Foto: Katie Murray, Okemos Photography
Can you tell us a bit more about how you became a writer?
I’ve read for comfort all my life, but a few years ago, I was going through a really difficult time, and it wasn’t enough to get lost in other people’s words anymore. I needed to vanish into my own stories. It was healing to live in an entirely happy place for a little while.
Was it difficult for the first book to find a publisher?
Well…it felt really difficult at the time. It took me about four months to get an agent and another six months to get the book deal, which is not so long compared to what a lot of authors go through. But I still heard a lot of no’s and that was incredibly discouraging.
Could you describe literature in three words?
My happy place.
Is there a book you would never read? Why?
I never read books with sexual violence. I know these sorts of stories can be important for many survivors – both as writers and readers – but it’s just not something I want in my head.
What’s your favorite book ? Favorite quote?
Oh…so many favorite books, but my favorite of all time might be Anne of the Island by the Canadian writer L.M. Montgomery. The love story there definitely inspired Evie and Caleb’s relationship in my own book.
My favorite quotes mostly come from poems. There’s a line from John Donne’s poem, A Valediction Forbidding Mourning, that I love so much I put it in my debut: “Thy firmness makes my circle just/And makes me end where I begun.” I love the mathematical metaphor of the compass, and this idea of someone you love steadying you as you move through the world is magical.
EBooks or paper print?
Print—except when I’m traveling.
What inspires you?
This might be weird for a rom-com writer, but I get a lot of inspiration from non-fiction. I love going down weird little rabbit holes of topics like quantum physics, magic and chemistry and thinking about what it would be like to set a romance in those worlds.
Imagine you were given the opportunity to meet a book character in real life. Who would that be?
Probably Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. (I know it’s cheating to name three, but I can’t imagine any one of them showing up alone.) These women know what’s up and I could for sure use their guidance.
What’s your worst nightmare?
Anything that would harm my two daughters.
The best decision of your life was?
Probably going to college at Northwestern University. Almost every good thing in my life came out of that in one way or another.
I can’t wait to read your next book. Are you currently working on a project? Is there any release date to reveal?
Yes! My next YA rom-com will be out in Fall 2021. Lia and Beckett’s Abracadabra is a Romeo-and-Juliet-inspired story set in a magic-themed resort town with illusions instead of duels and a happy ending instead of death.
My middle-grade debut, Summer of Brave, comes out in Spring 2021 and follows twelve-year-old Lilla as she learns to tell the truth about how she feels in the face of her parents’ divorce, academic pressure, and being a girl in the world.