Interview with Author Heather Vogel Frederick

Get to know Heather…

After a 20-year career as a journalist, Heather Vogel Frederick decided it was high time to fulfill her lifelong dream of writing fiction for young readers.  Today, she’s the author of two picture books and a dozen novels, including hot-off-the-press HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, the latest installment in her popular mother-daughter book club series. 

Heather’s work spans many genres, from historical fiction to fantasy and contemporary realism, and has been honored both nationally and internationally and translated into numerous languages.  A former staff reporter and children’s book review editor for The Christian Science Monitor, Heather has also written for the New York TimesChildFamily Life, and Publishers Weekly, where she was a contributing editor for many years. For more info, visit her website. 

Let the conversation begin!

Tell us about the book you’re working on.

I’m putting the finishing touches on ONCE UPON A TOAD, a book I have coming out next spring that’s a fun departure for me. It’s a fractured fairy tale inspired by the old French story “Diamonds and Toads.” In my version, though, the good girl gets smacked with the toads while her obnoxious step-sister scores the diamonds.

My main character has an occupationally-challenged fairy godmother who lives in an RV, and there’s a mix up of sorts and suddenly this poor girl starts spouting toads every time she opens her mouth to speak.  Definitely not a cool thing to happen to a sixth grader!

Much hilarity ensues, along with a kidnapping, a road trip, a brush with a government scientist bent on whisking the girls to Area 51—there’s even an Elvis impersonator. Oh, and toads, of course.  Lots of toads.

What is your favorite quote?

“It’s the set of the sail, and not the gale, that determines the way we go.”  This was on an antique sampler at the home of an elderly friend when I was growing up, and I’ve always loved it.  It says so much about persistence (a key quality for writers), and about grace and unflappability in the face of challenges, which we all face in so many arenas in life.  It also reminds me of another favorite quote, this one from Louisa May Alcott:  “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”  I guess I have a nautical theme going here, but perhaps that’s to be expected from the author of THE VOYAGE OF PATIENCE GOODSPEED…

Who inspires you and how are you a bit like them?

My Cousin Dorothy (actually my grandmother’s cousin), who just turned 100.  She still lives on her own, and is sharp as a tack and hilarious.  I love her to pieces.  She’s had an amazing life – she grew up on Nantucket and had grandparents who were born in the 1840s.  She talks of them like they just stepped out of the room.  I find it fascinating – it’s like a bridge to another century.

I could listen to her stories all day.  She walked across the Golden Gate Bridge the day it opened, was shipwrecked in China during World War II, homesteaded on the Olympic Peninsula, was married to her first husband for 30 years and her second for 40, worked a postmistress for a small town and was the first woman transportation director at Yellowstone National Park.  I can only hope to have her zest for life!

What advice would you give to new writers?

Relax. Take your time. Learn your craft. Read like crazy. 

What do you consider to the most valuable thing you own?

Besides my husband? OK, so I don’t own him, but you get the idea.  I have a lovely framed original drawing that Barbara Cooney did for me when I was a little girl.  It was on the wall above my bed when I was growing up, and now it’s on the wall above my desk.  I never get tired of looking at it.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Turn the ringer on the phone off.

What’s the first item on your bucket list?

Yellowstone National Park. Cousin Dorothy can’t believe I’ve never been there!

What book was the easiest to write? Hardest?

I think the first one is the hardest, because you truly have no idea what you’re doing.  I still don’t, but I’ve learned to trust the process.

As for the easiest, ONCE UPON A TOAD, the book I’m finishing up now, was a complete gift.  Seriously, I woke up in the middle of the night with the entire thing in my head, including the title. It was just there. Not that it didn’t take work to get it down on paper, but the way it just flowed—I’m still astonished.

Do you let anyone read your work-in-progress? Or do you keep it a secret? 

I’m a lone wolf when it comes to writing.  I’m not in a critique group (although I enjoy getting together with writer friends now and then to talk shop), nor do I feel the urge to share my work with anyone besides my editor.  Once in a while I’ll tell someone about a work-in-progress, or read the odd bit to my husband.  But for the most part, I’m quiet about it.  It’s not that I’m secretive or superstitious—this is just my process.

Outliner or seat-of-the-pantser?

Almost always a seat-of-the-pantser – I love the giddy rush that comes with sitting down each day and telling myself a story. 

What element would you add to your writing space if money wasn’t an issue?  

Servants.

In grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A writer, an Egyptologist, or a spy. One out of three isn’t bad.

Daily word count?

I don’t pay the slightest attention.

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Author Interview with Hilary Wagner

Hilary Wagner

Get to know Hilary…

Hilary Wagner was born and raised in Chicago. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in fine art. Her paintings have appeared in galleries and exhibitions in New York City and Chicago, where she lives with her husband and two children. Her first book, Nightshade City, launched the Nightshade Chronicles and received wide critical acclaim. Nightshade City is a CBC Best Book of 2011 and a Crystal Kite Finalist.

Hilary also writes for National Geographic School Publishing and has just finished Goblin Shark Rising, a new adventure novel, set for publication in fall of 2012.

You can find Hilary on Twitter and Facebook. Keep up with all her latest news by checking out her blog and the official Nightshade City website for news on her books, events, and booking school visits. 

Let the conversation begin!

Would you rather publish a string of mainstream books or one classic?

I know this is totally cheating, but I’d like to publish a string of mainstream classics. *grins broadly* 

If you could only write one more book, what would it be about?

Right now, I’m writing GOBLIN SHARK RISING, which comes out in fall of 2012. The idea for this book had been rattling around in my head for over a year. I told my publisher’s Editor in Chief about it at a dinner last year when she was in Chicago, and she told me to quit blabbing about the book and start writing it. With this book, not only do I get to write about a city of sharks, but the great city of Tokyo, where the book takes place. It’s been loads of research, but the book is nearly complete!   

I suppose since this is nearly done, it may not count in terms of this question, but I can tell you, Book III of the Nightshade Chronicles has started knocking around in my head as of a few weeks ago. I guess that would be the one more, though I plan on writing at least 50! 

Do you begin with character or plot?

Character, once I create the main characters, the plot seems to build itself around them. 

What book was the easiest to write? Hardest?

Some books have been written faster than others, but none have been necessarily easy–at least not for me! The White Assassin was a tremendous challenge. My editor told me how important this book was and how it needed to be just as special, maybe even more special, than the first book. 

I think a sequel can be more difficult than the first book because readers want to be reminded of the first book, yet they want something entirely new and exciting…not just a continuation. Even though you’re dealing with characters and plots that were in the first book, the second book needs to be standalone great!   

Outliner or seat-of-the-pantser?

What is an outline?? 

Easier to write before or after you were published?

Hmmm…good question! While deadlines can be stressful, you just have to learn to work with them. I think when my editor is waiting on me, I try harder, I even think harder. I know someone is relying on me to do not just a good job, but a great job, not to mention they have given me a contract to do so! Maybe that’s just it, you have to treat it like a job you never want to get fired from! 

What’s one rule you’re dying to break?

All of them! 

Daily word count?

I learned a long time ago that I can’t live by a word count. Some days, I’ll be lucky if I get out one good paragraph, while on other days, I charge through twenty pages at breakneck speed. For me, it’s about the quality of the words. I think sometimes writers are too hard on themselves in terms of word count.  We need to think in terms of quality, not necessarily quantity. I write every day, but sometimes it only one sentence!

About the THE WHITE ASSASSIN:

Book II in the Nightshade Chronicles begins three years after Juniper and his rebel band of rats liberate the Catacombs and defeat their oppressors.

A sense of peace has settled over Nightshade City, but it is a false one. Billycan, the white assassin, has been found. Deep in the southern swamps, he now rules a primitive horde of savage swamp rats eager to overrun Nightshade City and claim it for their king. With the help of an ancient colony of bats and an uneasy alliance with the swamp snakes, Juniper and his Council set out to thwart Billycan’s plans. When an old secret is revealed—one so shocking it shakes both Billycan and Juniper to the core—the fate of Nightshade City and the life of Juniper’s only son depend on Juniper’s decision: should he help his mortal enemy? The past resurfaces with devastating impact in this exciting sequel to Nightshade City, a dark tale of intrigue, deception, and betrayal. 

Nightshade City, Book I of the Nightshade Chronicles is a CBC Best Book of 2011 and a Crystal Kite finalist.

hilary-wagner

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Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author Nikki Grimes

Nikkie GrimesGet to know Nikki…

New York Times bestselling author, Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include ALA Notable book What is Goodbye?, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, the novels Jazmin’s Notebook, Dark Sons, and The Road to Paris (Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books). Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown, Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California. And make sure to check out her new novel, Planet Middle School. For more info, visit her website.

Let the conversation begin! 

Would you rather publish a string of mainstream books or one classic?  

One classic.  

If you could only write one more book, what would it be about?           

It would be my memoir.  By far, the most amazing story I have to tell is my own.  

Do you begin with character or plot? 

I’m definitely a character-driven writer.  My characters speak, and I listen.  They help to guide me to the center of the stories I end up telling about them.  

Tell us about the book you’re working on. 

Mum’s the word.  

What is your favorite quote?       

“I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:12-13.  This covers all the bases.  

What advice would you give to new writers? 

Write, write, write.  And read, read, read.  Read deeply and broadly, and be patient with your writing.  Writing a book is a process.  It takes time.  Don’t worry about the length, either.  A book should be as long as it takes to tell the story—nothing more, nothing less.  

What was the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten? 

Eel, in China. 

What book was the easiest to write?  Hardest? 

Welcome Precious, illustrated by Bryan Collier, nearly wrote itself.  Bronx Masquerade, on the other hand, was a killer.  The toughest part was writing poetry in the voices of my characters, without slipping over into my own voice.  

Do you let anyone read your WIP?

I have a couple of trusted readers.  I’m also part of an arts community where I’ve shared my work and received critique, for over 25 years.  I very much rely on those extra pairs of eyes to help me catch what’s missing, or to see where my story has gone wrong. 

In grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

An author. 

What initially drew you to writing? 

Two things: my love of word play, and my need for a healthy outlet for an explosion of feelings I had no other way to share.  Writing for me, in those early years, was therapy.  As I matured, it became much more.

nikki-grimes

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Author Interview with Robin Carroll

Get to know Robin…

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty years, her three beautiful daughters, one precious grandson, and their four character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else? She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for ACFW. 

Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as RT Reviewer’s Choice, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year. An avid reader herself, Robin loves hearing from and chatting with other readers. Although her favorite genre to read is mystery/suspense, of course, she’ll read just about any good story. Except historicals! To learn more, visit her website.

Let the conversation begin!

Are you an outliner or a seat-of-the-pants writer?

Definitely a seat of the pantster. However, I do an in-depth interview (25 pages) with each primary and secondary character prior to starting to write.

What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?

I love to scrapbook with my kids; I’m a huge movie buff with my husband; and reading a good book tends to relax me enough to recharge. Sometimes just getting outside, alone with Father for prayer.

Are your characters completely fictional?

Ah, trying to get me in trouble? LOL. Seriously, most all of my characters have some little quirk or something “borrowed” from someone I know. For instance, in Fear No Evil, the heroine “rocks” herself. My oldest sister does that and always has. Annoys me silly, but it worked great for my character. Annoyed the hero just enough…

Where do you get your ideas?

Wow, where DON’T I get ideas? From the newspaper, special reporting shows like Primetime and 60 Minutes, the airport where I’m an unabashed eavesdropper…

What initially drew you to writing?

My mother loves to tell people that I was making up stories from the time I could talk. I don’t know about that, but as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to read to visit a new and different place.

How many words do you write each day?
I don’t have a set word count each day, unless I’m on tight deadline. But I average about 2,000-5,000 a day.

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Author Interview with Shannon Messenger

Keeper of the Lost CitiesGet to know Shannon…

Shannon Messenger may have studied film and television production at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, but she was always a bit of an odd fit for Hollywood. Her screenplays were about boy bands and stuffed animals coming to life and lonely tumbleweeds finding true love, and her professors never quite knew what to make of them. So after a year trying to find her niche in television, she finally discovered that it made much more sense for her to try writing books for children. After all, she still watches cartoons, regularly eats candy or cupcakes for lunch, and cannot sleep without her bright blue stuffed elephant named Ella.

She currently lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and an embarrassing number of cats. KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES is her first novel, book one in a middle grade series launching Fall 2012 from Simon & Schuster (Aladdin). She is also one of the founding members of WriteOnCon, a free online Writer’s Conference for kidlit writers. To learn more, visit her blogFacebook, or on Twitter. 

Let the conversation begin!

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Honestly, it sounds really obvious—but the best advice was something an author friend shared with me, long before I was published (before I even had an agent). She said to treat writing like a career. Set deadlines—and force myself to stick to them. Write through the bad days and roadblocks in the draft. Find critique partners who would push me to refine my craft. And above all else: keep writing. It’s never too soon to start acting like a professional. 

Are you an outliner or a seat-of-the-pants writer?

I’m actually a “connect-the-dotser.”  I can’t work from a rigid outline—it sucks all the life right out of the story. But if I completely pantsed the draft, I would never find my way through the chaos. So I brainstorm until I know the beginning, ending, and at least 3 or 4 major turning points. Then I free-write the draft, connecting all those key moments together.

When are you the most productive?

Definitely night. Mornings and afternoons have too many distractions: emails I have to answer, calls I have to make, errands I need to run. When I’m on a deadline I’ll work all day, every day if I have to. But when I’m not on any specific sort of timeline, I won’t usually dive into writing until after dinner, and then I work until 1 or 2am. Sometimes later, if I’m on a roll. I’ve even been known to pull an all-nighter, if I’m at a crucial point in the story and want to get it down before I lose the momentum. 

Do you let anyone read your WIP?

I’m very selective about who I let read my work—especially when it’s in progress, because my early drafts are … embarrassingly rough. But I have The Sara(h)s, two of my critique partners who’ve been working with me for a while now, and they’ve seen enough of my lame mistakes and plot holes that I’ve gotten to a point where I’m comfortable sending them a chapter as soon as I finish. But they know that at that stage I’m only looking for big picture notes (does the world make sense? Were these good decisions? Am I straying off course? Are the characters likeable? Etc.) and that the bulk of their job is to be my cheerleaders and not let me give up on the project when it gets hard. They can rip the draft to shreds once I’m ready to revise (and they do, believe me). 

Do you begin with character or plot?

My stories always start with characters, which tend to come to me fully formed, with very strong voices. They basically take over my life and refuse to go away, and the longer they hang around, the more interested I get, until I HAVE to put their voices on paper. And yes, I realize how crazy that sounds. But most writers have a little bit of the crazy going on. It’s what makes us who we are.  

What’s one rule you’re dying to break?

It’s actually a rule I’m *hopefully* in the process of breaking right now. There is a LOT of information out there online about word count in children’s literature, and most of it says that middle grade novels should never, ever, EVER be longer than a certain number of words. And…mine is longer. Don’t get me wrong—it’s not world record length or anything. But it definitely breaks that rule. And I had some people tell me it would be hard to land an agent based on the word count of my book. When I got one, those same people said the book would never sell. But it did—to an awesome editor who’s not concerned at all about the length. So I guess the last hurdle will be to see if middle grade readers are scared away by a slightly thicker book. But considering how many kids devour brick thick books these days (take a look at how thick the most popular series are) I’m not too worried about it.

Tell us about the book you’re working on.

I’m actually at the copyedit stage of KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, book one in a middle grade fantasy series launching Fall 2012 from Simon & Schuster (Aladdin). It’s about a twelve-year-old  girl who has always been different – she’s years ahead of the other kids in school and can read minds. She’s always assumed there’s some kind of logical explanation for her talents, but when she meets an adorable and mysterious boy, she finds out the shocking truth. She’s never felt at home because she, well, … isn’t. There are secrets buried deep in her memory, secrets about her true identity and why she was hidden among humans, that others desperately want and would even kill for. And she must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.

Shannon Messenger

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Author Interview with Laurel Snyder

LaurelGet to know Laurel…

Laurel Snyder is the author of picture books (like Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher) and middle grade novels (like Bigger than a Bread Box). She also writes poems. Originally from Baltimore, she now lives in Atlanta, in a small house full of boys. To learn more, visit Laurel here!

Let the conversation begin!

Would you rather publish a string of mainstream books or one classic? 

An actual classic?  No contest.  I’d settle for one lasting poem.  Or I’d settle for one book that somebody thinks is absolutely perfect. In the meantime, I’ll keep scribbling imperfectly along. 

If you could only write one more book, what would it be about? 

The book I’m writing now, I guess. I hate not finishing things.  But beyond that, I want to write a book about faith. Only I can’t figure out how to do that, because I’m not sure what it is, exactly… 

Do you begin with character or plot? 

Character, almost always. It’s like I start the seed, and then, when it’s just a thin little vine, I set up the plot as a scaffold, and the character grows against the scaffold. Make sense? 

Tell us about the book you’re working on. 

It’s a middle grade novel, a companion to Bigger than a Bread Box.  It follows the mother of the main character from Bread Box, Annie, when she was 12 (in 1937).  Naturally she falls back in time to 1937 and meets her own grandmother as a kid.  I just pushed the deadline WAY back. It turns out time travel I REALLY HARD. 

What is your favorite quote? 

“Your language becomes clear and strong not when you can no longer add, but when you can no longer take away.” 

That’s Isaac Babel.  I keep it above my desk, always. I love it partly because I think it’s true, and a good reminder, and partly because I learned it from one of my best friends, an author named Thisbe Nissen. Every time I read it, I’m back in Iowa, in 2000, with a glass of wine in my hand, talking about the books I plan to write someday. 

Describe your perfect day. 

Sleep in a little, maybe until 8, because my kids have magically overslept too.  Find that my husband has made the coffee. Get back in bed with coffee and the kids, snuggle.  Rise at 9 to eat a hard boiled egg, some fruit, and a Stella D’Oro.  When the kids magically disappear to someplace safe but far away, sit down to write. Write. Write more. Manage to avoid Twitter and Facebook and Email. Write a good 2000 words of SHEER BRILLIANCE.  Read some poems on the couch.  Find that a magical sandwich has arrived at the door, along with a friend I haven’t seen in awhile. Eat the sandwich while catching up. Having accomplished amazing amounts, allow myself to check email and Twitter and discover that my friends are all happy and healthy.  Shower.  Dress.  Read back over what I’ve written. Feel good about it.  Just as I’m finishing, look up to see the kids have returned, smiling.  Spend an hour in the yard, watching them play.  Come inside when husband arrives home.  Say hello.  Go for  a walk with everyone. Return to find the house has picked itself up. Make a simple and delicious meal while listening to NPR (either that, or Indian food magically arrives on doorstep).  Read to kids for a short time until they fall asleep. Go out for a drink in an actual bar, or maybe sit on the porch with a bourbon that will not give me a hangover.  

It’s either that or a day of wandering around in New York with my best friend, Susan.  I miss her. 

What was the best thing that happened to you this weekend? 

I went to a wonderful birthday party for a six year old friend of mine, at the community garden.  Every birthday should have chickens, I think. 

Who inspires you and how are you a bit like them? 

My sister inspires me.  I’m a lot like her, but not in the ways I find inspiring.  She’s thoughtful.  She’s a watcher. She has more integrity than anyone I know. 

If you were an animal, who would you be? 

I’d be a bird. I flit. Or maybe a spider monkey. 

Where do you get your ideas? 

Well, if I could figure that out I’d be more productive. I honestly don’t know.   But I know they only come together when I manage to be alone. That’s hard for me. 

Advice for new writers? 

Be alone. Seek out solitude—which is hard today. Listen to that silence. Don’t be afraid to fail. Challenge yourself to read books you don’t like or understand. Reach. 

LaurelSnyderWhat was the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten? 

Eggs. Eggs are weird. I mean, really? Who figured that out? 

What do you consider to the most valuable thing you own? 

I’d say my kids, but I don’t exactly own them. My health? Does that count? 

Best writing advice you’ve ever received? 

“You are what you eat.” My friend, Karri, taught me that. A writer should be reading new work, always. Not just what feels comfortable. 

What one word describes you? 

Uncensored. 

What would you like your life to look like in ten years? 

The same, but with a second bathroom, and a cure for arthritis. I have RA.

Most embarrassing moment? 

I can’t repeat that here. I’ll just say I have had my share. Did I mention I’m generally uncensored? 

What’s the first item on your bucket list? 

I don’t have a bucket list. I really pretty much live my bucket list.  I’m lucky that way. 

The work is done. How do you recharge? 

The work is never done. I have two kids who are four and five, so I write in my “down time.” And I always have about 17 projects on the back-burner. But at night, once I’m too tired to do anything else, I often watch very very bad television. 

What book was the easiest to write? Hardest? 

The easiest book I’ve written is a board book called Nosh Schlep Schluff. It’s a tiny thing, and I wrote it in an email. I couldn’t believe it when I managed to sell it. Does that count? 

The hardest is the one I’m writing now, in terms of WORK. But emotionally, the last one took a massive toll, Bigger than a Bread Box. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to writing my own story down, and it made me cry daily.  I basically relived my parents divorce. 

Do you let anyone read your work-in-progress?

Oh, sure. I share with anyone who can help me. I’m not a private person. 

Outliner or seat-of-the-pantser? 

I’m an outliner, more and more. But not with poetry. 

What element would you add to your writing space if money wasn’t an issue?

A bathroom. I write in the shed. 

How long do you take to write a book? 

A novel? About a year. But I’d rather go slower. 

In grade school, what’d you want to be when you grew up? 

A children’s author, believe it or not. I think I’m the only person  I know who grew up to be their childhood dream, exactly. 

Easier to write before or after you were published? 

The same. I just write. I write a lot that I don’t publish. 

Earliest childhood memory? 

Oh, wow. I don’t know.  There was a blueberry ice cream cone that fell… 

What is your secret talent? 

I don’t have secrets…  

What’s one rule you’re dying to break? 

I generally break them. Do you mean as a writer? I’d like to write a book of poems both groundbreaking and thoroughly accessible. But I don’t think there is such a thing, sadly. 

If this was your last day on Earth, what would you do? 

You mean besides freaking out about it being MY LAST DAY ON EARTH? Wander around the house with my family. Eat whatever I wanted.  Not clean. Hug a lot, I guess.  

What initially drew you to writing? 

I am a complete extrovert. The page is a person I can always talk to.  Writing means I’m never ever alone. 

If you could spend a vacation with three authors, who would they be? 

Published authors? Only three? I guess… Thisbe Nissen, Rachel Zucker, Marc Fitten.  They’re the first three who come to mind. I like my friends far better than famous people I haven’t met. 

Daily word count? 

Every day is different. I like it like that. 

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Author Interview with Keri Mikulski

stealing-basesGet to know Keri…

Keri Mikulski is the author of HEAD GAMES (Razorbill/Penguin, January 6th, 2011), Pretty Tough Books 4-6 (Penguin/Razorbill, 2011-2012), SCREWBALL (The National Writing for Children Center’s 2008 Summer Young Adult Pick), and its sequel, CHANGE UP (a 2009 Cybil Nominee). To learn more, visit her website!

Let the conversation begin!

How many words do you write each day?

Hmm… Instead of words, I usually go by hours. When I’m on deadline, I write for about five to ten hours a day. When I’m not on deadline and working on other projects, it’s more like five to six hours a day.

Are you an outliner or a seat-of-the-pants writer?

I used to be a seat-of-the-pants writer. However, my editor quickly pointed out that I really need to plan. Now, I’m more of a planner.

What do you do to recharge your creative batteries? 

Definitely sports. I love to play sports. Whether I’m running, playing soccer, or hallway hockey with my daughter, it’s a definite recharge. 

Are you characters completely fictional? 

Each one of my characters is a little piece of someone I know added with a lot of my imagination. 

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received? 

Control what you can control–the writing. And keep writing! 

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