the young adult series, Queen Geek Social
Club (Penguin/Berkley Jam), which includes
the novels Queen Geeks in Love and Prom
Queen Geeks. She has also won a Kurt
Vonnegut Fiction Prize, and has been
published in North American Review, Hysteria,
and NEA Today.
What inspires you to write?
I’m inspired by students. As a long-time teacher, I observe teenagers because they are still open and honest about what they think and feel and dream. They haven’t learned to filter everything through their ‘adult’ filter, so their reactions and comments are often more off-the-cuff and honest, which gives real insight into what’s going on with them. I’m also inspired by nature (especially forests and rivers), and music.
Tell us about your writing process.
I have a lovely little office with great light and pieces of art and artifacts of world religions, because I feel like those things bring peace and serenity to my space. I need quiet to write, or I need abstract noise; I can write in my quiet office or in a noisy coffee shop, but not at the kitchen table when my family is around. I write a bit in a day, then the next day, start with reading what I wrote the day before.
I’m not much of an outliner, which is true of my life in general. I wish I were more organized, but I’m not. The only thing I plan is on large sheets of paper if I’m trying to track multiple story lines.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I pretend like I’m interviewing my characters, or having a conversation with them. They often say and do things I don’t want, or that I don’t plan. I try to let them be as organic as possible, and to pay attention to what they want to do and say.
Sometimes, I find it hard to put my characters into harm’s way. I get stuck at points where the ones I like are going to have trouble.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read what you’d like to write. Read for pleasure, and then read again to analyze what the writer did. And try not to get discouraged. It’s so easy. Find a community of truth tellers.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
My first three were traditionally published by Penguin; the last one, OUT, I self published with the help of my literary agent. The decision? I wanted more control of OUT. It was controversial and many editors liked it but wanted to change what I thought were key elements, so I opted to publish myself.
I think publishing is changing every day. I don’t know what will happen, and I don’t know how writers will fare. I know the world will always needs writers, but I don’t know what that life will look like in the future.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Dense, unseeable, mountain of doom, but there might be a golden ring somewhere.
What do you use?
What genres do you write?
Young adult, literary, sci fi
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print