1. Can you tell us a bit more about how you became a writer?
When I was little, I wrote poems in notebooks to vent my emotions. In eighth grade, I read a ton of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, so I tried to write a horrible novel,Bloody Revenge, about parents who kept trying (and failing) to kill each other. I passed a few chapters around my Catholic school classroom, and my classmates begged to know what happened next. I remember feeling frustrated; how was I supposed to know what happened next? I had no idea how to structure a longer narrative at that age, so I quit and went back to poems.
Over the years, I wrote manuscripts as I finished college, taught high school English, and started a family, but I kept my creative writing private. When my children were older, I realized it was time to focus on writing professionally and seeking publication.
2. Was it difficult for the first book to find a publisher?
CONSIDER found a publisher through #PITMAD on Twitter, a quarterly event where writers can tweet a pitch of their finished manuscript and agents and editors can favorite it. My tweet was “If a hologram said it could save your life, would you believe it?” After sending the full manuscript to Jolly Fish Press, ten days later I got an offer for a two-book publishing deal. I had only queried two other places, and one of those publishers had also been interested. It helped that CONSIDER won the 2015 PEN New England Children’s Book Discovery Award and was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award for distinguished science fiction.
But what looks like “quick” success, isn’t. CONSIDER and CONTRIBUTE might be my first published book series, but I wrote other manuscripts beforehand that didn’t find publishers. Writing and publishing are an accumulation of years of hard work for me, and my career is just beginning. I have many more stories that I want to write.
3. Could you describe literature in three words?
Connection, adventure, escape.
4. Is there a book you would never read? Why?
Moby Dick. My hometown is known as the “Whaling City,” my high school mascot was a Whaler, andMoby Dick is read annually in the community. I have no interest in reading about a guy who can’t stop hunting an animal. Whales are amazing, majestic creatures. Give it up, dude.
5. What’s your favorite book?
Nope. Trick question. That’s like choosing a favorite child.
6. Favorite quote?
One of my favorite quotes is „Out, damned spot! Out, I say!“ from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Sometimes I say it when doing laundry.
7. EBooks or paper print?
Paper print. I like to hold the adventure in my hands, hear the pages turn, and place it near my bed with a bookmark for tomorrow. Books are substantial. I think they should have weight and texture and space in our lives. Plus, a collection of ebooks could be easily edited or deleted by an outside source. Hello,1984.
8. What inspires you?
Falling into a good book. Watching a great performance. Seeing my daughters grow up. Searching for rainbows after a storm. Admiring the ocean. Listening to life. Worrying about the future of humanity. You know, small things.
9. Imagine you were given the opportunity to meet a book character in real life. Who would that be?
Jane Eyre. I’d like to ask her if she’s happy.
10. What’s your worst nightmare?
I have a reoccurring nightmare of the world flooding around me, and I have to climb up the side of skyscrapers with my children on my back. Yeah, scary. I usually have this dream when grades are closing, and I am drowning in paperwork from teaching high school English.
11. The best decision of your life was?
Focusing on school since my home life was unstable. It would’ve been so easy to do the opposite. I always saw education as an escape.
12. I can’t wait to read your next book. Are you currently working on a project? Is there any release date to reveal?
I am currently working on two secret projects, a young adult science fiction about genetics, and my first middle-grade contemporary project. Stay tuned!