How would you describe your books?
My books are choose-your-adventure stories aimed at 8-12-year-old girls. The reader is the main character. But instead of getting to the end of a chapter and making a random choice, you are asked to take a personality quiz, which decides which chapter you go to next. So the way the story goes depends on the reader's personality. You get to see what could happen based on choices you would make in real life. (For example, in Your Life, but Better, you're approached by a model scout in the mall about doing a photo shoot. If you're a risk taker, you might go for it right away. But if you're a little more cautious, you might take some time to think about it.) My hope is that it will help girls figure out what kind of people they are and who they want to be--while having fun, of course.
Which of your characters do you feel you relate to the most and why?
I guess I'd have to say I'm most like Lena. She's really into books and writing, and she thinks a lot about her future. She has an ambitious streak, but she's more comfortable when she's not the center of attention. She's kind of a tomboy, although she has her girly moments. And she's friendly to everyone but has a close group of friends that she'll probably hold on to her whole life. (Lena is 12, which is how old I was when I met my best friend.)
Were you a reader in your teen years and if so, who was your favorite author?
Oh, definitely. I always had my nose in a book. When I was younger, I love love loved S. E. Hinton's books. (My first attempt at writing a novel was pretty much The Outsiders with different character names. Ha ha...) I read a lot of Stephen King novels back in the day. It, The Stand, Four Past Midnight... I ate it all up. When I got to college I fell in love with Toni Morrison's books and Sandra Cisneros. (The House on Mango Street is one of my favorites.) Oddly enough, I think I read more young adult and teen fiction now than I did when I actually was a teen. My current obsession is the Hunger Games trilogy. I loved them so much. I can't WAIT for the movie to come out.
What one 2012 release are you most looking forward to reading?
Jennifer Lynn Barnes has a book coming out in a few months called Every Other Day that sounds really good. It's about a normal 16-year-old girl who, every other day, turns into a supernatural demon hunter. Being a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, it sounds like it'd be right up my alley.
Are you currently in the process of writing a sequel or newer book?
I was in the middle of a writing project that recently fell through, so now I'm excited to start working on a book I've had on the back burner for a while. It won't be part of the Your Life series. But I'm hoping fans will like what I come up with. I'll keep you all posted!