Jacqueline Houtman is the author of THE REINVENTION OF EDISON THOMAS, a MG novel released by Front Street, an imprint of Boyds Mills Press on March 15, 2010.   

Eddy Thomas can read a college physics book, but he can’t read the emotions on the faces of his classmates at Drayton Middle School. He can spend hours tinkering with an invention, but he can’t stand more than a few minutes in a noisy crowd, like the crowd at the science fair, which Eddy fails to win. Eddy uses his ingenuity to solve a traffic safety problem, but he can’t seem to solve his own bully problem. With the help of some new friends, Eddy discovers that even the mechanics of friendship can be learned. By trusting his real friends and accepting their help, Eddy uses his talents to help others and rethinks his purely mechanical definition of success.


1.      Mindi Scott:  At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up?  And at age eighteen?  And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?

                  JH:  Eight: ballerina

                  Eighteen: University professor

                  Twenty-eight: Writer/director for Nova

                  I could go on...and on.


2.      MS:  Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self? 

JH:  The Genius. I was an academic overachiever.


3.      MS:  What are some of your superstitions and/or phobias?

JH:  I’m deathly afraid of heights and/or falling. Last summer we were driving on the Needles Highway in the Black Hills of South Dakota and there were all these narrow winding roads with no guardrails to prevent people from plunging to their deaths on the rocks below. It took hours for them to pry my fingers from the armrest.


4.   MS:  Without giving away too much from your book, which character or scene are you the most pleased about having created, and why?

JH:  I’d have to say I’m most proud of creating Eddy. He was so much fun to write, and I think he came out as a very likeable kid, despite some pretty annoying habits. I’m very attached to him.


5.      MS:  Was there any certain music that inspired you while you were writing this book, or is there a song that could serve as your protagonist’s theme song?

JH:  Eddy’s favorite group is They Might Be Giants, and he especially likes their sciency songs, so I would have to choose “Science is Real” as Eddy’s theme song.


6.      MS:  What’s up next for you as a writer?

JH:  You mean besides answering all these questions? I do have another MG novel in progress. Also very sciency.


7.      MS: And, now, the most important question of all:  Beatles or Elvis?  Please support your answer.  ;-)

JH:  Beatles, definitely. Their music was much more varied and broke a lot of new ground. Besides, there were four of them, all cute, and all with British accents.


8.      MS:  Okay, your turn.  Do you have a question you’d like me to ask my Magic 8-Ball on your behalf?  (I’m telling you, this thing is scarily accurate!  Well, except for when it’s lying.)

JH:  Will my office ever be clean?

MS:  Ha!  Something tells me you were expecting this answer!  Thank you so much, Jacqueline! 

To learn more about Jacqueline Houtman and THE REINVENTION OF EDISON THOMAS, please check out www.jhoutman.com