Interview with Angie Smibert


I was born in Blacksburg, a once sleepy college town in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. I grew up thinking I wanted to be a veterinarian; organic chemistry had other ideas. But I always had stories in my head. Eventually, after a few degrees and few cool jobs—including a 10-year stint at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center—I wrote some of those stories down.

I’ve published many short stories, for both adults and teens. (You can read some of them here on my site.)


1) I love that your book has some scientific basis to it! How did the idea for this book come about?

The idea came from reading a few articles on recent research in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Researchers are looking into certain drugs that can loosen the grip that traumatic memories have on PTSD sufferers. I took it a step farther. What if the pill could totally erase particular memories? I had a vision of a Starbucks / frozen yogurt type place on every corner that dispensed the pill. Then I started asking myself what kind of world would have these places--and who would be the least likely hero to enter one of them.

If you're interested in reading more about the science behind the pill, check out

2) Do you have any plans to continue writing in the wonderful universe you have created for Memento Nora?

Yes, I'm working on a sequel to Memento Nora, which is tentatively called the Forgetting Curve. (The title may change.) You'll see more of Winter and a few new characters.

3) One of your characters, Winter, does some pretty crazy art stuff. Where did you get the inspiration for her character and her creations?

Her character is tiny bit inspired by some manic programmers I've worked with in the past. (All male, btw.) The rest of her character evolved with her story and her art. The overall idea of her garden was probably sprung from a childhood memory. One of my great-uncles was an artist. I probably only saw him a few times in my life. One time when we visited him, I remember he'd built a Rube Goldberg machine in his studio. A Rube Goldberg machine is this overly complicated contraption that does one simple thing, usually by chain reaction. (Like 15 crazy steps to make toast.) So I wanted Winter's Garden to be a beautiful, eerie Rube Goldberg-type thing--that ultimately did more than make toast. I've put some of the things that inspired her sculptures on the book website (

4) You happen to have a few characters that are lesbian in your story, and this is still not something that comes up in many books. Why did you include this idea, and is this an issue you plan on exploring further in your work?

It's unfortunate that there aren't more gay characters in young adult books because there are certainly gay young adults (and adults) in real life. But I didn't make the characters lesbian to make a point or explore an issue. It's just who they are. And by that, I don't mean to diminish any thoughtful exploration of being a LGBT teen. My particular characters (and their friends and family) accept that part of themselves.

5) Wow, you worked in the Kennedy Space Center? What did you do, and what was it like? Inquiring minds (err.. mine at least) want to know ^.^

Yep. I worked at NASA's Kennedy Space Center for a little over 10 years. I wrote (and produced) videos and developed online training for engineers and other staff. We also did some promotional stuff for the public. KSC was a very cool place to work. I got to see a shuttle launch my very first day on the job. I've been to the top of the launch pads, crawled around in the Mobile Launch Platform, and learned more about nondestructive evaluation (testing shuttle parts without damaging them) than I ever wanted to know. However, the Shuttle program ends this year--and the program that was supposed to replace it got canceled or at least cut down to the bone.

Thank you, Angie, so much for taking the time to do an interview here at Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books!


Nora, the popular girl and happy consumer, witnesses a horrific bombing on a shopping trip with her mother. In Nora’s near-future world, terrorism is so commonplace that she can pop one little white pill to forget and go on like nothing ever happened. However, when Nora makes her first trip to a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic, she learns what her mother, a frequent forgetter, has been frequently forgetting.

Nora secretly spits out the pill and holds on to her memories. The memory of the bombing as well as her mother’s secret and her budding awareness of the world outside her little clique make it increasingly difficult for Nora to cope. She turns to two new friends, each with their own reasons to remember, and together they share their experiences with their classmates through an underground comic. They soon learn, though, they can’t get away with remembering.

In case you missed it, I have a review up for Memento Nora!

7 comments: Jump to Comment Form

Great interview! I love that Angie used real-world science to create the world of her book. Looking forward to reading Memento Nora!


Angie, this idea is so compelling. I love the way dystopian books are so often a commentary on how we live our lives. The description you've given reminds me a bit of THE GIVER. Can't wait for your book to come my way!


Great Interview Sniffly and Angie! MEMENTO NORA sounds so intriguing, especially with the thread of reality that has been woven in. Can't wait to read!


Thanks y'all (yes, I'm from the south)!


Fantastic interview! I'm so excited to read this!!


@Amy you won't be disappointed!


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