1. What is the main difference between writing adult and young adult novels?
Honestly, the only difference that stands out for me is the age of the protagonist. When I sat down to write Jacinda’s story in Firelight, I didn’t do anything differently from any other time I started one of my adult books … except I wrote in first person narrative and Jacinda happens to be sixteen. If this hadn’t been my approach, if I had consciously tried to sound “teen” while writing Jacinda’s story, I’m sure I would have come across as fake, which is what I would have been -- an adult playing at sounding “teen”. I would never have sold the book if I’d done that.
2. Did you put parts of yourself, or people you know, into Jacinda or Will?
I think there’s always a little bit of me in all my characters. I firmly believe this happens organically with writers. Life experience shapes the characters we create whether we recognize it or not.
An interesting aside -- I know the way I described the “set-up” of the high school in Chaparral is exactly like my own high school mingled with that of the high school I taught at for four years.
3. If you could pair Jacinda and Will each with one other character (book or movie) who would it be and why?
I’ve answered this question already regarding book characters, so let me have fun with something different and address movie characters. I could imagine Jacinda rubbing along nicely with a “teen” Hawkeye (Daniel Day Lewis) from The Last of the Mohicans. Yeah, yeah, I know he’s a colonial-era hero, but Hawkeye has the requisite sex appeal combined with strength and fierce loyalty to be a good match for Jacinda. He’s a manly man!
4.How much research did you have to do before writing Firelight?
I created the draki from my knowledge of common dragon lore. I didn’t really research the lore of dragons. I think that common dragon lore is something embedded into our cultural knowledge. We think of flying, fire-breathing, jewel-hoarding, etc. I just expanded from this. Creating the draki, it made sense to have them evolve into something smaller in scale. Also, my draki aren’t your ordinary dragons mostly because I didn’t want a protagonist that turns into some giant dinosaur-like creature. Not so attractive. Keeping them small (ie, human in scale) made them more manageable and appealing. And in a weird way it makes sense that in order to have survived all these years, dragons would have had to evolve into something more human-ish.
5. Is there a certain song you think best suits Firelight?
Well. … I do like Miley Cyrus’s The Climb and listened to it quite a bit in the process of writing Firelight. It kinda captures Firelight in my mind.
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