I first got the idea for the 1-800-Where-R-You series-- about sixteen year old Jess, a girl with the psychic power to find missing people--after a friend and I went for a walk one day in downtown Manhattan and got caught in a terrible thunderstorm. We tried to ride out the storm under some metal scaffolding (not very smart!) and of course it got hit by lightning. We were all right, but we both wondered.would we get psychic powers now?
Of course we didn't (darn!) but I couldn't stop thinking about what KIND of powers I could have gotten. The best, I thought, would be the power to find missing people.When I mentioned this to my friend, she groaned, "You're not going to write a book about this, are you?"
I started writing one that day-a book that eventually became WHEN LIGHTING STRIKES, the first book in 1-800-Where-R-You series.
Of course, Jess has another unnatural talent as well.for finding trouble! This doesn't make her too popular with Rob, the hot guy she sits next to in detention, who manages to find trouble all on his own, without her help.enough to get him on probation, which is reason enough to make him determined to stay away from Jess.much to her chagrin.
I set the book in a fictional town in Indiana (you'll notice I never say the NAME of the town in the books). It's based on the town I grew up in, where there were Grits (people who lived in the country) and Townies (people who lived in town), and a lot of prejudice.but also good people who didn't care if you were a Grit or a Townie, as well. While I made Jess a tough girl who gets into fights-I did get detention once or twice for fighting. It's what happens when you grow up with brothers-I, like Jess, did eventually learn that solving problems with your mind and not your fists is ALWAYS the answer.
As with The Mediator, I originally planned 1-800-Where-R-You as an 8 book series. The publisher who bought the rights only wanted 4 books, though, and when those didn't end up selling well, that publisher chose not to buy my proposal for the next four books in the series after the publication of SANCTUARY, effectively ending the series in what I considered the middle of it! I was pretty bummed, as you can imagine.
Eventually the television rights to the series got picked up by one of the producers to The Princess Diaries movies (Debra Martin Chase), and the series ran (as the show "Missing") on the Lifetime Channel for several seasons (though the television series was VERY different from the books, and really had no relation to them at all).
Fortunately, my Princess Diaries publisher said they would publish more of the books in the series if I wanted to write them. And that's how the final book in the series, MISSING YOU, came to be. I'm eternally grateful to HarperCollins for allowing me to finish up the series.
I have no plans on continuing the 1-800-Where-R-You series past five books at this time. I'm happy with where I've left Jess and Rob in MISSING YOU. They've been through a lot! I'd like to let them have a well-deserved rest.
I'm very grateful to all the readers who've stuck by this series. I hope you'll look forward to the new paranormal series I'll be writing in the future!
Below is a printable list of the complete books in 1-800-Where-R-Youseries that you can take with you to the bookstore or library so you can make sure you don't miss a single book in the series..