a good title, and would love suggestions!

About the Author


Tracy Barrett has written more than twenty books for children and young adults. She’s much too interested in too many things to stick to one genre, and has published nonfiction as well as historical fiction, mysteries, fantasy, time travel, myth and fairy-tale retellings, and contemporary realistic novels. She knows more about ancient Greece and Rome and the European Middle Ages than anyone really needs to know, can read lots of dead languages, and used to jump out of airplanes.

A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers led to the writing of her first novel, the award-winning Anna of Byzantium (Delacorte). Her most recent publications are a contemporary YA novel, Freefall Summer, which draws on her own skydiving adventures; a middle-grade fantasy entitled Marabel and the Book of Fate; The Song of Orpheus: The Greatest Greek Myths You Never Heard, a collection of little-known Greek myths; and the popular middle-grade series The Sherlock Files.

From 1999 to 2009 Tracy Barrett was the Regional Advisor for the Midsouth (Tennessee and Kentucky) with the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She is now SCBWI's Regional Advisor Coordinator.

Tracy grew up near New York City, and went to college in New England and graduate school in California. She holds a Bachelor's Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. She was awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers and won the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Work-in-Progress Grant in 2005. She taught Italian and other subjects at Vanderbilt University for almost thirty years. She has two grown children and lives in Tennessee with her husband and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

- 1 Winner will receive a Copy of FREEFALL SUMMER and Swags (signed bookplate and a silver skydiving pendant) by Tracy Berrett.
- Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter | Ends September 17, 2018

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Doesn't this sound really good? Have you read it or will you be? Any thoughts on the interview? Any title suggestions for the book the author is currently writing?

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