- When you were my age (11), did you like to read?
Honestly, not at that point. I had such a hard time finding books that I enjoyed. The Harry Potter series actually was the first one to rope me into being a big reader. Specifically, Prisoner of Azkaban, with all of its great plot twists and hidden identities.
- What is a book that made an impact on you?
I always like to say that every book I read impacts me. Great books teach me new things about being a writer. I get to learn how other authors are ending chapters or pulling off climactic moments. Reading is like taking a class from the greats. And then books I don’t like? Those teach me what I don’t want to do. Nothing is wasted.
- Is it hard to come up with book ideas?
This is the part that comes easy for me. My brain is just a weird one. So I’m always looking around our world and seeing different angles, figuring out how to tell new stories from things that seem normal or old.
- You write series. Is it hard to keep track of details between books?
Not really for me! It is an art, though, to making sure your readers can keep track of things. That’s why in a lot of sequels, you’ll see authors doing their best to remind the reader of certain things to catch them back up. For us, we’re often writing the sequel right after we finish book one. So most of it is fresh.
- Is there a new or lesser known author you think kids should be aware of?
I always hesitate to say “lesser known” but in terms of authors I think every young reader should know right now: Jason Reynolds, Elizabeth Acevedo, Kwame Mbalia, Leigh Bardugo, Ali Standish, and Nic Stone. These are just a few of my favorites, though most of them are in young adult.
- What advice do you have for a kid who wants to be an author?
My advice is always the same. Spend time writing. You can’t get better at anything without repetition and practice. Read widely. And lastly, do your best to find a writing community. Other authors can sharpen up your skills. Plus, it’s just fun to be around people who love to read and write as much as you do.
- As an author, do you hear from your readers? What do you like about that?
I do hear from my readers a good amount. It’s fantastic. It reminds us that our books do find a home, and how meaningful it is. The only negative side of that is sometimes we get tagged in harsh reviews. I don’t know any author who likes that part of the job.
- If you could portal into any book (yours or another person’s), what book would it be?
I’m a prisoner of the moment, and I just finished The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Her writing is so gorgeous and she makes ancient Greece feel alive and dangerous. I think I’d want to jump into that world and meet some of the famous characters from literature and history.