I don't know what inspired me to start writing, to best honest. My head just seemed full of stories (whether or not they made sense). I've been making up stories since before my memory begins, first with toys, then pictures, and finally words.
Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I ever wrote was a "book" about my Grandma's dog. I wrote it somewhere around kindergarten.
What's your writing process like?
Admittedly, my writing process hasn't completely developed yet, and I have a long way to go as a writer. But I DO have some writing rules: 1. If I have an idea, I record it somehow ASAP, which isn't very difficult in this country, day and age. 2. I try to write SOMETHING whenever I can, but I accept that there are times when I just can't write for certain characters, certain scenes, etc. In that case, I take a break or work on something else, because there's no escaping from undeniably terrible writing. 3. If someone doesn't like my stuff, I don't sweat it. First of all, I don't HAVE to sweat it yet; writing isn't my full-time job, and sometimes criticisms work well as writing tips! Second of all, it's impossible to please everyone, and at the end of the day the first person I want to enjoy my writing is me, because if I'm not enjoying it, what's the point of writing it?
How do you choose your character names?
In most cases, names just come to me. I'd like to think that, when I first begin to write about a character, it's like meeting someone new. There are times when a name sprouts a character, yes, but generally the character shows up first and then I learn his or her name.
Is your cover what you imagined it looking like?
Actually, it's pretty close. I think that has more to do with the way my publisher works than anything else. I actually described it...well, here, I'll show you what I suggested!
"On the left side of the cover is the silhouette of a teen girl's profile, her lips parted. Out from her mouth streams fire and smoke that fills most of the cover. At the bottom of the page there is a small picture of a house with a crescent moon above it on the right. Under this is the title, A House Afire, and under that is the author's name."
What's the best comment you've ever received about A House Afire?
I think my personal favorite comment about this book is "I wish Sid were real!" But the best ones always have to do with wanting to live in Phyllis's house, or things like "I want Bill to be my best friend!" When people say that, I feel as though I've done a decent job at creating another place for readers to go.
In what ways do you relate to your main character?
Phyllis, I think, inherited some self-doubt from me, some introspection, some disinterest in her high school education. Otherwise, we're very different. For instance, Phyllis isn't a fan of reading, not at all, whereas for me it's like eating. And she's a lot more observant than I am. So how do I relate to her? Let me put it this way; I think if we met, we'd have a lot to talk about.
Is there one YA novel you think every teenager should read?
This is such an excellent question, but I don't think I can answer it. One book I just finished and really enjoyed was "Keeping the Moon" by Sarah Dessen. Someone very close to me loves Sarah Dessen so I had to check that book out, and I wasn't disappointed. It said some very, very helpful things that anyone at any age could appreciate. I think that could be a book that a lot of teens would benefit from, but I'm never 100% sure when I say things like "EVERYONE should read this!" Because when that happens, there are those who will automatically shy away. Sometimes making a book "required reading" ruins it.
Fill in the blank. When I was younger I wanted to be a....
...writer. Actress. Scientist. Shark expert. Singer. Librarian. Filmmaker. Artist. FBI agent. I've wanted to be everything. Actually, I still do.
What's next for you writing wise?
Hmm. Writing wise? I have a sequel to "A House Afire" in the works, and I'll probably keep revising both of them for a good long while. But I'd like to write a lot of different types of books, so don't think I'm about to disappear. I'm working on something now that involves Phyllis's future, but doesn't take place in her house.
Authors/Publishers: I would love to review your book! I pretty much read anything in the young adult category. I'll also hold contests, interviews, etc. Please email me at email@example.com for more info! See my full policy here.
Let me know if you want me to add your blog to my list or link to your contests.
Fellow bloggers, I'd love to swap books with you. Especially if you have any from my wish list! E mail me if you're interested!
If you want any book suggestions feel free to email me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
Also, any YA authors who are coming to New Jersey or New York City please let me know, I'd love to attend!