So, pretend we're in school and have to do one of those annoying ice-breakers, what are a few things you'd tell us to get to know you better?
I adopted a newborn a year ago – his name’s Robinson, but I call him Binny. His nursery is decorated like an elfin forest. We have a MinPin pup named Maximus. I host monthly Supernatural Tea Parties where friends gather (actors, storytellers, magicians, writers) and eat finger sandwiches and sweets and drink Earl Grey tea while discussing subjects like ghosts, fairyfolk, myths and legends, ESP, time travel, UFOs, magic, and the like.
Why did you decide to make A Certain Slant of Light a young adult novel when it could have easily been an adult novel?
My agent said it might sell to YA or to adult – she sent it to both kinds of editors and it sold to Graphia, a YA imprint of Houghton Mifflin. But as soon as I knew it would be YA, it made perfect sense to me. Helen and James deal with the high school lives of the teens they possess. It makes them accessible to YA readers, I think.
Do you have a comfort book? You know, one of those books you pick up when you need to feel better? If not, what do you do for a pick me up?
I’ve read the Princess Bride many times – every time I pick it up I think I’m only going to read one of my favorite parts, but I end up reading scores of pages before I even realize I’ve done it. It’s so charming.
What one book would you recommend to every reader?
Too hard to choose just one. I love The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, C. S. Lewis's Narnia series, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle and so many others that they get stuck trying to get through the door of my brain at the same time.
As an aspiring author and reader, I've always wondered if authors are inspired by their favorite authors?
While I was writing A Certain Slant of Light I had recently read Janet Fitch’s White Oleander and both Poisonwood Bible and Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver – I wanted to write as beautifully as those two women. I would reread passages. Once I even blindly opened Fitch’s book and photocopied pages at random then highlighted every phrase or sentence that was unexpected and brilliant. She could be original on average a couple times per page. With the same highlighter in hand I went through my own rough draft of Slant and made sure I had at least two phrases or sentences per page that I felt were beautiful or fresh (or both.). If I found a page with no highlights in my book, I would work on that page until I liked it better.
How long did it take you to start writing your novels after you got the idea formed in your head?
That ranges quite a bit – I wrote twenty unpublished novels before I broke in. Sometimes years, sometimes days. With Slant I just started writing not knowing if it would be a short story or a novel. I didn’t have it all worked out in advance.
What was your reaction the first time you saw your book in a store?
I was a thrilled dork and had my sister take a picture of me next to it.
Do you have any future plans for anymore YA or adult novels?
Right now I’m writing the sequel to A Certain Slant of Light. It’s also kind of a prequel. So a sprequel. (My editor calls it a companion novel.) I also have an idea for a series to write after that which would also be YA supernatural. I also have ideas for a couple of adult novels, too. But I don’t talk about my stories in advance. I’m funny that way. Private. No, more like shy. Nervous if I talk about an idea I’ll kill some of it’s energy.
Just a few quickies:
Favorite Movie: One of my faves is Gosford Park.
Favorite Book: As I’ve said, one of my favorite books would be The Princess Bride.
Favorite Band: Flight of the Conchords.
Favorite TV Show: One of my favorite shows is 30 Rock. But I also love Medium, Treme, Boardwalk Empire, Luther, Being Human (UK version), Nurse Jackie, and So You Think You Can Dance.