I am really glad you’ve accepted my interview. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Can you tell us a bit more about how you became a writer?
My career background is actually in journalism. I worked as a newspaper reporter for many years, but got into creative writing after my children were born and I was no longer working full time. Growing up, I was always creating characters and stories, and I was so grateful to be able to return to my love of writing! So, I decided to try writing young adult novels, and I got hooked!
Was it difficult for the first book to find a publisher?
SCARS LIKE WINGS actually sold in three days to my U.S. publisher, and then almost immediately to almost 20 publishers worldwide. It was a whirlwind! But, of course, there were many years of writing and rewriting my novels and then pitching to agents to find the right person to represent my work. Getting published is definitely a career that takes a lot of patience and belief that the world needs your words!
Could you describe literature in three words?
Only three!? OK, how about “writing worth reading.”
Is there a book you would never read? Why?
I always like to leave a book having learned something about myself or the world. So if a book isn’t doing that for me, I would definitely put it down. There are so many wonderful journeys to take in literature, it’s OK to be choosey! But I would never say no to a book before I’ve given it a try. Some of my favorite books are ones I didn’t think I’d like.
What’s your favorite book?
Oh, I have so many favorites that it’s hard to pin down just one. When I was younger, I loved Little Women. Now, I read a lot of contemporary novels, like The Fault in Our Stars or Wonder, that help us see the world from another perspective. I always love a book with relatable characters doing ordinary things in extraordinary ways.
EBooks or paper print?
E-books are so convenient and great for travel, but nothing beats curling up with a real book and the feel of turning pages (or the smell of a new book!).
What inspires you?
Books, of course, always inspire me. They help me be a better writer and help me think outside my own life experience. In life, I am always inspired by nature. Often, when I’m stuck on a scene or a plot problem, just getting outside can help clear my head enough that I can see my way forward.
Imagine you were given the opportunity to meet a book character in real life. Who would that be?
Is it cheating to say one of my own characters? I’d love to meet Asad from SCARS LIKE WINGS. I loved writing his character so much! He’s just so kind and funny and full of life. From a book not my own, I’d love to meet Jo March from Little Women. Growing up, I identified with her so much from her impulsive nature to her love of writing. I feel like we could be good friends!
What’s your worst nightmare?
Definitely being trapped anywhere. Like the thought of being buried alive is THE WORST!
The best decision of your life was?
Marrying my husband. That’s so cheesy, I know, but it’s true. Having a partner that supports my wild dreams is critical to any success or happiness I have found in this life. I definitely couldn’t do it without him.
I can’t wait to read your next book. Are you currently working on a project? Is there any release date to reveal?
Yes! I’m working on my next book, which is another young adult contemporary, totally unrelated to SCARS LIKE WINGS. The book is about living with mental health issues and is based on my own experience with anxiety. I read so many books (great ones!) about heavier-hitting mental health issues, but I felt like there wasn’t much out there for kind of generalized anxiety and everyday battles against the what-if monster. With social media and all the intense pressure on teens today, I think we need to look at what anxiety is doing to this generation and how many are suffering silently. The projected date is fall 2021, but stay tuned!