Her debut MG, Breaking the Ice, about a twelve-year-old figure skater who has a major meltdown at a competition and finds herself starting over with the misfits of the Fallton Figure Skating Club, will be published by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster on January 13, 2015.
She is also the co-author of the RSVP books with Jen Malone, about four twelve-year-old best friends who form a party planning business in a North Carolina beach town, also from Aladdin/S&S, to be published in May 2015 and Spring 2016.
I suppose I should say Laura Ingalls Wilder or Lucy Maud Montgomery or one of my other favorite MG authors...but I'm really thinking Hunter S. Thompson.
2. Look, I got a time machine on eBay! Where do you want to go? (Said time machine may possibly malfunction and leave you there. Possibly. It was *very* cheap.)
You can't ask me this question. I have a masters in US history. I want to go everywhere in the past (and probably wouldn't mind getting stuck there. Unless people are shooting at me.). I'm that weirdo who stands on a city street corner and tries really, really hard to envision how it would've looked in 1800. But, to keep with the figure skating theme of my book, I'll pick watching Dick Button land the first double axel ever in competition in 1948. That would've been amazing to witness.
3. What’s your favourite thing about writing for kids?
Not having to make excuses for watching the Disney channel or perusing the junior's department while listening to twelve-year-olds dish about who likes who and whether the blue top is better than the green top. It's research!
4. A witch has cast a spell on you (sorry about that) and you’ve woken up as a character in a children’s book – what’s your special talent or power?
Invisibility! I know that's sort of boring and obvious, but it would be soooo much fun. I'd go to concerts I can't afford, fly to places I can't afford, and sit in on secret government meetings. I'd probably also hitch a ride in someone's zoomy sports car and go to fancy celebrity parties.
5. What’s the scariest or strangest thing you’ve ever done?
In 1999, I was doing a study abroad in Paris and went with some friends to see Bryan Adams (Bryan Adams!! Yes, I revel in my dorkiness.) perform live at a free, outdoor concert in the Place de la Republique. It started out fun, but the crowd grew and grew and grew and starting pushing. You either moved with them or risked getting trampled by 100,000(ish) enthusiastic Parisians. It was pretty scary, actually. There's nothing quite like fearing for your life while Bryan Adams croons (Everything I Do) I Do It For You.
6. What’s something you wish you’d known about writing when you started out? What’s something you wish you’d known about publishing?
For writing, I wish I'd known to read more current MG while writing my first book. I didn't learn that until after I'd completed my first draft, and when I did start reading, I quickly figured out that I was writing in the style of MG that was popular when I was a kid. Meaning, OLD. (Okay, not that old, but still...not current.)
For publishing, I wish someone had told me to be annoying. Not like obnoxious annoying, but persistent annoying. So you've written a book and queried and gotten nowhere? Mope for a day or two, then analyze why that book didn't get picked up and write another one. Query that one and see what happens. Nothing? Do it all over again. Be that annoying writer who refuses to give up until he/she gets it right. If you want it, you'll make it happen, no matter how many tries it takes.
7. What would your daemon be?
A marmot. They're fat, they're happy (I suppose...I've never asked one, but they're too adorable not to be happy), they're so, so, so cute, and they live in some the most beautiful mountain ranges in the word. See photo above of the roly-poly marmot cuteness.
8. My book doesn’t have dragons, but it does have... mean girls wearing skates. And a pretty scary Skate Mom.