1. What was the inspiration behind LIKE MANDARIN?
LIKE MANDARIN is the result of several inspirations joined together. When I was 10-13, my family traveled each summer from
The plot and characters stem from my fascination with the "girlcrush" dynamic. Almost all of us had that one girl, that girl who we watched from afar and wanted to be, some of us fleetingly, and some of us ferociously. It transcends sexual preference.
I don't even know where the child beauty pageant subplot came from -- but they're definitely creepy and compelling, as all those reality shows can attest!
2. Which of your characters are you more like, Grace or Mandarin?
In high school, I wasn't the wallflower like Grace (although I was observant), and I wasn't the wild girl like Mandarin (although some of my best friends were!). I'd say Grace and Mandarin aren't reflections of me so much as people with qualities that have always intrigued me.
3. What is your writing process like?
It does vary some from book to book. Usually, I come up with a premise and setting, and then I come up with the characters. The hardest part, for me, is plot. I typically start at page one, and jot scatterbrained notes farther down the document as I go. At some point I make myself pause and reassess the plot, usually with a short outline that gets progressively more elaborate. No matter what, before I get too far, I make sure I know the climax and the ending. I need to know what I'm working towards!
On a daily basis, I am for 1000-2000 words when I'm drafting. But my life's so hectic at times that my momentum is frequently broken.
4. You love traveling, what is one place you have to yet travel to, but really want to?
5. With so many great YA novels coming out in 2011, which are you most looking forward to reading?
Oh my goodness this is so hard. I love the sound of Catherine Knutsson's THE SHADOWS CAST BY STARS. I really like what I've seen of Victoria Schwab's writing, and I look forward the THE NEAR WITCH. SKIN AND BONES by Dawn Metcalf sounds surreal and gorgeous. And I am crazy in love with Melina Marchetta's books, and can't wait for THE PIPER'S SON.
Thanks so much, Kirsten!
Click here to visit her website!