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What draws you to YA?
There’s a certain freedom in writing young adults. They’re very wild or they’re exceptionally shy. Young adults are extremities and I love exploring what makes and breaks them.

Describe your writing process. Do you like outlines and structure, or seeing where the story takes you?
My writing process doesn’t begin until I outline characters. I set down a free plot that will allow me to explore and go deeper. Let the Birds Breathe, for example, was always going to be a seventeen year old girl with a mysterious past set in a dystopia. The main thing that changed was that the original story was going to have superpowers.

How long have you been writing? Where are you in your journey?
I started ‘writing’ when I was maybe in the sixth grade, or a little younger, a decade ago. I use quotations because it wasn’t anything that would set me on this career. Around that time I’d done very well with a Halloween story using vocabulary words at school. During the summer I would go out with my mom and just think about being back in my room writing on my new-to-me laptop. Not much has changed in that regard.

What do you need to write? Coffee? Music?
I need the right noise. Not necessarily music that goes with the tone, but anything that I can listen to over and over. Sometimes it’s a Let’s Play on YouTube. I’m not picky on what I drink, but I tend more towards tea and diet cola.

If you could offer one piece of advice to another writer (OTHER THAN “don’t give up”), what would it be?
Learn first about yourself before you write other people. If you are a young adult, be out there living your life. You can’t write about certain things without ever having experienced them.


What book still has you reeling from its plot twist? (*no spoilers please*)
Can I be cheeky and say mine? The twist in What Heroes May Dream (under Tatum Layne) still satisfies me. If not that then the deaths in Mockingjay still betray me.

What books are you most anticipating for this year?

  • Let The Birds Breathe: 24 May
  • Into the Water: A Novel by Paula Hawkins 02 May
  • The Handmaiden’s Tale by Morgan Atwood

In your opinion, which YA book/series has the most unique premise?
I’m a HUGE sucker for a retelling of fairytales. The Lunar Chronicles are my lovelies.

What is your all-time favorite quote from YA lit (I know, I’m cruel)?

“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time. You’d be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside—walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a Mack truck to come along and finish the job. It’s the saddest thing I know.”

–Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

What book do you most hope will have a movie adaption?
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie