A: Completely by accident! if I look at my entire career as a copywriter, I might have seen a thread. My favorite projects involved creating an online teen magazine from scratch and writing, directing and producing over a hundred teen radio spots for a theme park one year. My short story narrators were often young, and I have always written little books for my nephews, but I always thought of that as a hobby. As it turns out, I love writing for children. I’ve always loved it. But when I finally sat down and wrote a book, I just wrote the story. It wasn’t intended for young adults, specifically.
Q: What are the things you’re most proud of having written, from any time in your life?
A: I‘ve been in advertising for over fifteen years, so I researched a lot of weird things for that. Boots, tractors, printing presses, pickles. Giving myself a crash course in string theory was pretty interesting. Right now, though, I’m diving into a combination of ornithology, how to become a master perfumist, the science of scent and the afterlife. All of those, in combination, could keep me going for years. I adore learning new things! Especially the sciences.
Q: How do outside forces or the arts influence or shape your writing?
A: See above! No, really, this is my favorite part about writing novel-length works. Once I start building the world, it’s like my antennae is fine-tuned. All of a sudden, everything around me is part of the story. I’m writing about sparrows and I meet an amateur ornithologist. I write about an all-girl garage band in Paris and a DJ appears in a new social circle of friends who spins French Pop Music. Art and music are a part of my life, so they’re a part of my stories. I also love how, when you dedicate yourself to a story, the world rises up to meet you. Whether it’s the perfect song on the radio or that bird perched on your ledge, once you create the story, it show up. All around you.
Q: How do you take risks with your writing?
A: Sitting down and actually writing is the biggest risk of all. Making the time, choosing one story over another – and then dedicating yourself to it – it takes guts. Because at some point, you’re going to face yourself on the page. And digging in as opposed to running away? That’s risk. Sticking with the story and seeing it through, showing up when you’d rather run away to Costa Rica, these are the things of which merit badges are made. I also like high concept books, a huge cast of characters and oodles of imagination. These things aren’t always popular. So trusting my heart and doing it, anyway, may be the biggest risk of all.
A: Dig in, find the stuff of your heart, and bring it out to play.
Q: Why do you write?
Sushi! My favorite food was always finger food, so I was thrilled when the Japanese version appeared.
Fun! Let me take my laptop into the bedroom. Beware, my stack is always huge:
Q: What’s next for you?
A: Thanks for asking! I’m currently working on another novel – it’s a stand alone, not a sequel – and a super-secret top-secret project. Let’s just say that one involves birds, Paris and perfume, and the other is more in the planet/animal realm. What am I saying? Animals always sneak into my stories. Along with music. I’m so excited about these two stories and feel like the luckiest girl in the world every moment I spend with them. Since TTOE comes out in July, I’m also looking forward to meeting and talking with readers. I worked on it alone for such a long time. It feels surreal to have it out in the world! But it also feels great. Sharing a shaman panda with people? I’m pretty proud of that. 🙂