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What drew you to writing in the YA genre?
This is the age when many people try to fit in or stand out, began to realize who they are on the inside, and experience many “firsts.” I love writing about all of those things, and reading it too!
Do you prefer outlining or are you a “pantser” as we like to call it in the industry?
I definitely prefer an outline. If I don’t outline, my plot falls weak and my characters stray from their characterizations. I’m not a fan of writing and ditching loads of work, so for me, I have to outline. I’m using the chapter outline in the back of A Wordy Woman’s Guide to outline my WIP for NaNoWriMo!
What project are you currently working on?
A YA romance. All of my previous YA work has included romantic aspects, but this will be the first book that lacks fantastical and paranormal elements.
How did you come up with the idea for it?
Most of my work contains dark twists, which I absolutely love. But I needed a breather, something to lighten the mood, and I had an idea for a romance. The storyline has been a challenge to create, but I’m looking forward to starting the first draft!
I read on your website that you helped build an orphanage in Malawi? Can you tell us a little bit more about that experience? Do you think that experience has influenced your writing?
Yes. I went to Malawi (and other parts of Africa) during the summer of 2000. I had the opportunity to help build an aids orphanage, and it was the first time I had experienced life in a third-world country. This influenced the rest of my life and set me on a different path of understanding and a deep-rooted passion for all cultures. Most of my books have an underlying theme hidden within the story, themes that dive into the basis of humanity, love, and survival.
I also saw that you are really into camping. Would you ever consider “glamping,” or do you prefer the more traditional camping experience?
I prefer the traditional, no electricity, out-in-the-middle of nowhere type of camping. The connection and peace I feel when I’m completely disconnected from the “world” is something I can’t experience in any other way. I also love kayaking and fishing, but I’m not an expert!
What is the last book you read? Did you enjoy it?
I’m in the middle of reading Imposters by Scott Westerfeld. And I’m enjoying it so far! His books are fabulous.
What’s next on your TBR list?
The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell. It’s not my typical kind of read, but it seems fascinating in a historical sense.
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Trust your heart and don’t worry about following the society’s “standards.” Standard is overrated and dreams are undervalued.
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