More questions! More answers!
What's your favorite book cover of your own book?
Of my American covers, I like BOUND's the best -- the model looks more like Mo than the other two covers, (although the same girl is also on TANGLED). She looks a little more natural and less magical. And the green foil on the finished cover looks fantastic.
Of my German covers, I don't think I can choose. They're both so gorgeous, and complement each other so well...it would be like picking a favorite child.
What's your favorite book?
I must sound terribly indecisive, but again, choosing only one is impossible! Some of my favorites are:
- Neil Gaiman's NEVERWHERE
- Libba Bray's A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY
- Philip Pullman's THE GOLDEN COMPASS,
- Madeleine L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME
- Margaret Mahy's THE CHANGEOVER.
These are the books I read over and over, finding something new each time.
How do you like to celebrate each new book?
Hmnn...when TORN came out, I went to a movie with my agent. When TANGLED came out, I cleaned the bathrooms. I haven't given much thought to how I'll celebrate BOUND -- maybe I'll sleep late and demand sushi for dinner. That seems like a good plan. In truth, it's the finishing of a draft that I'm more inclined to celebrate, since that's the hardest part of the process, and the one that requires the most patience and sacrifice from my family.
What was your publishing journey like?
Unexpected! The short version is that I wrote TORN, queried some agents, and entered RWA's Golden Heart contest. One of the final round judges liked the manuscript and offered to buy it. One of the agents I'd queried had requested the partial, so I contacted her, and she immediately read the full, then offered representation. I ended up interviewing three agents, and the one I'd originally queried was definitely the best fit. She took over negotiations, and almost a year to the day that I recieved the offer, TORN was on shelves! Here's a couple of the posts that explain more about it:
How did TORN come about?
TORN came about because I was reading a lot of books where the heroine discovered she was a prophesied "chosen one" who was destined to save the world. I LOVED those books, but I was also curious -- what if the Chosen One died, and her sidekick had to take her place? What if Harry Potter died, and Ron Weasley had to stop Voldemort, or Buffy died and Xander had to defeat the season's Big Bad? And what kind of person would be willing to take on that role, knowing that, since they weren't chosen and didn't have magical powers, they were likely to die? The answer was someone like Mo -- who was accustomed to people keeping secrets, who didn't resent the Chosen One for her specialness, who loved her friend so much she was willing to risk her own life for the sake of vengeance. The idea actually came to me in the shower, and by the time I got out and started drying off, I had Mo's story almost completely plotted out.
How did you make time to write when you were still teaching full-time?
I...didn't. Even though I wrote a lot in college, I didn't really make time for writing while I was teaching. It sucked up the bulk of my attention, and when I wasn't teaching or coaching, I was reading. It wasn't until well after my second child was born that I really started to write again -- to take the stories drifting around my head and commit them to paper. And it wasn't until I took my writing seriously that I made progress toward getting published.
How did you pick your character's names?
For this series, the names of the major characters came pretty easily. In Mo's case, I wanted something that sounded Irish, and could be both really pretty (Maura) and really humble (Mo). And somewhere along the line, Luc started calling her Mouse, at which point it was impossible to think of her with any other name.
Colin was easy, happily, because I knew I wanted another Irish-sounding name, and something that felt very solid, just like him. Luc's first name was easy, too, but his last name gave me fits, because I wanted something that tied into his element. Fire -- feu -- seemed a little too obvious, but foudre means lightning in French, so I figured that might work. Of course, translated, his name comes out to be Light of Lightning, which seems a little excessive, and exactly the sort of obnoxiously showy thing Dominic would insist on. But Luc hates being called Lucien, so it's a non-issue for him.
Verity's name came to me immediately -- it means "truth," and her last name -- Grey -- was meant to contradict it. Mo starts out the series believing that everything is black and white, true or false, right or wrong. And by the end of the series, she understands that there are shades and nuances and degrees to everything. I also liked the idea that every woman in her family had a "virtue" name: Constance, Patience, Evangeline (which is not strictly a virtue, but it fit, and she definitely wanted to convert people to her beliefs).
Billy, of course, got his name because I liked the idea of a mobster named "Charming" Billy Grady, after the nursery rhyme.
You were a teacher and a cheerleading coach: what made you decide to become a writer?
For starters, I was the world's WORST cheerleading coach. I knew nothing about cheerleading. I knew nothing about basketball, the sport we were cheering for. I was perfectly happy in my ignorance, so I told the girls they could do whatever they wanted as long as they didn't bleed and didn't go onto the court when they weren't supposed to. It was not an ideal match, is what I am saying.
I didn't decide to pursue writing until I'd been out of teaching for nearly five years. I was staying home with my kids, and frankly, one can only play "Fisher Price Little People Go On A Field Trip to the Farm" so many times before one's mind wanders and you start imagining a torrid backstory for Farmer Jed. I'd always written, and constructing stories in my head kept me sane. Eventually, it got to a point where I wanted to see them on paper, too.