Why do you write?

Because if I didn’t, I’d go mad. (To see the Extended Edition, click here.)

Where do you get your ideas?

This is probably true for a lot of writers besides me, but I get my ideas from anything and everything. Books, movies, TV shows, webtoons, dreams, conversations, random ‘what if’ thoughts. They usually start as one or two scenes, just a little kernel of plot with the vaguest hint of who the characters are. Then it grows from there into a fully fledged story.

Why do you write YA?

I’m not the first writer to say this, and I definitely won’t be the last. But I write what I love to read.

What’s your writing process?

A scene pops into my head. Study it. Think of all the ways to make it exciting.

Obsess over that scene for weeks. Who are the characters? How did they get there? Where will they go after that?

Write down the basics in a note book. This is the world. These are the characters. These are their basic backstories. If it’s a fantasy, these are the rules regarding magic, the creatures, or different cultures.

Obsess over the big plot. What’s the conflict that drives the whole thing? Write that down.

Talk it out with my sister/beta/editor. Change 60% of what I’ve come up with.

Repeat until I have a fairly detailed outline.

Start writing chronologically from beginning to end. Don’t skip difficult scenes. Only research stuff when I need it in the story.

Somehow get over writer’s block when it happens.

When the first draft is finally done, give it to my sister/beta/editor. Refuse to think about it for at least a month.

After a month, start editing and don’t stop until I can read it without cringing.

What’s the most challenging part of writing?

This may sound odd, but the most challenging part for me is the first draft. I can brainstorm and plan for hours without complaining. I love editing my own work and making it better. But getting the words out, thinking through how to describe the action, or the pacing of dialogue… for me, that’s the very first mountain to climb, and it’s the hardest.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

I’ve actually received two pieces of fantastic advice. The first is deceptively simple: Finish what you start. Sounds easy, right? Nope. Writer’s block is a real thing, my friends, and it’s no walk in the park to focus on a project where you’ve lost all that awesome momentum and a newer, shinier idea comes along that looks like SO MUCH fun. Discipline is hard, but if you can push through the hard parts, the reward for completing this amazing thing that you set out to write down is worth all of the pain and head banging.

The second piece is to accept the fact that you’re always growing as a writer. This craft is not a static thing. Your voice changes. The tone, the style, the vocabulary, the characters you imagine, they’re always constantly evolving. And that’s ok. If you can’t look back on your old projects without laughing or crying ‘dear god, what was I thinking?’ then something is wrong. There is always more to learn. Your journey is never truly over.

 

Now for the questions that really matter:

Hogwarts House?

Slytherin.

Prefect or trouble maker?

Being a prefect sounds like a lot of responsibility. And dealing with irritating underclassmen. No thank you. However, in order to be called a trouble maker, I would have to be caught first. So I’ll just smile mischievously instead.

What’s your patronus?

Wolf. For a while I thought it could be a wild cat of some kind, one of the tiny, cute ones that’s kind of skittish but fierce when it needs to be. (What can I say? I like tall places, soft blankets, and attention only when I want it.) But I’ve always loved wolves, and I have the proof from Pottermore.

If you were in Middle Earth, what race would you be?

I know I’m supposed to say elf because elves are freaking awesome. I mean, c’mon. Who wouldn’t want to be a tall, graceful, half-ninja, half-mage that’s really good at archery? But I am a hobbit at heart. The constant food. The peace of the Shire. A nice, cozy hobbit hole with a library and an office for writing. I’m also short and have curly hair, but that’s neither here nor there.

Cats or dogs?

Dogs. Don’t get me wrong, I like cats. I even have a cat, and she definitely provides her own type of entertainment. But if this is a ‘you can only have one kind for the rest of your life’ kind of questions, then it’s dogs. No questions asked.

Follow up: Vampires or werewolves?

It depends on the mood I’m in. And what specific type of vampire and werewolf we’re talking about. But in general, I’d probably lean more towards werewolves. Vampires are usually full of themselves, and I don’t have the patience to deal with that.

Favorite TV shows?

Firefly, Game of Thrones, Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Legend of Korra, Seasons 1-5 of Supernatural, Voltron: Legendary Defender, Sherlock, Agent Carter, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Pokemon Indigo through Johto, The Great British Baking Show, The Vicar of Dibley… I’m going to stop now.

Favorite movies?

Sigh. Ok, here we go.

Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Wonder Woman, Ninja Assassin, Balto, Captain America: The Winter Solider, The Road to El Dorado, A Knight’s Tale, Noises Off, Deadpool, Mulan, Princess Mononoke, Rock of Ages, Van Helsing… and that’s enough.

Favorite league in Pokemon?

Johto. I mean, you can’t go wrong with Indigo since that was the Original, but the only game I had was Crystal, so I love Johto.

First starter?

Again, only game was Crystal, so Cyndaquil. (If I’m being honest, Cyndaquil was the ONLY starter I ever had. #firetypesforthewin)

Marvel or DC?

In general, I like Marvel comics better, but I don’t think I’ve read enough to give a definitive answer. So I’m changing this to MCU or DCU.

So if you had asked me this before June, I would have said Marvel. The Avengers are awesome and Loki is the best cinnamon role villain I’ve ever seen. Also Batfleck just bothers me. But then June came and Wonder Woman is now my favorite superhero movie – for reasons that should be obvious – but I love how fun and wacky Marvel can be.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Is being an Amazon of Themyscira a superpower? Because it should be.

Ok, for reals. Something like Apparation would be nice, but I think I’d actually rather be able to understand and speak any language I heard. Which would obviously include animals, because why not?