1. You’re a teen again and call your MC (from your story in volume 3) on the phone with urgent news: What’s the news and what is his/her reaction?
My job was to challenge Alexandra, to force her growth, so if I were to continue the story in any way, it would be with news that would make her take a step beyond what she’s already accomplished by forgiving herself. So I’d probably call up as The Asshole, with news that I’m leaving town, and before I go, I want her forgiveness. I’d force her to choose to see him or not, to figure out what she needs to do to move on. The first thing she’d want to do is to call up Ernie for some no-bullshit advice, but maybe she wouldn’t. Maybe as Alexandra learns to trust herself, she’d go it alone and report back to Ernie after all was conquered. I envision her walking up to Ernie and revealing a little scrap of paper with The Asshole’s phone number on it and ripping it up with a smirk. They’d make confetti out of the scraps, and celebrate her independence.
2. We are making a short film of your story, who plays the lead character?
You know, I’m sort of a hermit lately and I really don’t watch enough TV or movies to say, but I’ve always liked Claire Danes and I think she did an amazing job in Brokedown Palace. It would have to be someone like her who could be authentic in the roll of a somewhat troubled and uncertain young woman.
3. If you were hired to co-author a book with a best selling YA author of YOUR choice, who would you choose?
I would grovel at the feet of Katja Millay, author of The Sea of Tranquility. Because she’s honest with her characters, and brutal, and scrapes for the shine beneath the tarnish. And she’s smart with symbolism. Those are all elements I strive for in my own stories.
4. Describe your weirdest writing habit.
I write myself to sleep. Not literally, but in my head. Sleep is a sacred time for me, and I take hours to get there (gotta love insomnia). So I actually do a good deal of writing in my head as a way to work through plots and problems, and eventually (if I’m lucky) I end up dreaming scenes that will come back to me later when I sit down to write.
5. Which character in the classic teen movie The Breakfast Club bests describes you in high school?
I admit, I had to rewatch the movie because I could only remember bits of it, but Allison nailed me the moment she began drawing in the back row. I wasn’t as eccentric as her, but definitely as much of a no name. In fact, by the time I graduated from high school, instead of knowing anything about myself, all I knew was what I wasn’t; I wasn’t good at sports, I wasn’t smart, I wasn’t a partier or a goth, I had no school spirit or motivation for anything, I was the opposite of popular, but I wasn’t even picked on all that much either, because I learned how to be ignored. Actually, I might have been an anti-Allison, because while she was looking for attention, I was looking for ways to hide. Only now that I’m in my early 30s do I realize that I was an artist and a writer; a quiet observer of people. Back then, I didn’t even have enough confidence to claim that for myself.
6. What’s the best part about being a member of the Sucker family (so far!).
The best part of being a Sucker(!) for me is finally feeling like the younger me that I’ve buried so deep has a place of acceptance. Connecting with other YA writers and readers seems to me more than just a professional link, it feels like a confessional link– that hey, we’ve all been there, felt awkward, loved too much, gotten in and out of trouble and fought against our own identities, and in our writing, at least, we’ve never truly left.