Q&A with Author Caroline Fernandez
Author Caroline Fernandez is sharing the stories of women in STEM in the early reader Asha and Baz series. The latest addition to the series, Asha and Baz Meet Katia Krafft follows the titular characters as they learn about volcanoes. We caught up with Caroline to ask her a few questions about the book.
What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration of the whole Asha and Baz series is to highlight real women in history and women in STEM who made amazing discoveries. Specifically, for Book 3 I learned of Elizebeth Friedman and her work in codebreaking. I thought her work saving the Queen Mary would be an exciting story to share.
What was the most rewarding and/or challenging thing about writing this book?
The most challenging thing was writing the code for the codebreaker challenge. It had to be a secret message which wasn’t obvious but also easily solve-able for Asha and Baz (and the readers) with a little help from Elizebeth Friedman.
Do you plan/plot out the story before you write?
I am a big planner/plotter! Each chapter is plotted out before I start the first sentence.
Did you have to do any specific research for this book?
The Asha and Baz books are basically mini-biographies so A LOT of research goes into getting the facts correct. From researching Elizebeth herself to what her house looked like to the work she did—it was all deeply researched using primary sources.
Did you put in any personal Easter eggs into the book (characters based on people you know, places you know, situations you've had in real life)?
I am basically Baz in real life. I stress and worry just like him.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Generally, it’s energizing. Editing is exhausting.
Do you believe in writer's block?
I do believe in it yet (thankfully) I don’t experience it. Because I am such a planner/plotter, I always know where the story is going.
How many hours a day do you write?
When I’m deep in writing…probably around three hours of dedicated book writing per day. But then, there’s outside book writing stuff like social media and emails, which keep me typing.
What is your favorite childhood book?
We read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle in Grade 8 as a class read. Then, our librarian took a select few (I was included) downtown on a Saturday to meet Madeline in real life. I still have the book she autographed.
Asha and Baz Meet Elizebeth Friedman
In the third book in the Asha and Baz series, readers learn about secret codes and how to break them from World War II codebreaker Elizebeth Friedman!
A secret code and a mysterious prize up for grabs at school prompts Asha and Baz to once more use their magic stick to travel to the past. This time they land in 1942, where they meet Elizebeth Friedman, a codebreaker working with the US Navy.
She’s the perfect person to help the kids with their codebreaking challenge, but she’s hard at work decoding secret messages from Nazi spies!
With a navy officer pressuring Elizebeth to work quickly and the Allied war efforts at risk, the kids could be in for more than they expected in Asha and Baz Meet Elizebeth Friedman!