Here's my interview I recently conducted with Joni Sensel, the author of The Humming of Numbers)
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?I started writing in second grade, but it didn’t occur to me that I could just decide to be a writer — I thought somebody else had to confer that upon me, and that never happened. So although I wrote stories and poems all through school, I didn’t really start to think of myself as a writer until I was in college.
Why did you decide you would like to write a young adult book?I’ve really only stumbled into it because I’m a little jaded about adults; I don’t think they change much. But young people are still creating themselves and changing a lot, so I think they make very interesting characters. Since that’s who I want to write about, my stories tend to appeal to young readers of similar ages.
Where did the inspiration for The Humming of Numbers come from?First, I’ve always been interested in illumination, so while I was in Dublin in 2004, I saw the Book of Kells exhibit and the old library, called The Long Room, at Trinity College. I was really taken by a sense -- the presence, almost -- of the people who created those incredible books. In addition, I’d been noodling the idea of a character who could hear numerical auras, like a sort of synesthesia, and one night the two ideas came together in the character of Aidan.
Why did you decide to write Historical Fiction (it's one of my favorite genres)?It wasn’t really a conscious decision — Aidan was a monk and an illuminator, so I had to put him in a time and a place where he belonged. I love the British Isles and I liked the idea of the potential conflict with a raid, so that pretty well narrowed down my time and place.
Is there some theory behind humming #s- I've heard about everyone having a number but I've never heard about someone hearing these numbers-where did this idea come from?It really comes from my own personal sense, probably imagined, that there are distinct connections between things, colors, and numbers — on sort of a quantum or metaphysical level. Blue and five seem like different expressions or manifestations of the same energy to me, for instance. My own perceptions are what I used to build Aidan’s, but those don’t jive with traditional numerology.
Which character are you more like-Aidan or Lana?Oh, probably Aidan. But I really like Lana’s feistiness; I’d like to be more like her, ha ha.
Will you "miss" writing about any of the characters(like Aidan, Lana, Liam, etc)?Oh sure, I think most writers enjoy at least some of their characters enough to want to continue spending time with them, just like we all as readers find characters we just don’t want to say goodbye to. I might try to write a sequel to Humming one of these days — we never did find out the truth about Lana’s wood fragments, after all. :-)
Do you have any upcoming projects you’re working on?Lots! My next novel, The Farwalker’s Quest, comes out in February, so I expect to proof the galleys soon. That’s a post-apocalyptic fantasy about a girl whose future depends on her ability to solve a riddle from the past. And I have two new manuscripts, including a ghost story, that I’ve recently finished revising and now hope to sell.