When the world feels off-kilter and your responsibilities are piling up faster than you can chug your iced coffee, it鈥檚 tempting to wish you could hop in a time machine and add a few more hours to your day. That鈥檚 exactly what teen Farway 鈥淔ar鈥 Gaius McCarthy gets to do, only he鈥檚 using his time traveling abilities to do more than crush deadlines 鈥 he鈥檚 making history right鈥 and maybe pulling off a heist or two along the way. Ryan Graudin鈥檚 wildly thrillingInvictusis the sci-fi novel that will keep you guessing 鈥 and page flipping 鈥 until the very last page. We caught up with Ryan Graudin and chatted creativity, favorite reads, and more. Scroll on to learn more from this brilliant author!

Brit + Co: Describe your book in six words or less.

Ryan Graudin: Thieves time-traveling with a red panda.

B+C: Where/when do you do your best writing?

RM: My best writing usually bookends my dreams 鈥 first waking and late at night. Mid-afternoon is the absolute worst, when putting words on the page feels like pulling teeth. As for locations, I have a desk, but that frequently gets traded for a table at my local coffee shop or an airplane tray.

B+C: What鈥檚 the strangest thing you鈥檝e ever done for book research?

RM: My previous series Wolf by Wolf involves a cross-continental motorcycle race through an alternate-history WWII landscape. When I pitched the idea to my husband, he surprised me with a date to a dirt-biking course, where I could experience driving a motorbike through the woods. It was terrifyingly fun. Research for those books also took me to the shooting range, where I tested out the WWII-era pistols my main character would have used.

B+C: What鈥檚 your go-to cure for when you鈥檙e stuck in a creativity rut?

RM: Exercise. I find that sometimes my creativity is hampered because I鈥檓 too close to the project I鈥檓 working on. Stepping away to go for a jog or do some yoga gives my brain a reboot when the workday gets tough. If the rut lasts for a few days instead of hours, it usually means I need to refill my creative well with stories. Reading books, watching television, listening to podcasts 鈥 enough of this and my own words start to return.

B+C: What two lady heroes do you turn to for inspiration, and why?

RM: As a young reader, I was influenced by fictional ladies who went on their own adventures despite naysayers. 脠owyn from The Lord of the Rings became a role model for teenage me. She fought witch kings and heartbreak with equal determination and didn鈥檛 let her society define her. Plus, 鈥淚 am no man!鈥 is a great war cry.

Invictus is dedicated to my mom, one of the most courageous women I know. Twelve years ago she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and while the cancer itself was treated successfully, the radiation damaged her brain cells. Life has been much harder since 鈥 her body is frail and failing, more like a 90-year-old鈥檚 than a woman of 60. Through this, she鈥檚 shown me the kind of strength only physical weakness can reveal: spiritual resilience. It is amazing, and I鈥檓 proud to be her daughter.

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Summer nights at the Ch芒teau 馃尭

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B+C: What鈥檚 your latest Instagram obsession?

I cannot get over the gorgeous dilapidation of @chateaugudanes 鈥 a chateau in the south of France that a family is restoring. Every one of their pictures feels like a story waiting to happen.

Another account I adore is @loki_the_wolfdog, a wolf-hybrid who goes on wildlife adventures with his owner. I also own a wolfdog, and the way his antics mirror Loki鈥檚 brings me joy.

B+C: Can you name a book that you think deserves a little more love + recognition?

The Takedown by Corrie Wang is about a girl in futuristic Brooklyn who has to find a way to take down a fake explicit video of herself that鈥檚 making the rounds on social media. It鈥檚 a smart feminist thriller 鈥 sharp and electric.

B+C: What鈥檚 next on your to-read pile?

A Conjuring of Lightby V.E. Schwab and The Bear and the Nightingaleby Katherine Arden.

B+C: What advice do you have for aspiring creative ladies?

RM: Onward and upward. The creative life isn鈥檛 for the faint of heart. Like Eowyn, you鈥檙e going to encounter a lot of naysayers, and sometimes the doubt can spring from within. This is natural. Instead of listening to the fear, you should chase it instead. Create until you can no longer hear those 鈥測ou鈥檒l never be able to do this鈥 whispers. Without fail, the books that resonate the most with my readers are the ones I was the most intimidated to write, but went for anyway. You are capable of far more than you know.

Got an author you鈥檇 love to see interviewed? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!

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