What resources have you found most helpful on your writing path?
I love Twitter, honestly. #wipmadness, #amwriting—they keep me going every month. I love the encouragement and kicks-in-butt I know my fellow writers are just dying to give. I love doing the same for them, too, because this energizes me. I’ve found several betas this way, too—mutual, of course. The blogosphere, for me, goes hand-in-hand with Twitter.
Books on craft include On Writing by Stephen King, Characters and Viewpoints by Orson Scott Card, and The Art of Fiction by John Gardner. Yeah, I picked that up in one especially good MFA workshop, so it’s pretty dense.
What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve experienced along the way?
When I was a teen, my best friend’s grandpa who used to be the president of two large Florida newspapers and formerly taught at Missouri School of Journalism, read and critiqued my first complete novel. Y’all, this thing was 200K. And he did it with kindness and integrity. We wrote letters back and forth while I was in college—he offered to pay my way whenever I scraped to get by. He believed in me.
Favorite children’s books? Authors?
Chronicles of Narnia—I lived and breathed this series for years. I can quote you a whole chapter from The Silver Chair. Also, Scott O’Dells Island of the Blue Dolphins. More recently, I adored Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials and Plain Kate by Erin Bow, to name a few.
What keeps you going when you feel like giving up?
Running, writing friends who tell me I can do it, ice cream. Er. Well, and then pushing through despair until I forget it was there. Oh, and my brother, who’s an aspiring film maker living the dream out in LA—i.e. living gig to gig, hand to mouth. We shared a lot of world-making together as kids. He’s inspiring and brave.
If you could choose to live any place on the planet, where would it be?
I really can’t answer this question. The idea of living somewhere, of settling down, scares the bejeebies out of me. But I do have this dream of traveling to some place in far East Europe (or something), and living on a farm with a family I don’t know and can’t speak to because nobody for 40 miles around speaks English, and doing manual labor for room and board for 2 years. No laptop, no cell phone. Just sweat, my own thoughts, and the smell of living.
Describe your fantasy writing space?
Coffee shop with just the right amount of ambient noise. The perfect blueberry scone or zucchini muffin. The perfect cappuccino. Gorgeous wood paneling and bay windows with linen curtains. A light, chill breeze whenever the door tinkles open.
What obstacles have you overcome in order to keep writing?
Parting ways with good friends who were also crutches. That’s the biggest.
What one word describes your writing process?
What do you appreciate the most about being part of the children’s writers community?
How amazingly kind, generous, truly well-meaning and outwardly non-competitive everyone is. I don’t have to ask twice for help, encouragements, challenges… I never imagined it’d be this way.
Best writing advice you’ve been given?
Go with your gut, but guts can be honed.
What do you like to keep in mind while drafting a story?
From scene to scene: 1. What my MC wants or needs to have happen. 2. What my Antagonist wants or needs to have happen. And 3. The ending, the feel and weight of it in my mind. That trajectory.
How will you celebrate the publication of your first book?
Probably tears, squeals, excessive dancing & prancing, lots of phone calls.
Social media presence? Please share your links