Why did you decide to write YA?
I’m unleashing my sarcastic inner teenager. She just would not shut up.
Is The Sweetest Dark Series connected to the Drákon Series?
Yup. But only distantly. The Sweetest Dark Series is very stand-alone: all new characters, setting, etc. So it’s not necessary to have read any of the other books to plunge into this one. I know writers say that a lot but I mean it. Really. You can trust me.
What’s the order of the books?
The Sweetest Dark Series starts with, of course, The Sweetest Dark. The second book in this series is The Deepest Night, and the third book is The Fiercest Joy.
The order of the books in the Drákon Series is: The Smoke Thief, The Dream Thief, Queen of Dragons, The Treasure Keeper and The Time Weaver.
What’s your inspiration?
I have to get these voices out of my head!!
Oh, you wanted a real answer? I love writing stories. I LOVE IT. I can’t stop. Plus, I’m always thinking, “What if...?” It makes my friends roll their eyes because no matter how improbable a situation (in real life or movies, whatever) I always have some sort of implausible—but not impossible—reason why things are the way they are. It’s fun. For me, at least.
How many hours do you write every day?
It depends. I could lie and tell you I adhere to a highly disciplined, impressively strict writing schedule that allows for only a lean lunch of egg whites and protein shakes and timed bathroom breaks...but I don’t.
I walk around the house and talk out scenes to myself. : I stop and play with my pets. I forage for leftover pizza or whatever else I can find in the fridge, but I don’t eat over the keyboard, because crumbs muck up the keys.
I’m very much a go-with-the-flow sort of person. It works for me. It might not for you.
Do you pick your covers?
No. I consider myself very, very lucky because I’ve gotten such fabulous covers over the years, but the truth is, very few traditionally published authors have a lot of input on the covers of their books. I’ve been able to ask for some tweaks, but that’s about it.
That said, I’m totally excited about the covers in The Sweetest Dark Series. They’re stunning.
How can I get published?
First, write a story. A really good story. I’m not kidding. If what you’ve written doesn’t suck you in—even though you created it—it’s not good enough.
Polish your story. Check your spelling, formatting, clarity. Then check it all again.
Then get an agent. Don’t skip this step. Just suck it up and get an agent; they will be your business partner and your advocate and yes, you really do need them. Find your agent by combing a guide to literary agents (Library! Bookstore!) and picking out the ones that suit you and your work best. Don’t try to wheedle your way into an agency that specializes in, say, Post-Apocalyptic Chilean Suburban Literature (that may be a thing; I honestly don’t know) when you have written a moving tale about an adorable kitten and its best friend, a fuzzy duckling. You will be wasting your time and theirs, and agents really don’t appreciate that.
Whatever the submission guidelines are for that particular agent/agency, follow them. Don’t think it’ll be cute or attention-grabbing to ignore their rules; again, they don’t appreciate that.
After you have landed your agent, they will submit your manuscript to the publishing house/line/editor they feel will be the best fit for your voice. See what I mean about having an agent? You don’t even have to worry about this part. Plus, when your work is repped by a legitimate agent, you’ve suddenly got tons of credibility.
Or: ignore everything I’ve just said and do it your way, whatever that may be. There are no absolutes in this industry.
Can I send you my story?
I’m really sorry, but I honestly don’t have time to read what everyone wants to send me. And the lawyers tend to get fidgety about it, anyway. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t care about you or your writing, and it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t seek out support specifically geared toward writers, like a genre-specific organization or critique group. (If I’m going to be absolutely honest here, I must own to the fact that I never had anyone but my mom read my early efforts. Instead of taking the time to garner educated opinions, I just flung my raw manuscripts out into the wilds of Manhattan and hoped for the best. Years of that finally landed me an agent and a book deal. It may not be the best way to go.)
Where do you live?
Colorado. It’s cold and snowy. Unless it’s hot and dry. Everyone here is super fit and sporty and they all drink things like rice milk instead of real milk and will tell you that kombucha is delicious, which is a filthy lie, because kombucha is, in fact, disgusting.
(For all of you shaking your fists at me right and now and swearing that I’m wrong about kombucha: No, YOU’RE wrong. Shut up.)
It all makes me so, so sad. Please buy my books so I can move to a tiki hut somewhere in the South Pacific.
How many pets do you have?
The answer is constantly changing! I always have several rescued house rabbits at any given time, and now there are a couple of cats in the mix, plus around three dozen giant, sassy goldfish who live in a pond on my porch. (Just like the rabbits and the cats, the goldfish are also rescues, although frankly they give me a lot of baleful looks and they’ve never once bothered to say thanks.)
Seriously, I am an all-out advocate for animal rescue. Save a life if you can and adopt from your local shelter or rescue group. And if you want to learn more about how awesome bunnies are as house pets for a select group of very special people, go to www.rabbit.org.