Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Winter Extravaganza: Jenny Moss Interview

Jenny Moss is the author of Taking Off.

SUMMARY: Reimagining the days surrounding this unforgettable event in history, readers are brought back to 1986 as the astronauts prepare for the Challenger mission, and Christa McAullife trains to be the first teacher in space. When a teen named Annie meets Christa, she is fascinated by Christa's courage. Truly inspired, Annie is determined to make it to Florida to see the Challenger launch, a trip that will forever change how she thinks about herself and her secret desire for her own future. Although she is devastated when tragedy strikes, Annie honors Christa by following her own dream, despite the obstacles. Bringing in her experience as a NASA engineer, Jenny Moss weaves a moving story that recaptures the inspiration teens must have felt years ago as they watched Christa McAuliffe reach for the sky. (Publishes on January 4, 2011.)


Describe Taking Off in one sentence?

High school senior Annie Porter, who wants to be a poet and is caught up in a romantic triangle, meets Christa McAuliffe before the space shuttle Challenger accident.

How did you bring your NASA experience into the book?

I worked for NASA for a number of years. Early in the space shuttle program, I was involved in the training of astronauts and flight controllers; one of the chapters in the novel describes the type of work I did. When the Challenger accident occurred, I had just moved from the Training Division into Flight Design. I used some of my memories of that sad time in creating Annie's experience.

What part of Taking Off did you enjoy writing the most?

The poetry. And the Vincent Van Gogh references. It was also fun to create the character of Tommy - who is one of Annie's love interests.

The parts of the novel that dealt with Christa and the Challenger accident were the most difficult for me to write.

What do you hope your readers will take away with them?

Mostly: Each of us has a wonderfully unique journey before her.

Three words to explain your view of winter?

Silent, still, hopeful

Describe the most memorable winter you have ever experienced?

It rarely snows where I live, so those winters are the ones I remember most: swinging with my toddler son with the snow-covered ground beneath our feet, and walking with my daughter on a cold winter night while snowflakes fall and the excited laughter of kids fills the air.

What's your favorite thing to eat and drink during the holidays?

Creamy hot chocolate topped with melting marshmallows, and sweet potato casserole topped with melting marshmallows. Gotta have the marshmallows. :)

If you had enough snow to make any kind of snowman/animal, what would it be and look like?

See, I'm a novice at this because we don't get much snow. So I wouldn't make a snowman; I'd fall to the ground and make snow angels like they do in the movies. Do people really do that? It looks like such fun!

Do you have a favorite Christmas carol?

What Child Is This?

Thanks so much, Ashley! :)

Jenny, thank you for answering my questions!


PRE-ORDER THIS BOOK ONLINE: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble

FIND JENNY ONLINE: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Blog


*Remember, you can get an entry into the comment contest by leaving a valid comment about this interview! Full rules, entering, and details by clicking that link.


  1. I honestly can't express how excited I am for Taking Off! The cover is gorgeous, the premise is interesting and I love everything to do with astronomy! Great interview Jenny :D

  2. I'll definitely check this book out - I still remember being in elementary school and watching the explosion on TV.

  3. I completely remember the Challenger disaster. I was an elementary school child at the time...Third grade, I think. We had studied space and the mission and learned all about Christa McAuliffe for months before the mission.

    Then, our whole school gathered in the auditorium and we watched the footage live. It was very disturbing. Lots of kids were crying. I was in shock. To this day, I can't forget that moment when I learned that Christa McAuliffe had died. It broke my heart.

    I would love to read this book. Thanks for the interview and for the summary.

  4. Taking Off sounds like such an unique read. Thanks for the interview.

  5. Mary D

    My father worked at Nasa (or the Cape as it is still commonly called) for many years; being family members we were priviledged to view the lift-offs from a special area ... and I can still recall the thunder of the blast and feeling the ground shake.

    I cried in shock and disbelief along with the rest of the nation over the disaster :( So many brave, beautiful souls!

    Taking Off is definitely going on my TBR list!

  6. Sounds interesting! That's so cool that you worked at NASA! Thanks for the great interview!

  7. Thanks for inviting me to be a part of your Winter Extravaganza, Ashley. Great questions.


  8. I love What Child is This also! So pretty!

    This book intrigues me. I love that the author actually worked for NASA!! :)

  9. love the cover and it sounds really good. interesting premise.


Thanks, I love what you have to say!