Questions & Answers
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY SUPERPOWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
It used to be the ability to speak every language in the world, but lately I would trade that for the ability to help my kiddos sleep through the night.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FOOD?
It’s a tie between macaroni & cheese and mashed potatoes. Chocolate is a close runner up.
YOUR BIO SAYS YOU WERE A BALLET DANCER, THEN A DESIGNER, AND NOW A WRITER?
Pretty much, yup. Those three things might sound really random, but to me, they’re just different forms of storytelling. The medium may change, but basic principles of rhythm, scale, tension, structure, and more remain the same. And hey - I like to wear many hats!
SO WHEN DID YOU START WRITING?
My mother is a poet, and my father dutifully read to me every night at bedtime (our family favorites included THE BORROWERS, THE BOXCAR CHILDREN, and anything Roald Dahl), so I grew up with an appreciation for words and stories. I promised my fifth grade teacher (*waves* Hi, Mrs. Hansen!) that I would write a book one day, and I’m so happy that I’m finally going to make good on that promise.
As a kid, I wrote lots of stories and poems, drew lots of pictures, and even tried to publish my own (super cheesy) fashion magazine. In high school, I edited our school's literary magazine, and I tried my hand at playwriting in college. But it wasn’t until years later that I decided to pursue my dream of becoming an author.
WHAT ARE YOUR MOST PRIZED POSSESSIONS?
My library card and my passport. With those two things, I can go anywhere!
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU ENJOY TRAVEL.
I think exploring is the best, most inspiring thing ever (after mac & cheese, of course). I caught the travel bug early – 4 years old, to be exact. We took a family trip to Germany. I was given toast with Nutella for breakfast. It blew my mind. I remember thinking, If kids in Germany eat chocolate for breakfast, what the heck else am I missing?!?!
I decided then and there to see as much of the world as I could. I set a goal: visit 50 different countries before I turned 30 (at the time, 30 seemed positively ancient). I’m proud to say that I finally met my goal, just a few years behind schedule. Now on to the next 50 countries. Or maybe Mars…?
DO YOU HAVE ANY PETS?
Growing up, I always wanted a baby elephant. Instead, we had a dog, hamsters, an escape-artist hermit crab, and Nigerian Dwarf goats. Now the animals in our life include two mischievous but sweet kittens named Whisper and Zucchero (which means sugar in Italian). My mother also has two miniature donkeys, named Roxy and Scruffy. But they’re not really pets. They’re more like very hairy, very beloved family members. And I still really want a baby elephant...
MOST UNUSUAL SUMMER JOB?
I worked as a historical interpreter at Old Sturbridge Village, a living museum In New England. I had to dress in full costume and live like a girl from the 1830’s. It might sound nerdy, but it was awesome. I learned all about history, public speaking, and how to churn some mean butter!
DO YOU EVER GET WRITER’S BLOCK?
Gahhhh! Don’t jinx me! Just kidding. If I ever get stuck on one story, I take a break by reading or writing something new. That’s actually how my debut novel was born. I was at a writing workshop in Big Sur, California working on a different story. I hit a wall with my revisions and decided to go for a walk to clear my head. I wandered into a Redwood forest just as this silvery fog rolled through. I looked up at those massive, magical trees and POOF! a new idea sprouted. I ran back to my cabin and typed up what eventually became the first chapter of The Magic of Melwick Orchard.
DO YOU HAVE ANY WRITING ADVICE?
Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Write. Take time to observe the world around you. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Also, connect with the writing community (SCBWI is a great resource). Find a good critique group. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. Keep trying. My favorite motto for writing (and life in general) is No Grit, No Pearl.