1. Who inspired you to write Crossroads?
Lol. The long answer or the short answer? The truth is that I’ve always loved writing and have dreamed of being a published author since I began tearing through the works of Christopher Pike in middle school. It’s a dream that’s always stayed with me although it sometimes felt unattainable due to the competitive nature of the industry. When my father was diagnosed with cancer last winter, it really put things in perspective. I decided it was time to take a chance and finish a manuscript that I’d been working on for some time. I didn’t want to look back and have any regrets or doubts and I figured that if my father could attack his prognosis with complete gusto, that I could do the same with my writing. He’s been one of my biggest supporters throughout the process and it’s his encouragement that has given me the confidence to chase my dream.
2. What was the book that most influenced your life — and why?
If I have to choose a single book, I’m going to have to say Twilight. I’ve read a lot of wonderful books – books that are more intellectually stimulating and even those that have better writing – but it was finding Twilight on my little sisters’ bookshelf that brought me back to the YA genre (which I’d so happily left behind when I got to college, instead electing to read what I thought were more age appropriate books) and reignited my love for all things paranormal. Twilight reminded me how much I loved YA literature and how heavily it influenced me growing up. It was also a welcome reminder that YA books weren’t just for teens!
3. Is there a particular character that you see yourself into?
This is a tough one for me. I can’t say that Katia is modeled after me, but it’s fair to say that I strive to be as strong and independent as I’ve written her. I have always favored strong heroines personally and if any character I create might be a role model for an adolescent, I’d certainly want the character to be worthy, although admittedly flawed. After all, we all have flaws don’t we? It’s part of what makes us human and ultimately the characters we love so endearing.
4. Would you like to be a Vampire if given a chance?
I don’t think so. Sure it would be great to have the longevity, strength and speed of a vampire, but I’m a pretty picky eater so I’m not sure I could stomach the liquid diet. It’s entirely possible I’d starve which doesn’t exactly sound like an awesome way to go.
5. How do you handle criticism?
I wear my heart (and my emotions) on my sleeve, but criticism is part of the learning process and I like to think I can handle feedback even when it’s less than glowing. It probably sounds a little trite, but I have to look at it as an opportunity. I have a couple of great critics who are close to me, but nothing beats the feedback of an unbiased reader who’s not worried about hurting my feelings and who’s opinion will ultimately make me a stronger writer.
6. Do you have a specific writing style?
Truth be told, I suspect my writing style could probably use a bit more discipline. Today, it goes something like this: Daydream, fantasize, let my imagination run rampant. Outline, outline, outline. Create character profiles. Make notes (any place is good – a napkin, my phone, the back of a receipt, whatever is handy). Research. Outline some more. Make more notes. Write, revise, edit, Write, revise, edit. Edit. Edit. Edit.
In case you can’t tell, I put a great deal of emphasis on editing and revisions. In addition to partnering with a professional editor, I have three amazing critics who were happy to comb through each draft of the manuscript and provide feedback on the characters, the plot, and well, pretty much anything they loved, hated or couldn’t wait to read more about!
7. How did you come up with the title?
The title Crossroads actually came quite easily as it’s the name of Katia’s school and the geographic area where it’s located. The story is set at Crossroads Academy in the Green Mountains, which is actually known as the Crossroads of Vermont to locals. It was a natural fit given the location and the deeper symbolism within the story line. Recently another book was released with the same title and I actually flirted briefly with the idea of changing it, but in the end I was too attached and decided to stand firm with my original choice.
8. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I am actually working on the second book of theCrossroads Academy series and while I think fans of Crossroads will be pleased with the latest installation in the trilogy, I’m not ready to give any spoilers yet! I hope to have the book published summer 2012 though so the good news is that you won’t have to wait long to get your hands on a copy!
9. When and why did you begin writing?
Believe it or not, I actually wrote my first book in 7th grade. It was a children’s book inspired by Earth Day and a very ambitious teacher who wanted each of her students to craft an environmentally driven tale. Mine was about sea turtles, which I’ve always loved, and while my teacher raved about it and researched publication, the book is safely tucked away in storage now. It was her encouragement that actually got me thinking about writing as a career. I was already an avid reader (some might say bookworm), but I hadn’t considered yet that I might actually someday write my own young adult novels. So, although the sea turtles didn’t catch the eye of the publishing world, they definitely sparked my love of writing. As I got older the stories I wrote fell more in line with the works of R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike and L.J. Smith as they were my authors of choice throughout high school.
10. Is there a special research you did to write the novel? Mind telling us about it?
Although I’ve always been a fan of horror movies and paranormal literature, I still felt it was important to do my homework before writing Crossroads. I researched vampire lore extensively, which quite frankly is overwhelming, but I also had to do considerable research on the setting since I’ve never actually been toVermont. I knew the school had to be hidden away somewhere rural and while Vermont seemed ideal, I really didn’t know much about the geography or anything else aside from the fact that it boasts excellent skiing. So I started with maps in order to identify the right location and moved onto researching individual towns likeRutlandto get a better understanding of local culture. As it turns out,Rutlandhas quite a bit to offer, which I hope I’ve captured in the story. Every place and event in Crossroads was actually inspired by the town itself which has quite a rich history.
* Originally posted at We Fancy Books