Chris Barton talks with Lindsey Lane

Evidence of Things Not Seen, is a debut young adult novel from Austin-area author Lindsey Lane. Told in a series of first-person narratives from people who knew Tommy Smythe, a high school junior who disappears, this story explores themes of loneliness, connectedness, and the role we play in creating our own realities.

Francisco Stork, author of Marcelo and the Real World, has observed that Lindsey’s novel “weaves science, suspense, amazing characters, and scintillating writing to create a multiple universe of stories and lives joined by the power of a single mysterious event.”

Publishers Weekly said that Evidence is, “. . . a gripping and genre-bending mosaic . . . “, and The Horn Book reviewed the book as, “Complex and rich, the story hints at Tommy’s fate, but with an open ending that is perfect for sparking conversation.”

Local author Chris Barton has allowed us to share his conversation with Lindsey Lane. To keep up with all of his great conversations with authors, and to be eligible to win free books from him — this month it’s Evidence of Things Not Seensign up for his newsletter.

Chris Barton: What drew you toward the story you tell in Evidence of Things Not Seen?

Lindsey Lane: In a way, writing Evidence was an act of faith. In the beginning, I didn’t know Tommy was missing. Truthfully, I didn’t know how everyone in the book was related. I wrote into the setting of the pullout. It wasn’t until late in the writing that I wrote a section called “Particles” in which a boy named Tommy is missing. My critique partner, Anne Bustard, said, “I think this story has legs,” so I began to reconfigure the story with Tommy at the center of it. When Tommy goes missing, it makes the whole world wobble. Everyone goes forward with their lives on faith. Interestingly, I sold the book with title Particles, but my editor suggested Evidence of Things Not Seen, which comes from this quote in the Bible: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.” The act of faith became a novel about faith.

CB: What kind of teen do you see Evidence appealing to the most?

LL: Okay, so full disclosure: While I was writing Evidence, I envisioned kids passing it back and forth in the hallways of schools, messaging each other sections of the books and pulling quotes for Tumblr. Yeah, I know, kind of a John Green fantasy. But here’s the deal: I believe that kids want to read books that don’t talk down to them, that don’t have bows at the end, that tell the truth about the darker parts of life. So I guess I was writing for the teen that I was: intelligent, questioning, and wanting to look behind the curtain. I know our current education system values getting the right answer but I think we ought to teach kids how to live in the question because, really, when we get up in the morning, we don’t know what’s going to happen.

For more about Chris and his books, visit his website. You can sign up for his enewsletter and have his conversations with authors delivered directly to your inbox.

Evidence of Things Not Seen is available and on our shelves now.

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