Q: Why did you choose to write YA novels?
A: Two reasons: first, I'm one of those questionable adults who is no longer young but reads Young Adult literature anyway. I love the energy of the genre. And second, I have had a hard time finding books for my daughter to read, since YA literature has been skewing more and more mature over the past decade or so. I kept thinking that someone should write books that are a better fit for the younger and/or more conservative YA readers out there, and then one day it hit me that maybe that someone should be me.
Q: What is your writing process?
A: Plan, plot, dream, research, then let 'er fly. I tried writing with just a general plot in mind, but found the process overwhelming and stressful. For me, planning is paramount. That doesn't mean I always stick to the outline--in fact, I usually don't--but it gives me something to shoot for. I also write a short sketch of each character, and refer back to them often. And I break a cardinal rule of writing: I edit as I go. It's partly because my brain won't let me go on without fixing the typos I know are there, and partly because I'm afraid I'll forget to do it later. So it's self-preservation, really.
Q: Where do you get story ideas?
A: Everywhere. I have a lot of books in my head, waiting to be written. I always think my best ideas come in the middle of the night, until I wake up the next morning and realize that if it sounds like a good idea at 2 a.m., it probably isn't. I'm also a shower thinker, but the challenge there is to remember the flashes of inspiration long enough to write them down. Maybe I should keep a grease pencil in the shower and use the wall.
Q: Do you ever hate what you write?
A: Yep. So then I unwrite it.
Q: When do you write?
A: Sometimes during the day, but mostly late at night. I wish I were the kind of person who woke up at 6:30 a.m. and went for a quick run before munching a bowl of granola and sitting down to write my 5000 words, but I'm not. The writing side of my brain usually kicks in after about 8:00 p.m. Also, I hate running.
Q: Are your characters based on real people?
A: In a way. A lot of my events and characters' traits are drawn from either mortifying things I remember from my own teenage years (which were actually quite happy, but I was, after all, a teenager), or things that I wish had happened, and words I wish I'd said. It can be very therapeutic.