1) How did you get the idea for Sleepless?
SLEEPLESS came from my own fascination with dreams and a series of Denver Post articles that ran on violent criminals who pretended insanity so they would get sentenced to a mental hospital instead of jail. At some point I put the two ideas together and SLEEPLESS was born.
As for my fascination with dreams, I'll tell you something I've not confessed to anyone else. I've had a couple lucid dreams, met people in my dreams before I've met them in real life and had a few precognitive dreams. I don't have as many of these dreams now as I did when I was in high school and college, but I definitely believe our dreams are a portal to knowledge outside our waking mind. Hopefully no one thinks I sound loony now.
2) You had a short story published in the anthology Breaking Up is Hard to Do before your actual debut book came out. How did that happen?
SLEEPLESS was actually my first sale. Weird, huh? Lynda Sandoval and Niki Burnham are two of my best friends and we'd been talking about how much fun it would be to do a project together. They shared an editor so we pitched the idea for an anthology to her and she really liked it and asked if we could bring Ellen Hopkins on board. That answer was a no brainer, of course. And by some weird publishing miracle BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO came together really fast and ended up being published before SLEEPLESS. I never expected that to happen, but I think it was actually really great that it did. That project means a lot to me and we all hope to do some more collections together. Hopefully that's something our readers would like to see too.
3) Courtesy of fellow 2k8-er Marissa Doyle, what's your favorite jelly bean flavor?
Dr. Pepper Jelly Belly's.
4) Speaking of the Class of 2k8, how did you get involved with them, and what has your experience been thus far with them and the site?
I had discovered the class of 2k7 and I was really impressed by their group marketing efforts. As a new author it can be so hard to get any attention and it made sense to do it as a collective. Let's face it, a group of twenty-seven authors is much more likely to get attention over a single person. I contacted the class and asked if there would be a 2k8 and they placed me on a waiting list. I eventually got invited into the class and it's been an incredible experience. I've learned so much and made great friends. My only wish is that all of us could meet together in person. It's very special to share something as incredible as your debut year together with other people who understand every step. We've weathered high and lows as a group and the most amazing part is the mind-boggling talent of everyone.
5) What are you working on right now? Can you tell us anything about it?
I have two projects I'm shopping around. One is a paranormal romcom called HOLLYWEIRD. It's a tongue-in-cheek poke at Hollywood. The story came about because I'm a rabid fangirl of the TV show SUPERNATURAL and I was daydreaming about Jensen Ackles (can you blame me?) and what it might be like if I got to visit the TV set. What if the real story with the actors was just as supernatural as the show? From there I threw in Satan's son, a fallen angel and two teens who won a trip to visit the set of their fave show.
The other project is as deliciously dark and twisted as SLEEPLESS. It's called DEAD RINGER and it has to do with a girl who visits a gypsy fortune teller only to learn she's doomed to die and she'll know the time is near when she see's her Doppelganger. Only her evil twin wants more than to be a mere harbinger of death, she wants to take over her life, her boyfriend, her everything and she'll do anything in her power to get what she wants.
And waiting in the wings is an idea I have for a vegan vampire and a new series idea I was just struck with at work the other day.
6) Tell us about some of your all-time favorite books, YA or otherwise.
The two books that have resounded the strongest with me lately are Neal Shusterman's UNWIND, which is freakin' brilliant and intense, and Laura Wiess's SUCH A PRETTY GIRL, which wrung me out emotionally and made me in total awe of her. These are the kind of books you never forget.
7) What did you recently finish reading, or are about to start reading?
I'm reading one of my 2k8 classmates books right now, I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME by Lisa Schroeder. Loooving it. Before that I read Brooke Taylor's UNDONE. She's another 2k8er, but we first met at the national Romance Writer's of America conference. I adore her. We have a lot in common and I really want to raid her closet.
8) Stealing from other interviewers, what question have I (or any other interviewer) not asked you that you really wanted them to ask? And then answer it.
Q: What's the best way to support a debut author?
A: If you're interested in reading our book and find it's not in your bookstore or library, please, please request it. Stores are all too happy to place an order for you because it means they'll get your business. Then you get your book and you help the author get in the store. The same is true with libraries. My second job is as a teen librarian and I love it when teens come in and request a book. Nothing makes me happier then giving them a book they're actually excited about reading. Plus the requests help me build my collection and keep it current. So never be afraid to ask for a book!