By Jennifer E. Smith exclusively for Uppercase:

As a writer, I’ve always been obsessed with themes like fate and timing and chance, and because of that, I’ve wanted to write a book about someone winning the lottery for a long time now. I love exploring moments in time that act as hinges – days where there’s a really clear split between a before and an after, where yesterday everything was one way, and tomorrow everything will be different. And I’m not sure anything captures that quite so well as winning the lottery. It’s the ultimate wish fulfillment, a fantasy pretty much everyone’s had at some point or another, and more than that, it creates this really seismic shift in people’s lives, which is always the most interesting place to start a story.

So I was really excited about the idea, but it still took me a while to find my way into the book. I thought maybe I’d write about two families who lived next door to each other, and the way things change once one of them hits the jackpot. But something about that just wasn’t working. Then one day, I was standing in line at a bodega in New York City behind this really young guy who had a huge stack of lottery tickets. And just like that, I understood what the book would be. By the time I paid for my gum, I knew I wanted to write about an eighteen-year-old boy who wins a mind-boggling amount of money, and the girl who sets everything in motion by giving him the ticket.

I loved writing this book, and it would’ve been fun to tell Alice and Teddy’s story even if there hadn’t been a 140-million-dollar wrench thrown into it. They’re two of my favorite characters I’ve ever written, and I hope readers will enjoy going on this journey with them too!

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