When did you decide to start writing?
For me, writing was never a conscious decision. I was surrounded by reading as a kid and just started writing as an extension of playing, before I even learned the mechanics of it. I have a distant memory of trying to write dialogue and having to look at a book to find out exactly where the quotation marks go. I knew I wanted to make my character talk, but I didn't know how.
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Tell us a little bit about your latest work.
The Art of Disappearing is about Delia Dark, a teen who starts high school with a very specific plan to be the second-most popular girl in school - next to her best friend Ava. That plan goes awry when a seemingly psychic event sends Delia in a tailspin. As she struggles to understand if she’s psychic or just plain crazy, Delia is outcast from Ava and her other friends and her once-tight relationship with her Mom crumbles. So, much of the story is about Delia rebuilding herself and how that process, as challenging as it is, actually gives her the room she needs to discover who she really is. This is my debut novel, published by Alloy Entertainment (Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diaries). It’s currently available as an ebook on Nook and Kindle.
What are some of the qualities in your latest work that set it/you apart from what's currently out there on the market?
There’s a ton of great material flowing in YA today, I wish I had that many choices when I was a teen. Still, I think that The Art of Disappearing stands out for a few different reasons. For one, it explores paranormal themes without being dependent on those themes. At its root, this is a story about a girl who is trying to figure out who she is. I think that makes it more accessible to readers, whether or not they are into paranormal novels. Another interesting aspect of The Art of Disappearing is that it plays out in a pre-internet era. This isn’t overt, but it does have an influence on the story. For example, the buzz about the band The Angrists reaches Delia days before she actually hears their music - that delay, that suspense doesn’t really exist anymore and it was fun to explore. And then, there’s Delia’s relationship with her Mom. They are incredibly close, but that closeness creates tension as Delia tries to grow. It’s an important part of the story that I think will resonate with readers who love YA beyond their YA years.
What attracts you to the Young Adult genre specifically?
Who would you count among your strongest influences, and why?
If you could cast the Dream Film Adaptation of your work, who would you cast?
Such a fun question. Okay, let’s go with Elle Fanning as alpha-girl Ava; Ariel Winter as Regina, the smart, brash outcast; Joel Courtney as punk-rock-science-geek-cousin Zach; Vera Farmiga as the tender but slightly frazzled Mom; Chloë Moretz to bring out the artsy angst of Delia Dark. And I’d love to “cast” Sofia Coppola as Director.
Do you have pursuits outside of young adult fiction?
I adore YA and am already thinking about my next project. But I’d like to explore other genres as well as TV and film. Poetry. Lyrics. I'm also interested in the bigger picture of media -- marketing, distribution, technology. It’s all changing so quickly, there’s no aspect that doesn’t require creative thinking.