Have I always wanted to write?
Not really, but I love it! I have a BA in Studio Arts, and so I concentrated more on drawing. As a child, I was always doodling faces. I didn't "discover" writing until I was a sophomore in high school. I took another writing class in college. Years later, I joined the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI), which was really helpful.
What kind of books do I like to read and write?
Books that have a unique twist. Fantasy, science fiction, some paranormal, magical realism (contemporary with a splash of magic/strangeness), time travel, and so on. I love HARRY POTTER, and the lyrical writing of Maggie Stiefvater with her Celtic-themed faery books LAMENT and BALLAD, as well as THE SCORPIO RACES and THE RAVEN BOYS. Other books I really enjoyed:
DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor
THE NEAR WITCH by Victoria Schwab
COMPANIONS OF THE NIGHT by Vivian Vande Velde (vampire romance WAY before Twilight)
THE FORBIDDEN GAME trilogy by LJ Smith (like Jumanji with paranormal romance!)
THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS by Rae Carson
THE GREEN AND THE GRAY by Timothy Zahn (as well as his Star Wars THRAWN trilogy)
DRAGON'S MILK by Susan Fletcher (and 2 companion books)
CINDER by Marissa Meyer
NEVERWHERE by Neil Gaiman
WHAT'S LEFT OF ME by Kat Zhang
How many novels did I write before I got a book contract?
I wrote 13 novels--as well as a number of short stories and picture books. The first 10 novels were definitely practice, and the first few quite short too (around 100-150 pages). I've learned a lot over the years, and I'm still learning. It's like playing a musical instrument...it's very rare when someone produces something brilliant first off. Practice, practice, practice!
I'm never not writing. ;o) Oh, okay, sometimes I draw, paint, quilt, work jigsaw puzzles, go on walks, get together with family, visit the beach, listen to music, and watch movies.
What did I look like in first grade?
With LOTS less wrinkles. See photo. Don'tcha love the 60's polka dots?
What writing project am I working on now?
My YA French fairy tale retelling, THE ORANGE TREE, released November 2020. I also currently have a YA steampunk fantasy in the works, and the companion novel to THE BODY INSTITUTE, entitled SPARES, released January 2021. In general, I enjoy making stuff up; it's my favorite thing to do when I write.
Any other interesting facts?
|Storybook dragon with gossamer wings|
|Fierce dragon lamp with glowing orb|