What made you choose to write YA?
I feel more like YA chose me. I’ve been a high school teacher for 14 years and love working with teenagers so it’s a natural fit for me to write for them. Teens really are like having your own light source – so hopeful, and funny, and emotional. Which makes for fun fiction.
Great answer - I love it. I'm a huge fan of fun fiction.
Where do you write best?
Anywhere I can plug in my laptop and order a latte.
How do you get your ideas? Do you use real events in your novels and if so, can you describe one? I’m sure that many ideas come from my teaching though never really one idea –they all start mashing together after all these years. I think anytime some specific thing inspires me, I can start there but then I embellish, refine, and invent something new out of something familiar.
How do you come up with your titles? I think a title emerges from a book because of its soul and structure. With IFABH, it was a real collaboration between me and my publisher.I love it, I think it really works well!
Can you tell us a little bit about Instructions for a Broken Heart?
Instructions for a Broken Heart follows Jessa as she heads to Italy with her drama academy three days after finding her boyfriend in the costume barn with another girl – not trying on costumes (yikes). And now she has to navigate the trip in the wake of this huge betrayal. And he’s on the trip with his new girl (double yikes). Her friend sends a care package of “instructions” to help Jessa “get over” her ex-boyfriend but it also takes Italy and some new friends to light her way.
Check out my review
Have you ever been to Italy?
I went to Italy in 1999 with 16 of my students and another teacher.
As a teacher, do you share your work with your students during your writing process?
I do, but mostly just when they ask me too.
What did you do on your release day? Instructions for a Broken Heart comes out on May 1st and I have some events scheduled for that following weekend, but that Sunday I just plan to hang out with my family and a few friends and just smile a lot. And I’ll host a couple of contests to give away a few books that day too.
What was the last book you’ve read that you’ve been recommending to everyone? A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Do you have a book crush? Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon by Dean Bakapoulos and You Remind Me of You by Eireann Corrigan
Do you have a favorite library experience?
Watching my six year old daughter discover her own book crushes…
Oh, I LOVE this answer - so cute!
Are there any authors you’d love to meet? Deb Caletti, Richard Russo, Jonathan Tropper, John Green, Nick Hornby
Do you have a favorite literary quote?
“Dwell in possibility” – Emily Dikinson
Listing of your favorites:
Candy – See’s
Pizza topping – black olives
Genre of books – YA and adult literary fiction
Singer and/or Song – Ani DiFranco’s “Small World”
Restaurant – Ike’s for their cheeseburger and fries
TV show /Movie – Arrested Development and Freaks and Geeks
Color – blue-ish/green-ish
Shoe – Uggs. Or flip-flops. It depends on the season
Video Game – I’m not much of a gamer but my family is really into Angry Birds right now.