The Serious Questions
You know that sort of warm swoop in your stomach from reading a perfect line? Maybe it’s “Always” from Harry Potter or “Love is an element” from Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but books have this miraculous capacity to snatch you out of the world. You could be on a crowded bus or a stuffy airplane and that book is a pocket world. I wanted to craft pocket worlds.
Tell us about your current work in progress.
St. Martin’s graciously contracted me for two books, so I’m working on Book 2, which is a companion novel in the same universe with two secondary characters from Book 1. I love traditional quest books and wanted to play with our expectation of what heroism is and explore more non-Western Otherworlds.
What do you do to cure writer’s block?
Panic usually does the trick…self-imposed deadlines help me overcome writer’s block. Otherwise, rereading beloved books or trying something new always helps me get through thorny writing patches.
Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Do you have any writing rituals?
I absolutely need a cup of coffee beside me. This is true even if I have no intention of drinking the coffee. It’s a very comforting talisman. Perhaps it’s the smell. Maybe I should just invest in a good candle.
What is your favorite book? What about favorite book to movie adaptation?
AHHH!! So difficult…sometimes my favorite book changes by the season. In winter, I reread all the Harry Potter books. In autumn, I return to Holly Black and Neil Gaiman. In spring, I love Laini Taylor. But now that it’s summer, I’d have to say The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. My favorite book to movie adaptation is Babe.
What was your favorite fairy tale as a child (or maybe it still is!)?
I really loved the tale of Savitri and Satyavan. My aunt had an illustrated version of the tale that I asked her to read to me over and over again.
What is the best piece of writing advice you NEVER followed?
Be patient, it’s just a first draft.
Tell us about your journey to publication. What was it like?
Mostly magical, sometimes heartbreaking. Like so many other debut authors, this is not the first book I’ve attempted or even finished. I queried for three months, gathering all my “close, but not quite” and “sorry to pass” rejections before Thao Le of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency offered me representation. We shared the same vision for the book and I felt really validated in all my efforts. After going through revisions, we went on submission in October 2014. That was harrowing. You can’t stop checking your email. Every phone call is cause for dread or excitement. And then there were the rejections. Flattering and heart-warming, but always a no. Around February, I started a major revision. It was really liberating because I felt like I was reconnecting with the story after so long and things started falling into place. In March, inklings of interest became serious interest and before long, I found a new family with MacMillan’s imprint St. Martin’s Press! Talking with my editor, Eileen, was the most awe-inspiring conversation. I really felt (and still feel!) like we shared the same goals for the book and that’s a great connection to have with your editor.
Tell us about THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN! The book sounds fantastic!
Thank you! I’m glad you think so J Hm…what can I say about it that’s not on summaries? To me, it’s about holding stars in the palm of your hand, first-kisses and last-kisses, secrets that hold shape over reincarnated lives, and the deep, bewildering magic of fighting for what you love.
The Random Questions
Dinos or dragons?
Dragon! Dinosaurs are great, but lack a certain mythic quality I find endearing in giant lizards.
What psychic power would you want?
Favorite Disney character?
Hades from Disney’s Hercules. “Name’s Hades, Lord of the Dead. Hi, how ya doin’?”
Morpheus’s Dream Kingdom from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels
Tomatoes: Fruit or veggie?
Morning Person or Night owl?
Favorite Book Ever:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Favorite Movie Ever:
Music Earworm of the Moment:
“One Time” by Marian Hill