Go check out the guest blog from Jillian over on the myspace blog that I posted yesterday!!
And also, thanks to everyone who participated in the Eyes Like Stars scavenger hunt! I'm glad you all had a fun time and I wish you the best of luck in winning! :) Thanks also to my 5 new followers, and to everyone for leaving comments!
1) How did you get the idea for The September Sisters?
Once I got into my twenties, and my sister and I actually became friends, I started to think a lot about what our relationship was like growing up. (We hated each other when we were younger!) At the time I wrote the book, there were also a lot of stories in the news about missing children, and it occurred to me to think about what might happen to the sister of a child who disappeared. How would my life have been different without my sister?
2) What are you working on now? Can you tell us anything about it?
My second book for teens, THE LIFE OF GLASS, will be out from HarperCollins in Winter 2010. It’s the story of a girl who learns about loss, life, love, and beauty during her Freshman year of high school. I’m going through the copy-edits now, and I’m super-excited about it! I can’t wait to be able to share more about it!!
3) Are you anything like your main character Abby? Or more like another character in the book? How much of yourself do you put into your characters, particularly the main ones?
I am a little like Abby in that I am also quiet, serious and love to read and write. I’m also the older sister in a family of two sisters, like Abby, and I played a similar role in the relationship with my sister growing up. I was always the one who lost at fights (like the inner tube in the beginning) and shied away from attention.
I always feel like I put my emotions into my main characters more than anything – the events aren’t true, but the feelings are, if that makes any sense. All of the conflicting emotions Abby feels about her sister – I felt that growing up (only much less heightened since my sister didn’t disappear). But also, whatever emotion I’m feeling as I’m writing seems to seep its way in. Just before writing The September Sisters, I got to visit with a close dying relative for the last time, and that emotion of loss is something I couldn’t help but write into the story
4) What brought you to write for the YA genre? Had you been a fan before writing your novel, or are you still new to it all?
I’m very new to YA, and I fell into it by accident. The September Sisters was, at first, an adult novel, and my agent tried to sell it that way for a few months. When it wasn’t selling, my agent suggested that maybe it was really a YA novel, and she also suggested ways to tweak it to make it feel more YA (which I did). When I originally wrote the book, I never thought about the difference between YA and adult or writing for one or the other. I just had a story to tell, and it happened to be about a teenager.
When The September Sisters sold in a two-book deal, I realized I was going to get the chance to write another YA book, and I had no idea what that really meant. So I started reading -- I read about 20 YA books just to get a sense of the genre and what was out there. And now I’m still trying to catch up reading YA books – which, by the way, I’ve discovered that I really, really love!
5) What is a typical day like for you? What's your writing process like?
On a typical day, I spend the day with my kids (I have two young sons.), just doing normal mom stuff, play dates and story hour, making lunch, playing games, changing diapers, etc. After the kids go to bed, at night, I write. I usually write or do something writing related (like interviews!) every week night for two or three hours.
My writing process is to try and set goals for myself and keep them. I’m a big fan of self-imposed deadlines! When I’m working on a draft, I write five pages each day, and I make myself write them even if I know they’re not perfect or I know I’ll erase them later. I’m also a big reviser, and I will put my draft through many, many revisions on my own before I show it to my agent or editor.
6) What's your favorite jelly bean flavor?
Cinnamon. I love the sweet and spicy taste together!
7) What book(s) are you reading now, or are about to start?
I’m in the middle of working on two new projects right now, and when I write, I can’t usually read at the same time (I need to concentrate totally on my own characters). So I’m sorry to give a boring answer and say I’m actually not reading anything right at the moment. I recently read Sweethearts by Sara Zarr and One True Theory of Love by Laura Fitzgerald, both of which I really enjoyed.
Soon I’m going to start A Taste of Magic by Tracy Madison. It comes out on Feb. 24th just like mine, and Tracy and I blog together at The Novel Girls (www.thenovelgirls.blogspot.com).
Thanks for stopping by, Jillian!!
Thanks so much for the awesome interview, Book Chic!