I am married and have three children. I love to jog and walk, especially in the light rain or whenever the sun isn’t shining too much. The color blue is my favorite; it has a calming effect and just makes me happy. I am number four out of five kids and have a large extended family. Most of the time I am shy and mellow, but can get hyper if I stay up too late or am around people I’m comfortable with. I’ve always had kind of an obsession with trees.
Q: It is often said that if you can write a short story you can write anything. How true do you think this is and what have you written that either proves or disproves this POV?
I think that it is true, but I think not everyone will ENJOY writing a book or be MOTIVATED to do so. I much prefer writing books. I know I can write short stories, but the only ones I have ever written were either an assignment or were intended to be a novel eventually. I’m sure some people prefer writing shorter works. You either have to totally love it, or have some motivation behind it.
Q: When and How did you realize that you wanted to be a writer? And how did you decide upon a fairytale remake sort?
I’ve always loved writing, but I don’t think I ever considered it as a career possibility until the last few years. It was more a hobby and I guess I thought it was unrealistic to make a career out of your hobby. But once I started, that was it—I was hooked. I love fairytales, but a lot of my ideas are contemporary as well. If Cinder and Ella hadn’t been published, I would have moved on to something else. But fairytales will be a huge chunk of what I write.
Q: Try to describe your book in one sentence.
Cinderella gets cut in half and planted in soil.
Q: How do you research for a book before you begin the writing process? And how did you come upon the idea about giving Cinderella a new twist? (Which was really effective I must say)
I like to read several stories that are similar, mostly to ensure that my ideas really are fresh. I also spend a lot of time in my own head, pondering as I examine the world around me. I can’t really say where the twists in Cinder and Ella came from. My guess is that having the middle child syndrome helped Cinderella split into two people, one beloved and one ignored. The legend of the trees most likely sprouted from my deep love of trees and nature.
Q: What is the best part of writing for you?
Writing is my escape. Some people read; some people garden; some people paint or draw or knit or sew. Writing is that thing I can do to relieve stress and pressure and escape the realities of life. There are other things that I enjoy and that have similar effects, but writing brings the greatest satisfaction and pleasure.
Q: Did you always had in mind to be a writer or it just happened?
It was always there, even if subconsciously much of the time. I actually submitted a children’s book when I was around twenty, but one rejection was all I could take back then. I’ve grown a lot since that first submission.
I married at 19 and had my first child before I was 21. Being a mother to my kids was always the most important thing to me, so I spent several years focusing mostly on them and I’m glad for that. When my youngest was a toddler, the door seemed to open up a little and I jumped at it.
Q: Something special you want to share with us?
That first book I just told you about is about my grandmother. She passed away about two months before my first daughter was born. The book is a tribute to her and the things she taught me.
Now some simple questions and more fun^^
-Your favourite books and author?
I love classics! Charles Dickens and Jane Austen are my favorite authors. My favorite children’s book is At the Back of the North Wind by George McDonald.
-Your favourite band/singer?
Loaded question, you ready? I don’t have one favorite, so here’s a list: Rob Thomas, Daughtry, Coldplay, Jewel, Train, David Cook, Pink, Michael Buble, Josh Groban. Just to name a few.
-Twitter or Facebook?
Oh, don’t ask that. I love the public conversation possibilities with Twitter and I love how Facebook has put me in touch with long lost friends. But both Twitter and Facebook drive me crazy in some respects, so... Blogger?
-Favourite place in the world?
-Last movie you watched at the cinemas?
-The last book you’ve read?
The Princess Test by Gail Carson Levine
-Have you ever googled yourself?
No, but I’ve googled Cinder and Ella once. I know better than to google myself. Googled is a funny word.
-If you wouldn’t be a writer, what you would be?
You read my mind! I’ve wanted to do a blog post about this. F.B.I. agent, hands down.
-And last one....print or ebooks?
Print, print, print. I have issues with e-stuff. I just couldn’t get as comfortable with a Nook or something.
Q: When you sit down and write do you know how the story will end or do you just let the pen take you? ie Do you develop character profiles and outlines for your novels before writing them or do you let your idea's develop as you write?
I begin with outlines, and I like to know who the characters are deeply because that saves time in revisions, but I do like to see where the story leads. My outlines are basic: think beginning, middle, end. Part of the magic of writing for me is experiencing the twists and turns as I write. It makes me giddy.
Q: How are similar are you from Cinder, Ella or any of the main characters of the novel?
I like to think I’m like Ella in spirit, but I’m not as vocal as she is. I can relate with Cassandra sometimes, too. Sometimes I want to say to my kids, “Would you leave me alone? I’m trying to eat here.”
Q: The book has a very beautiful and eye-catching cover! Did you have any input in it?
Yes, I was able to give suggestions. My first suggestion was the characters, but I’m so glad they decided on the trees because the cover turned out fantastic.
Q: What's next in line for you, are you working on a new book now?
I’m reworking my first novel (a romance), writing something totally new (a YA sci-fi) and doing Peter Pan research for a modern Peter Pan story.
Q: What advice would you like to give budding authors or those who want to start writing?
Learn all you can and never give up! Short and sweet, but both are necessary if you are going to succeed.