-What inspired you to become a writer?
I started writing as a creative outlet in middle school. I always thought it would be fun to write a book, but it wasn’t until my youngest son turned 1 and my husband was in grad school that I really started taking the itch seriously. My husband was working full time and when he came home from work, he had to spend hours doing homework and I got bored of watching movies by myself. So I sat down one night after the kids were in bed and started writing. Things just snowballed from there, and soon I had a first novel. I started researching publishing, querying agents, attended a writers’ conference and joined a writers group. Soon I had my second novel, this one done much better than the first.
-What draws you to your genre(s) of choice?
I write YA because that’s what I love to read. There’s just something so special about that time—when you’re learning about life and love and what makes you special. I wish I had enjoyed that time of my life more without worrying about what the future would bring or dwelling on the things that made me different from others. Writing and reading YA is my way of revisiting those special years. I hope I can inspire teens to enjoy being young. Don’t worry about the things you can’t change. Just enjoy the things that are awesome.
-Give us a fun or interesting fact you learned researching this book.
Part of my book takes place in Scandinavia in the 1600’s. At one point I was researching what eating utensils people used at that time. I learned that forks weren’t invented until the early 1600’s, and that “early fork users were looked upon by others with mistrust.” I laughed out loud when I read that. To think that the first people who used forks were considered untrustworthy oddballs and the masses who ate with their hands were considered normal.
-Which of your characters would you go out for drinks and/or pizza with?
I would just love to hang out with Maggie and her friends, Piper and Kate. They’re such an odd, mismatched group of friends, I think hanging out with them would be a blast. Especially Piper. She is one-of-a-kind.
-For aspiring writers, any tips?
Everyone says this, but here it is again—keep going, keep trying, keep improving. It’s not over until you give up. And don’t you dare let your desire to publish suck all the joy out of writing.
Also, find a writers’ group that focuses on real critique—not just feel-good compliments. My writers’ group is the reason my book is being published. Because my initial drafts were definitely not good enough. Not by a long shot.
-Is there a genre you could never write? Which and why?
I could never write horror. Never, ever. I can’t even read it. I get scared enough just by my empty, dark basement at night. If I spent my days imaging all the horrifying things that could come out of that basement then it would be all over for me. I’d never be able to go down there, ever again. And forget walking to my car in a parking lot at night. Or taking my trash out to the curb in the dark. Or going camping. Or star gazing. Or … well, you get the point. No horror writing for me.