It usually starts with a dream or an image and I just begin spinning a story. From that scene, I ask questions and build my story from there. I also pick an overarching idea for the story and how the characters will grow around that idea or concept. When I wrote Run Devil Run, it was a twisted study of neglect and an updated spin on The Tale of Genji's Broom Tree Chapter discussion on creating the ideal woman. Love You Some Day is a study of two people developing both a public and private persona, when in the beginning each had one or the other. I always look to concepts from the past to play with, to make them new again with my own voice.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Tamora Pierce's Alanna stories--The Lioness Quartet, as well as Madeleine L'Engle's "And Both Were Young" were the pivotal young adult novels that shaped me.
When did you first start writing?
I remember being fairly decent in my middle school English classes and I created some vivid works of short fiction in high school. Then I did not write anything creative through college; it was all science, research papers, and the like. I had binge read some fanfiction from time to time, and one winter a few years back a terrible case of bronchitis led me to Gossip Girl. The rest is history.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first piece I remember writing with what later became my own voice was during my freshman year of high school. It was a bit dark, teenage angst and all that, but I had the most encouraging teacher. She made sure I knew that the images I had evoked on that sheet of paper were something more than a typical homework assignment.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The readers. I have met some of the most amazing people; talented, kind, inspiring, all because I found the courage to share the stories I created. I wouldn't be where I am without them, and more than that, I wouldn't have been able to create such cherished friendships.
What do your fans mean to you?
Community. It's beautiful seeing people come together around works of art, but most especially because of a book. As a fan, it's a beautiful experience, and as a creator, it's the most humbling experience.
Describe your desk
Dominated by my iMac, primarily! A few pens and some paper. OttLite, keyboard, and mouse. What I love most is above my desk? My large pinboard covered with postcards. All the way from Japan on the opposite side of the globe to down South in Florida, and everywhere inbetween. All from my readers. Some of those friends have come and gone, others have been walking this path with me for years. I love every single one.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Big city girl in the Midwest United States. Low-end of the middle class, but never below the poverty line. My mother was resourceful and has always had a brilliant sense of style and taste. When other girls hated schools and wanted to play all day, I longed to study at a boarding school in Switzerland so I could learn as many languages as possible. Little girls played make-up and dreamt about babies and weddings. I played at pretending to have tea at a Parisian bistro. I grew up on classical music, public television (think Are You Being Served? and David Suchet's Poirot on Masterpiece Theater. Or the original airings of Jeeves and Wooster and Pride and Prejudice.), and had my first library card at age four. I had always wanted school to want more of me and wanted my peers to be as boundless as I felt I was. You are not a straight line, nor is your life a single path. We're fractals growing outward, our lives creating an unimaginable pattern, all of our own making through choice and experience.
How do you approach cover design?
I love a cover to evoke either a strong action or to be a taunt. Both covers for "What Do You Believe In?" and "Run Devil Run" are a challenge; a taunt. "Love You Some Day" is overwhelming beauty with a strong sense of distress and movement.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Friends are the best place to find recommendations.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I love my Kindle Paperwhite. Small but not too small and the screen contrast and brightness is perfect for me. Highlighting, notes, and vocabulary builder are wonderful tools.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.
Chuck always gets what he wants. Always. A man with a goal is dangerous; Chuck Bass with a goal is sadistic.
**Rated MA for severely dark, psychological, emotional, physical, and erotic content.**