1) In your author bio, you mention that "Get Well Soon" is based on your own experiences as a teenager in a mental hospital. How much of the book is true? Are the characters based on real people?
I'd say about 60% of the book is true at this point. When I first wrote it, much more was true. I had to beef up the characters' stories, all of whom were based on actual teens from my hospital experience, just because I didn't remember a lot. Maybe I didn't even know why they were there in the first place; as I said in the book, the focus of the hospital was much more on things going on while we were in the hospital than why we were there. Justin was actually a combination of people, and many of the adults, including the parents, were pretty much made up. I almost wanted to give them a Peanuts adult feel-mwa mwa mwa- because the teens and their effect on the main character, Anna, were so much more important.
2) Are you working on any future books right now?
I just finished the first major draft of my second novel, which should be published in a year or two, also by Feiwel and Friends. It's the story of a girl named Jessie who's very smart and happy with the way her life is going, until her best friends decide to turn into punks. Then she grapples with whether her friends are even nice to her, and she ends up getting closer with a group of nerdy kids. But she doesn't want to be a nerd, so she's just trying to figure it all out. The tentative title right now is Roll for Initiative, which is a Dungeons and Dragons reference. I just sent the book to my editor, so now I'm waiting to see what she thinks!
3) As a librarian, you read lots of books. Do you have any recommendations to give to our readers?
One of my favorite books to recommend right now is Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. After a meteor smashes into the moon and pushes it closer to the Earth, a family in Pennsylvania tries to survive after tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanoes wreak havoc on the planet. It's told through the eyes of a teenage girl and is so realistic and scary. I'm reading the ARC for the sequel, although I had to stop reading it before bed. Too many nightmares. I recommend this book to guys and girls.
4) What were some of your favorite books growing up?
I always loved The Phantom Tollbooth and anything by Roald Dahl and Ray Bradbury. I was also big into comics, particularly Tales from the Crypt, Calvin and Hobbes, and The Far Side.
5) Do you think you'll ever give up being a librarian to become a full-time writer?
I think about it because it would be nice to sleep in sometimes. I would love to have more time to write, and I would also love to get rid of my long commute. But I think I would really miss the kids and all of the work involved in being a librarian. It keeps me very busy and I think I'm quite good at it. I don't know if I'll ever have that choice, though. Maybe when they decide to make Get Well Soon into a giant blockbuster movie. Then I'll think about it.