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What kind of books do you write?

As Iím sure youíve already figured out, Iím all about the fantasy. Since I suffer from an overactive imagination, I donít have much choice in the matter. Every time Iíve tried to write something that doesnít have magic of some kind in it, I get bored. A few dozen pages into a serious, heartbreaking contemporary, Iíll think to myself, You know what would make this story better? Dragons. So yeah. I donít think I was ever meant to write anything else. Beyond that, I like to write stories for children, from middle grade to young adult.

Why did you start writing in the first place?

Remember that overactive imagination? Letís just say itís not a recent development. When we were kids, my older sister and I used to act out the grand, sweeping stories I made up. Then, when I started reading and realized that books existed, it was only logical that Iíd start writing my stories down. And I never stopped, though I didnít write my first full-length novel until high school. That book had just about every fantasy clichť you could possibly think of. Plus, it was about 180,000 words long. (Thatís 591 pages. Try getting a debut novel over 100,000 words published, and see how that works out for you.) But I kept on writing, learning more and more with each new manuscript. Now Iím seven novels in, and thereís no end in sight.

What are some of your favorite books?

Oh, I could go on about my favorite books for hours. But Iíll try my best to be succinct.

Middle Grade

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
The Ranger's Apprentice series by John Flanagan
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud
Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne

Young Adult

Fire by Kristin Cashore
The Selection series by Kiera Cass
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Splintered by A.G. Howard
Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Enchanted by Alethea Kontis
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Never Never by Brianna R. Shrum
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher (Changes is my favorite)
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
The early Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey
Heartís Blood by Juliet Marillier
The Martian by Andy Weir

You donít just sit around writing all day, right? What else do you do with your time?

Well, I obviously read a lot. Pretty much all writers do. And I'm really into movies. Some of my favorites are Moulin Rouge, WALLēE, Jaws, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Love Actually, Return of the Jedi, Back to the Future, and Jurassic Park. Plus about twenty Disney movies that I've seen more times than I care to admit. Disney World is my favorite place I've ever been, and I even have a Disney-themed tattoo. I sing my way through about 50% of my waking hours (this isn't an exaggeration). I've kept the playbill from every Broadway show I've seen as an adult...and this collection is enormous. I'm an amateur welder, and have taken to scouring secondhand shops and flea markets for random bits of scrap metal that I can turn into art. I'm obsessed with Star Wars and Firefly. I have such a debilitating fear of sharks that I can't go near the water at a beach. But I think the ocean is stunningly beautiful (and I am fascinated by sharks). Overall, though, I'm less afraid of the mountains and woods, and love hiking, snowshoeing, and geocaching. Kayaking under the stars is even more peaceful and beautiful than you could imagine. As long as it's not on the ocean. Because sharks. It's a dream of mine to visit every single continent, preferably more than once. (Except maybe Antarctica. I'll probably be fine with only one trip there. Provided I see enough penguins.) So far, I'm only up to two, so I've got a long way to go.

Where can I buy your books?

Patience, young Padawan. I havenít quite made it that far on my writing journey yet. But I can promise you that I wonít give up. When it comes to my writing, I tend to subscribe to the Yoda school of thought. Do or do not. There is no try.