1. When you were my age (9), did you like to read?
I loved Nancy Drew mysteries and anything that had spooky or eerie elements to it. I also adored Judy Blume’s SUPERFUDGE. But I truly discovered my love of the eerie mingled with fantasy in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien.
2. What was your favorite story?
As a young child, it would be Where The Wild Things Are. As a middle schooler, it would be Judy Blume’s Are You There God. It’s Me, Margaret. And as an adult, there is not doubt my favorite story is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; not spooky, I know. But my love of romance is the flip-side to my creepy, eerie side.
3. How do you get your ideas?
I read. A lot, and of all sorts of subjects. I’m also a people watcher, because people are interesting and where real stories begin. But in all of that I must find something that visually catches my eye. I’m all about physical imagery, a visual writer. Often while writing, I’ll close my eyes to see a scene play out in my head. What were the colors, the smells? What did the characters sound like, and how is their world different from all other worlds? If the sky was blue, I’ll ask myself ‘Does it have to be for this story?’ Playing the ‘what-if’ or the ‘details’ game always generates ideas.
4. What author do you really like right now?
Tough question. I’ve been a fan of Kate DiCamillo and Alice Hoffman for as long as I can remember, so those are a given. For right this moment . . . I’ll go with Jonathan Stroud. I totally heart The Screaming Staircase!
5. Do you have any new or lesser known authors you would suggest?
There are so many talented authors in the kidlit writing community. There’s my fellow @TheSweet16s authors, but in particular my friend Kathleen Burkinshaw, who wrote The Last Cherry Blossom, which is fantastic. And I must give major props to my #SpookyMG author mates from http://www.spookymiddlegrade.com. I can’t choose just one of them. You should read them all! As a matter of fact, we have a Reading Challenge available, where you can win prizes! For a list, feel free to check out our website because spooky books aren’t just for Halloween anymore.
6. What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
Write, often. One way to do that is to keep a journal. You can write your thoughts, story ideas, hopes, fears, or whatever. Even a creative shopping list. It doesn’t matter. Writing is writing.
Remember that writing is subjective. Just because someone doesn’t like what you wrote doesn’t mean it isn’t good or well written. It could simply be their taste in subject.
If you love writing, don’t ever give up.
7. As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?
Yes, and it’s probably the top most exciting thing to happen to me aside from getting married and having my children. Receiving correspondence from readers is like opening up unexpected Christmas presents. I am so grateful that they’ve taken time out of their lives to share in my make believe worlds. I remember shortly after Motley released I was in a local restaurant with my husband and a few friends. A woman walked up to our table and tapped me on the shoulder. She had a little boy with her. He saw me from across the restaurant and recognized me from my author photo in the back of my book. He wanted to tell me he’d read Motley and loved it; he also asked when book two was coming out. My heart practically burst from joy. His words meant the world to me and encouraged me to write the next book, which I recently completed.
Everything inside me is saying ‘any Harry Potter book’. Just imagine how fun that would be! But, when I let my adult brain take over, I think I’d love to drop into Pride and Prejudice. To chat in person with Elizabeth Bennett would be awesome! She’s such a strong female lead. I love her character.
Thank you so much for your interest in Motley Education and for giving me this opportunity! I’m super excited.