Today I will be answering some questions about myself and my work! I pulled question prompts from the website: The John Fox.
What is the first book that made you cry?
The first book that made me cry was one of the books in the Camp Confidential series. It was when the character Priya got into a fight with her best friend Jordan. I haven’t read this series since the sixth grade, but I remember the scene vividly. The book that made me cry after that was The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
When I was in university I stopped reading novels for fun and only read what was on the syllabus…a lot of which was really dry. The entire time, I felt like I was being forced to read, and it was taking the fun out of one of my favourite hobbies.
I managed to rekindle my love of reading by reading more manga and graphic novels during university. These were my “books to read for fun” while the novels I was assigned for my classes continued to be my homework. Doing this prevented me from getting reader’s block, and I’ve been able to discover so many new favourite genres since graduating!
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Yes, and I did for a while with my poetry. I ended up publishing under my real name after I became a voice actress since it made sense to keep my work under the same name.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I write whatever I want to read. That’s what got me into writing in the first place. When it comes to readers I just try to keep in mind the age group of my target audience, and the genre I’m writing in. Other than that, during the first draft I go wherever the story takes me.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
The majority of my friends who write are poets, song writers and journalists. I love their work and support them whenever I can. Having friends who are into the arts is nice because you can cheer one another on! It’s also great because sometimes they have valuable knowledge to share such as tips, or lessons they’ve learned along their own journey. After graduating however, I’ve gotten to know a lot of amazing authors of a variety of genres, and am always excited to see their work! I’ve also had opportunities to work with some of them whether it was their my voice over work, or by doing editing and beta reading on early drafts of their books.
Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
That depends on the book. I have some books that are series, and others that are stand-alone. I mostly do whatever the characters ask for…so if the story requires more room for the characters to grow, I’ll do a series. If the events and character growth take place in a short amount of time then it will usually end up being a single book.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep reading! Keep practicing! Keep having fun! But please, please go outside a little more. We need a tan.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I’m getting better at meeting the deadlines I set for myself. Prior to publishing I would create really loose deadlines, and would do my best to stick to them, mainly because I knew that eventually I would need to learn to work within that time frame. Now, I try to write every day and keep track of my progress for each project so that I can meet all of my deadlines on time.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
A lot…like…I don’t even know anymore. Years ago I knew the exact number but now I can’t even remember. I can tell you that I’ve got about 3 projects on the go aside from The Vermin Series, that I’m super excited about.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I spend a lot of time researching, mainly because I never stop. Before I begin a book, I’ll research whatever I think I need to know at that introductory point…usually this is just to help form the setting. Afterwards I will continue to research as I go and compile all of that information into notes.
How many hours a day do you write?
It depends on the day. I try to write for an hour minimum whenever I can. If I miss a day, I don’t stress over it and make it up later on.
What did you edit out of this book?
There were a few scenes and some dialogue that was taken out. There was also a bunch of stuff that was added, to help flesh things out more. Most of what was added was from the sequel, which now gives me more room to expand since it was introduced earlier in the series.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I really like names, and depending on the story the names of a character are significant. In The Vermin Series, I picked named based on the time period that the story takes place, however in the case of my characters surnames, I believe I came up with those while glancing around my room. A lot of the time I find that characters end up being named after streets in my neighbourhood, or after plants.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I’d either be a singer or an artist…which I already do but I’ve missed singing for an audience these past few years. I do get to sing for work though, when I’m voice acting so that’s always fun!
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Some of my books have secret inside jokes that are between my sister and I. Only she’d know what they are an I like that, because the jokes are usually really stupid and corny but they make us laugh.
What was your hardest scene to write?
I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but in book one the hardest scene for me to write was the one between Roland and his mother. I cried writing it, I cried editing it and I cry every time I read it.
Do you Google yourself?
Yes. I like to check the release dates of shows I’ve worked on and I find the fastest way is to look up my own name, mainly because it’s not popular.
What is your favorite childhood book?
This might be a long list…but if I had to pick Jerry Spinelli, Gordon Korman, Margaret Peterson Haddix and Judy Blume were my top authors. I also adored the Babysitter’s Club, Princess School and Camp Confidential Series.
Does your family support your career as a writer?
Yes, 100%. I’m extremely grateful and fortunate to have a family that supports all of my creative endeavors. It can make such a huge difference when you have the support of those closest to you.