Tell us about your family
My husband, Mike, and I had five children between us when we married twelve years ago. Together, we have a son, Alex, and a daughter, Annie. All of my grown children are writers of either fiction or poetry. I just love that about them! The younger kids love stories of all kinds, so I guess a Young Adult novel just seemed like a natural next step as a writer. I’ve had four teenaged daughters, and every one of them has enjoyed middle-grade and young adult fiction.
Why do you write?
I’ve always been a writer, so I am not sure why I write. It’s just always been a part of me. Recently, I answered this question by remembering that my parents and grandparents, all of them, were great readers. My aunts and uncles always wanted to know what I was reading. Surrounded by so many books, maybe I just thought, well, someone has to write these stories. It might as well be me!
What books did you love growing up?
I read C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series so many times, I lost count. As I got into high school, I started to read the classics. I settled on Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald by senior year. It’s fun to watch people get interested in the literature of the 1920’s and ‘30’s again. It seems like it’s coming back in a big way. I think there’s a lot about that period that speaks to us and teaches us right now.
What book genre do you adore?
I’m enjoying paranormal young adult fiction set in the American south. I know that’s a very specific “genre,” but I think I see a trend developing with the popularity of Beautiful Creatures and the success of some other series I’m following. I wrote about this trend recently in a blog post.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing.
Tell us where you grew up and where you now live. I was a Navy brat growing up. I really liked moving every two years or so: I always felt like it was a fresh start and an opportunity to redefine myself. I also wrote a LOT of letters growing up, keeping up with family and friends in the places we left behind. I think that’s part of the reason it feels natural to tell stories now.
How do you develop your writing?
By writing. It’s true: I still go back to old manuscripts that I have not yet published and edit them. It’s humbling and tedious, and, yet, I think it makes me stronger. And, it can also be cool to see errors that were once common in my writing that I now know enough to avoid even in a first draft.
Every writer has his/her own idea of what a successful writing career is. What does success in writing look like to you?
People reading my stories and engaging with them. I don’t necessarily want all my readers to love the books; I’d rather that my stories make you think. Some of the stories that I have found most thought-provoking were books I would not care to read again. Others I love to revisit, over and over. Of course I want some readers who re-read my stories, but it’s ok with me if not everyone likes them that much. What I would hope is that even if you didn’t care for my story, you found something in it that you had not seen before.
Tell us about your book. What is it about and why did you write it?
Open Door is about making choices and the reasons for making them. In some ways, it’s about not just accepting what’s given to you because you feel you have no choice. I get to develop that idea more in book two and three of the series, but Open Door sets up those issues. I wrote the book because my daughters were reading Young Adult fiction and I wanted to write in that genre. I did not, however, want to write about vampires. I’d always liked traditional, gothic tales about rambling mansions and supernatural forces, so I developed an idea along those lines.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I love a good movie, like Side Effects or The King’s Speech. I also enjoy following a great TV series. Right now, we love “Under the Dome.” Watching “Hemlock Grove” on Netflix was great, too. But Mike and I still have young children, so some weekends we just have a wonderful time hanging out at the Little Rock Zoo or the River Market.
How do you feel about websites like Facebook and twitter? Are they a good thing?
The internet is a wonderful thing, and twitter and Facebook have opened doors for me that I never could have found otherwise. I cannot imagine what it might have been like to be able to just go one Facebook, like an author’s page, and interact with her there. What a thrill that would have been for me as a kid!
How do you think people perceive writers?
This always makes me laugh, because when I was just out of college and people heard I was writing a book, sometimes they would ask, “Am I in it?!” like they feared I would come out with the next Peyton Place. The following response, after I reassured them that no, they were not in it, was often, “You know, I’ve always wanted to write a book.” So I guess that I think most people see writing as something they could do if only they had the time. And, I think it sometimes makes people a little nervous to be around those who actually make the time.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Young Adult
Rating – PG/PG13