1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a hopeless romance. I carry the scars of unrequited love for Johnny Depp, but other than that I’m pretty okay. I’ve been writing stories since 8th grade. I’m now a sophomore in college. :) My favorite things are classic rock, writing, dolls, pasta, chocolate chip cookies (or ice cream) traveling, summertime, convertible cars, LOST and, of course, my family.
2. You're first young adult book was Locker Shock. Was there a motivation behind writing this book?
Okay, well, my son was in middle school, and I used to volunteer in the school library. I listened to the kids chatter, and I knew what the campus issues were, and I one day I just had one of those “what if?” moments that authors love to have. Although it never happened in our school, other schools were dealing with weapons and other contraband on campus. Looking around at these smart, funny, *normal* kids, I wondered how they would react if they found something at school that shouldn’t be there.
3. What age range do you think this book would most appeal to?
I think kids like to read about the age they are heading for. I peg 5th-7th graders as prime for LOCKER SHOCK!
4. I have also heard that you have a sequel to this book in the works. What's the scoop on that?
OLD ENOUGH is finished and waiting to be edited. It revolves around the same group of middle and high schoolers with a few new characters and a lot more issues. Crushes, prejudice, natural disasters—this book has something for everyone! No publication date yet, but I will keep you posted.
5. Any plans for any other young adult books?
I’d like to, but no immediate plans. I have a couple of other genre books to finish first, and I also need to move OLD ENOUGH up the ladder, too. A third Y/A book in the same series is starting to form in my head, so don’t rule it out!
6. Who is your favorite author?
I have many favorite authors. Some of them are fellow Quakers – Sam Morton, Mary Cunningham, Alyssa Montgomery :). In adult type stories, I like Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Dan Brown... I haven’t read Twilight yet, but might attempt that over winter break!
7. Was that the author that influenced you the most?
I’d have to say yes, Nora Roberts has had a great deal of influence on me. I know there are others, but I’m really bad with remembering names. I think we are somewhat influenced by everything we read. Going all the way back to Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte... and forward to everything I read today. I just finished the autobiography of an 80’s pop star and was even influence by his style. As writers, we pick up stuff without even realizing it.
8. You probably have more than one, but what about a favorite book?
As a child, my very favorite book was MRS. MIKE, about a Canadian Mountie and his wife.
Another was EIGHT COUSINS, by Louisa May Alcott
As an adult, I couldn’t possibly pick just one. No way. I like a good mystery; I’m not big on gratuitous violence, but don’t mind a little. I like romance, but I’m a skimmer over the too-graphic parts. I read a few biographies and autobiographies – enjoyed Michael J. Fox’s LUCKY MAN. Series are good, like Nora Roberts often writes trilogies about families. If you like the first book, you look forward to the second and third installments.
9. What is your proudest achievement in writing?
You mean, besides just getting published?? For “achievement” I’d say finishing my first full-length novel was the proudest. Saying it was “FINISHED.” I’d done it—a whole book. Another really exciting moment was selling my first short story. I opened the envelope at the mailbox with the acceptance letter and check inside. I was screaming and running back into the house waving the check!
10. Any advice for aspiring authors?
Just the usual stuff- don’t give up, keep reading a lot, keep writing a lot. Keep informed of what’s going on in the writing world. Read books in other genres, other subjects. Watch movies. Try new types of writing, like poetry, short stories, flash fiction, screenplays. Try it all. Talk about writing with anyone who will listen, and you listen to others who need to talk, too. Writing can be a lonely business.
Thanks for such inspiring questions, Alyssa!
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