Driver's ed and a first crush should be what Alex Winchester is stressed out about in high school - and she is. But what's really on her mind is her mother. Why is she dressing in Dad's baggy khaki pants with a silk scarf around her neck? What is she planning when she pores over maps in the middle of the night? When did she stop being Mom and start being Amelia Earhart? Alex tries to keep her budding love life apart from the growing disaster at home as her mother sinks further into her delusions. But there are those nights, when everyone else is asleep, when it's easier to confide in Amelia than it ever was to Mom.
Now, as Amelia's flight plans become more intense, Alex is increasingly worried that Amelia is planning her final flight - the flight from which she never returns. What could possibly be driving Mom's delusions, and how far will they take her?
THE CHANCE YOU WON’T RETURN started when I a line popped into my head: “My mother thinks she’s Amelia Earhart.” I was really intrigued by the idea of a family dealing with this delusion, and what that means for main character Alex in terms of identity.
Throughout the book Alex returns to the question, “If you could be anyone else, who would you be?” To celebrate the release of THE CHANCE YOU WON’T RETURN, I thought it would be fun to answer Alex’s question myself. In no particular order, here are a few people I’d like to spend some time as:
Julia Child: Pretty much one of the coolest people ever. She was in her 40s when she learned how to cook (way later than you’d expect someone tackling a challenge like that) and brought culinary skill and adventure to thousands. I really like her attitude about creating and taking risks and being passionate—even if that means making mistakes sometimes. She also got to live in France and had an awesome marriage with her husband, Paul.
William Shakespeare: Four hundred-ish years after his death, and he’s still one of the most acclaimed and well-known writers in the world. His characters and stories are still relevant (I mean, did you see the recent movie adaptation of MUCH ADO?), and he invented words/phrases we still use today (let’s just say I’m feeling like a “green-eyed monster”).
JK Rowling: Obviously. Jo, if you ever want to hang out, I am so there.
Fred Rogers: Pretty much the greatest human being ever. He was so kind and thoughtful and changed both children’s television and public television forever. He connected with generations on a deep, beautiful level and understood the value of a good cardigan.
As a writer, I appreciate that I get to be in the heads of my characters and get to understand their experiences and pain and joy and anxieties and hopes. But it would be pretty cool to be JK Rowling for a little while, too.
If you could be anyone else (for a little while, at least), who would you be?
About the Author:
Annie Cardi holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College and a BA from the University of Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in The Georgetown Review, Vestal Review, Juked, and others. In 2011, PEN New England selected her as a winner of the Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award for the manuscript that would become her debut young adult novel, The Chance You Won’t Return. Annie lives near Boston with her husband and a portrait of a sea captain.