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Two cranes
one crane
tape here
tape there


:: Did you always want to be a writer?

Yes. I have always made up a lot of stories (which tended to get me in trouble when I was younger), and I’ve always loved to read.  I always thought I might end up a poet, or maybe a documentary film writer. Instead, I became a journalist with a small, weekly newspaper in northern Michigan and a freelance feature writer for magazines.  So even though I just sold my first novel this year, I’ve been a professional writer for 13 years. It makes me feel insanely fortunate.

:: What were you like as a teenager?

I think my Dear Teen Me essay sums it up. Writing a letter to my younger self reminded to tell the truth, Always.

:: Was it hard to get an agent?

Yes. And no. You can read the long version here, but the short version is this: I did my homework and it paid off, and now I’m part of Greenhouse Literary. Sarah Davies, my agent, is part unicorn, part ninja, and all brilliance.

:: Where did you get the idea for WORDS AND THEIR MEANINGS?

There a few ways to answer this.  I always start with the characters hanging out in my head, and Anna had been lounging around in my brain for many years, alongside her quirky little sister, Bea. When I started writing Anna’s story, it was very different than what’s on the page now.  I think that’s because my agent taught me to pay closer attention to the heart of the story–to hold up a big question when I’m writing. In Anna’s case, there were a couple: what do words, and writing, really mean?  And also, how are the people we love always more, and less, than what we see? The other, less interesting answer? I wanted to write a love story, of sorts.

:: Why do you write Young Adult?

Because teenagers are awesome. And because that’s what comes out of my head.

:: What’s your favorite book?

Oh, my. That’s tough. Right now? Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I’m sort of obsessed with this book, actually. It’s the most honest, real, raw first love story I’ve ever read. And I’ve read A LOT of love stories.

:: What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

Being the mouse at Chuck E. Cheese. Seriously. Sometimes I still have nightmares about that suit. It was so hot and stinky and I once got my big mouse ears stuck in the play structure.

::What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Read like it’s your main source of nutrition and write as much as possible. Simple but true.

*bonus: everything on this virtual desk is mine in real life. Succulents are some of my favorite plants, ’cause they are hard to kill. That penguin/owl dude was my grandma’s. She collected tchotchke like I collect books.  That itty-bitty picture is me, with a dear friend, somewhere in Wyoming.  It reminds me of all the experiences that make a life. We live by the lake, and we have a lot of rocks. I am pretty blind without my glasses. Like, you would be a giant blob two feet in front of my face.  And my mug. Best. Mug. Ever.   Thanks to the incredibly patient and talented Tessa at ipopcolor for making this website full of awesome..