Gareth Wronski was born and raised in Toronto. After watching Star Wars as a child on his grandparents’ VCR, he decided he wanted to tell science fiction and fantasy stories of his own. He currently resides in an old house by the Avon River in Stratford, Ontario, where he lives in constant terror of roaming swans.
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Talking with Gareth Wronski
Sci-Fi & Scary: On your website, you said that your creative writing education came from mashing knight and pirate Legos together to create crazy adventures. How long had Holly’s story been acted out via Legos before you decided to put it to paper?
Gareth Wronski: So weirdly enough, I did no planning or preparation at all when I wrote Holly. I just sat down and wrote whatever the story was that came to me and then edited it afterwards. Although thinking back on it, as a kid I did like to combine pirate and space Lego, and the book does feature space pirates, so maybe I did more preparation than I think…
Sci-Fi & Scary: How long did it take you to write Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy? (From outline to final draft.)
Gareth Wronski: From start to finish it was a little over a year, then over the next year I worked on it more with my agent and editor.
Sci-Fi & Scary: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
Gareth Wronski: Prior to writing it, I had always outlined things pretty extensively, so this was a real change and I ended up spending a lot of time just discovering the actual process of how to write it.
Sci-Fi & Scary: Have you done any promotional readings of your work to the target audience via bookstore and library visits yet? If yes, what was that like for you?
Gareth Wronski: I’ve visited stores and libraries but I haven’t done any readings yet. My guess is that if I did, I’d have some horrible flashbacks to giving book reports in school.
Sci-Fi & Scary: Your bio also says that you got started on science fiction via Star Wars. Are you still a huge Star Wars fan? What do you think of how they’ve been expanding the story?
Gareth Wronski: This is embarrassing but I actually haven’t seen the last two Star Wars movies yet. I liked The Force Awakens a lot, especially the new characters, so hopefully I’ll be able to catch The Last Jedi soon. Rian Johnson is a great filmmaker and the fact that it’s apparently divisive has me even more interested. I hope it’s nothing but two hours of podracing.
Sci-Fi & Scary: Who/What are some of your favorite middle grade authors and books?
Gareth Wronski: One of the best things about having a book published was meeting a lot of debut authors I otherwise never would’ve met. People like Sarah Cannon, Jonathan Roth, Kristin L. Gray, Heidi Lang, Kati Bartkowski, Alexandra Ott, Jake Burt, Melissa Roske, Katie Slivensky, Jarrett Lerner, and a bunch of other names I’ll stop listing so this doesn’t become a sappy Oscar acceptance speech.
Sci-Fi & Scary: Do you think you will ever revisit Holly and tell readers more about what’s going on with her and the Princess?
Gareth Wronski: I had a lot of fun writing the book, and part of me definitely misses writing about those characters, so I’d love to write another one. I have an idea for a sequel but whether that happens depends on how the first book does.
Sci-Fi & Scary: What kind of reader do you think would be drawn most to your book? Obviously, the fact that you have a little girl as the lead in a sci-fi book is awesome. And I can see some readers picking it up for that alone. But what sort of books do you think kids would tell you they liked if they also liked your book?
Gareth Wronski: I tend to hear more movie comparisons for whatever reason, so I get a lot of Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy. The most common book comparison is A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, although that’s not really a kid’s book. One of the weird things about putting out a science fiction book aimed at kids is you hear from a lot of people on how hard it is to find such books, which is both cool and a bit scary, so I’m honestly not sure what books kids who liked Holly would have also liked.
Sci-Fi & Scary: In regard to the book cover, it’s pretty clearly taken from the first escape Holly & co. make. I was wondering, considering how very cool their bubbly space suits were, why the decision was made to put them in traditional looking spacesuits instead?
Gareth Wronski: I think the feeling was the bubbles might look silly or confusing if you hadn’t read the book. Funnily enough, the first sketch I ever saw had the characters in their normal, everyday clothes, but since it looked a bit strange to have them floating in space with no way to not die, the spacesuits were added.
Sci-Fi & Scary: Can you tell us anything about your next project now that Holly Farb and Princess of the Galaxy is finished and in readers’ hands?
Gareth Wronski: I’m finishing up a middle-grade fantasy book about giants. It’s sort of a comedic adventure story, so I hope it will appeal to the same people who liked Holly.