1) How did you get the idea for Sucks to be Me?
This was back in 2005 before the whole vampire thing went crazy (Twilight came out in October that year for those of you who don't have it ingrained in your head). I'd read a vampire book that kind of annoyed me and I was lying awake thinking about how almost all vampire novels (at the time) were pretty similar: virtuous heroine, evil vampires, lots of danger, etc, etc. I thought it would be fun to try and turn all of that around.
2) Was the publishing process difficult for you?
Well, I wouldn't say it was any more difficult for me than for anyone else. Getting a book published is not an easy thing (nor is writing, for that matter, though it can be a lot of fun) and publishing isn't a fast thing either. As I mentioned in my first answer, I wrote the book in 2005 and here it is 2008 and it is finally coming out. The one thing I really had going for me was that I knew a lot of people in the industry through my website. But no matter how well connected you are (or not), you really have to have patience to succeed.
3) You review for YABC. How did you get involved with that, and with reviewing in general?
I'm actually the founder of YABC (www.yabookscentral.com). I've been a book reviewer since 1998, though I didn't start it off as a separate website until, eh, I think 2001? I started off doing some things for the Mining Company (which became About.com) and I also have written for various magazines and newspapers (and even done restaurant reviews and things like that). I'd always been interested in YA books and took as many classes as I could in college that dealt with adolescent lit. So, despite what everyone says about English majors (you want fries with that?), I do actually get to use my degree (finally!) doing stuff I love.
4) What are you working on right now? Can you tell us anything about it?
I'm working on a sequel to STBM called It Still Sucks to Be Me. I can't say too much about it since I don't want to give away the ending of the first book, but I can say that Mina and her family have to move across the country and she goes through culture shock (going from California to Louisiana will do that to you). George and Serena will still figure in the book too.
5) Since Sucks to be Me is a vampire book, what are some of your favorite vampire books, teen or otherwise?
I haven't actually read too many vampire books because I didn't want to interfere with "my" vision of vampires. And since I'd written STBM in 2005, a bunch of stuff came out after that. However, I did really like Twilight (I'm not alone there!) though I'll probably be booed here by saying I stopped reading after the second book
Bella was starting to *slightly* annoy me and I already have so many books to read that I wanted to leave myself with good memories of her. I might go back and read the second book again though. Ah, Edward! I also really like Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich-Smith. Great book and really inventive. Like Mina I'm not a huge fan of Dracula by Bram Stoker. Or, at least, the way women come out in that book. Other than that, it's fine.
6) This is now pretty much a staple in my interviews because it's a pretty awesome question, courtesy of Marissa Doyle. What is your favorite jelly bean flavor?
I just had to go look up the 50 official Jelly Belly flavors to see. I'd have to say either Caramel Apple or Juicy Pear. Or Peach. I don't think I can narrow it down any farther than that. Darn, now I'm kind of hungry for jelly beans.
7) Since you're a reviewer, you've probably been reading quite a few books that came out this year. What books have you read this year that you have absolutely loved, recommended to anyone who would listen, and would consider putting up on a Best Books of 2008 list? And why?
That's really tough for me to answer this year because I had a baby in March so I haven't been reading a lot. And the last half of my pregnancy was kind of rough too, so I wasn't reading a whole lot then either. Normally I read a couple of books a week at least. So
yeesh. Out of the books I have read recently, most of them weren't 2008 books. Sometimes I dig deep into my stack of review books (I get hundreds a year, so they obviously don't all get reviewed right awayand many I send on to other reviewers.) I did recently read Poison by Chris Wooding and I really enjoyed it, much more than I'd thought I would (for some reason, based on the front flap, I thought it was an entirely different kind of book). And I read Book of a Thousand Days not that long ago (okay, actually, it was kind of a while ago) and I loved that
and Beastly by Alex Flinn was a great re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. I'm reading (slowly, 'cause of the baby) Bliss by Lauren Myracle right now and it's really bone-chillingly lovely. That's not really a good answer to your question, is it? I guess it'll have to do, at least until I can get some more reading in! As the baby gets older things are getting easier.