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IR Approved Author Lena Gibson Tells All About Her Book

Switching Tracks: Out of the Trash received a 4+ star review, making it an IndieReader Approved title.

Following find an interview with author Lena Gibson.

What is the name of the book and when was it published? 

My most recent book is Switching Tracks: Out of the Trash (Train Hoppers Book One) and it’s publication date is February 1st, 2024.

What’s the book’s first line? 

“Garbage heaps are treasure troves if you have the eye to recognize true value.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

Underdog Elsa discovers maps to long-lost seed bunkers while scavenging the landfill. What she wants is to grow her own food. What she gets is a train-hopping soulmate, a meeting with the rebels, and a chance to break the corporatocracy.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I had two main inspirations for writing this book.

Most of all, it was inspired by my grandfather’s stories of train hopping during the Great Depression. His parents lost their farm in Kansas when he was a teenager and they loaded up their car “Grapes of Wrath” style and moved to Utah to live with cousins. My grandfather didn’t stay there long. He hopped a train and traveled back and forth a few times to California for other work to send his wages home.

The second source of inspiration was reading a picture book called Ada’s Violin, which caused me to delve deeper into the story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay. The children live in a landfill slum outside a major city and when a music teacher offers lessons, they learn to play. However, they can’t practice and he finds a carpenter who helps make instruments from the trash so the orchestra can have their own instruments. They now play worldwide and have toured with Metallica.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

The seed bunkers, the romance, the train hopping adventure, and because it is finally a dystopian adventure for adults instead of teens.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character?  Who-real or fictional-would you say the character reminds you of?

My main character came from nothing and wants to do something for everyone to improve all lives, not just her own. I hope she is somewhat like Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games. She doesn’t seek fame or want to be a leader but discovers the world needs her. She is stubborn and has grit.

Is this the first book you’ve written?

This is not the first book I wrote or even the first one published. I have two previous books published in 2023, an apocalypse romance called The Edge of Life: Love and Survival During the Apocalypse and The Wish, a time travel women’s fiction/thriller about a woman who accidentally wishes herself back in time five years for a redo.

The rest of the Train Hoppers trilogy has been written, with release dates for The Long Haul: Pursuit of Hope on June 6th, 2024, and Rebels and Saints: Catching Freedom on April 24th, 2025. The sequel to The Edge of Life, Aftermath: Into the Unknown will be published on December 19th, 2024.

I have a few other books waiting to be pitched as well. With luck, we’ll see them in 2025 and 2026.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing, I am a full-time fifth-grade teacher in Canada, near Vancouver, BC. I also watch a lot of MotoGP races online, drink tea, go for walks, watch and rewatch movies, read, and practice karate. Plus, I entertain Ash–my fuzzy overlord, the fluffiest of gray cats.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

I don’t write the same style as the books that I love the most and wish that I’d written, but I continue to admire them from afar… and reread them every year or two. Sometimes more.

Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (really anything by Guy Gavriel Kay)

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


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