Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve written seven whole books and three half books, so I guess if you squish them all together, 8 1/2 — which I just have to mention, I kind of like as a shoutout to Fellini’s wildly creative movie, ‘8 1/2.’
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Between Wild And Ruin
On its face at least, Between Wild and Ruin is a bit of a Beauty and the Beast story. I initially gave the book a title that played with that idea, but my editor and manager worried the title was too obscure. So I winnowed down a list to four other titles and then threw it out to the masses, who essentially chose one of them for me. Between Wild and Ruin fits well, because the book is as much about wild spaces, feelings, and people, as it is plot-driven. Plus the plot involves an old pueblo ruin. Ruby and Ezra are also caught between choices about their lives and each other that could literally lead to ruin. Ultimately, I got to keep the word ‘Wild,’ which sums up the kind of world the book’s characters live in, and still play with words AND sport a more telling title.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
Maybe the fact that I don’t have any? I’m not particularly structured and don’t have any methods or special writing places or spaces. I write when I feel like it, anywhere from about 10 am to 3 am and in different places. As long as it’s not too loud, I can write anywhere; I just get lost in myself and go to town. I’ve literally sat down to write over breakfast and looked up to find a darkening sky (which I totally acknowledge is terrible health-wise!).
What authors, or books have influenced you?
My writing influences vary. I read A LOT, especially in the genre I most often write in, which is Young Adult fiction. But I’ve been in love with Albert Camus since college. His work inspires me (especially ‘The Plague’); his writing, both his prose and the subjects he writes about, challenge me to examine meaning, to dig deeper when I write and when I interact with people. Vladimir Nabokov, Brett Easton Ellis, Heidi Julavits, Phillip Roth, and Chuck Palahniuk are also big writing influences, for many diverse, weird, and divergent reasons. Deeply flawed characters that still manage to capture and hold a reader’s interest, and stories that challenge notions of identity particularly interest me.
What are you working on now?
I’m working with a midline publisher on a young adult contemporary sci-fi mashup I pitched as ‘Pump up the Volume’ meets ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ called ‘True North.’ Not sure if it’ll go anywhere with this particular publisher, mostly because I’m learning we have slightly different visions for the book, but I’m so in love with it I’m dedicated to bringing it to the masses one way or another.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m hard pressed to pick just one. Sites like this are great and worth their weight in gold (thank you thank you thank you), but paid sites like Bookbub and Net Galley can also be worth it. I find that plain old Instagram seem to work well too; especially if you can hook yourself up with Influencers. Also, be sure to have your own streamlined author website that you attend to regularly!
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t give up! I went to a publishing conference recently, and was relieved to hear the panel say that on average, most writers write and query publishers for about 14 years before either traditionally publishing or self-publishing their work, and that the average age for newly published authors in all areas of publishing is just over 50!
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Do what you love but don’t expect it to be easy just because you love it. Writing is hard work; get comfortable with the word ‘no’ and expect a whole lot of tooth grinding, stomach turning perseverance.
What are you reading now?
I’ll be honest, I’ve got a pile of books I’m waiting to read, and I’m gunning for V.E. Schwab’s ‘Vicious’ next. But as we just launched my new YA paranormal romance ‘Between Wild and Ruin’ a week ago, I haven’t had time to anything but complain, sleep, and cry for the last few weeks.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Aside from the YA project ‘True North’ I mentioned earlier, I’ve got another two books outlined and lined up to write, and a ton of promotional work to get ahead of. The surprising thing about publishing that a lot of new writers don’t get, is that publishing is really hard work. Writing your book is only a 1/3 of the equation. Publishing and promoting are entirely different and messy beasts!
What is your favorite book of all time?
‘The Plague’ by Albert Camus. And pretty much anything by Christina Lauren.