What is the most important thing you have learned since becoming an author?
You need to write for yourself. It’s hard for me, because I love books and I love to read anything, so I guess I naively used to believe everyone was like that. It took me a while to put it all together and figure out what was most important to me and what that meant for me as an author.
Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
I can’t redeem characters who abuse other people or animals. A character who sexually assaults someone or bullies them or beats them will never deserve redemption in my eyes. There’s a line and I am a fan of complicated characters, but once you abuse another person for your own benefit, you don’t earn the right to be redeemed. And I absolutely will never make that abuser a love interest.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My Gamerscore? 😀
You write across many genres, from fantasy, to comedy, is there a genre you prefer not to write in?
Not really. I used to write romance, but when I think of romance I like, I think of books like those by Simone Elkeles or Jenny Han or even Danielle Steel (at least when I used to read her books 20 years ago). However, I’ve never enjoyed the “Fabio romances,” and when I wrote romance, I wanted to write love stories about real people. I don’t think the escapism that people prefer in romance and my style of writing mesh well, so generally, I think romance is something I’m going to put aside.
Do you remember the very first book you read on your own? What was it?
I don’t really, because I remember reading before anything else. I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood and I loved The Velveteen Rabbit and the Little House series, but I don’t remember what I read first on my own.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Trusting yourself. It’s incredibly difficult for me to have faith in my work, because I don’t have a lot of faith in myself as a person. I tend to hate everything I write and I have very loud inner critical voices that never go away.
What is your favorite quote?
“Everyone who isn’t us is an enemy.” – Cersei from Game of Thrones for two reasons: 1. I think she’s awesome and 2. it says a lot about how empathy really works in the world. Eventually, if it comes down to ourselves or anyone else, most people choose themselves.
What advice would you give the younger you?
None of it matters, so do what you want to do. You can’t please anyone, not really, and it’s the only life you have. I spent a lot of my life trying to make everybody else happy, but in the end, it wasn’t enough and no one really was.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
I like the escape into another person’s life and to be able to put into words the ways of the world.
As the author of YA novels with strong female protagonists is there anything you would like to say young girls who would be reading your novels?
To quote Cersei again, “Everywhere in the world, they hurt little girls.” Let’s make a world where they don’t.
Growing up who were your role models?
My grandfather, my high school English teacher, Holden Caulfield, Jane Eyre, Eponine in Les Miserables