1) How did you get the idea for My So-Called Family?
The idea came to me in pieces I have a friend who used a donor to have a baby, and my best friend told me about a movie that featured a number of donor kids. Then one day I was watching The Today Show, and there were a bunch of women being interviewed whose kids all had the same donor. I thought about what it would be like to have siblings you might not even know about, and the character Leah was born.
2) What are you working on right now? Can you tell us anything about it?
I just finished going through the copy edits for my next book, POSITIVELY, which comes out September 8, 2009 it's about a 13 year old girl named Emerson who is living with HIV. It was a very tough, emotional book to write, but I'm really proud of it. And I've just started working on a new book about a girl who lives with her mother and sister, and is transplanted from New York City to Lancaster, PA (Amish Country!) for the summer.
3) You're part of the Class of 2k8. How did you get involved with this group, and how has the experience been so far with them?
A couple years ago, the wonderful writer Cynthia Lord (author of RULES) had posted something on her blog about the soon-to-be-formed Class of 2K8. I looked it up, sent an email to the co-presidents, Marissa Doyle and Jody Feldman, and crossed my fingers that they'd choose me to be part of it. I'm thrilled that they did, because the experience has been wonderful.
4) What do you like best about writing for teens? Is there a part of it that you don't like?
In a lot of ways, the person you're going to be as an adult is shaped by the people who are around you and the experiences you have when you're a teenager at least that's the way it was for me so it's a really interesting period to write about. Also, writing for kids and young adults gives me an excellent excuse for reading other MG/YA books, which are some of the greatest stories I've ever read.
In terms of a part I don't like . . . I think the teenage years are among the toughest to get through, and so in writing about them, I have to think back to experiences that were hard to go through the first time around. But at the same time, I find writing to be very therapeutic.
5) Courtesy of fellow Class of 2k8-er Marissa Doyle, what is your favorite jelly bean flavor?
It's a toss-up between lemon and cherry.
6) What is your writing process like? Do you have any rituals that you do to get the juices flowing, or do you just sit down and start typing?
I turn my computer on around the same time everyday 8:30 a.m. while I'm watching The Today Show, and sometime between 8:30 and 9 o'clock, I turn off the TV and start writing. Sometimes I play music on iTunes Madonna, Sheryl Crow, and Carly Simon are generally in the rotation. But if I'm really in the writing groove, then I turn the music off and just write.
7) What book(s) have you read lately, or are about to start?
I just read EVERY SOUL A STAR by my friend Wendy Mass it was incredible and, as I told Wendy, I have a new favorite book quote: "I like to have everything completely planned out. That way I always know what to wear."
I went to the bookstore yesterday and picked up a few books, so these are next on my list, in no particular order: THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE, SONGS FOR THE MISSING, and TWILIGHT (I know: finally!)