Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
Well, I love speculative fiction and have a particular passion for YA literature, since those are the books that sustained me when I needed them most and taught me that I wasn’t alone. I wrote a YA zombie comedy called Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of), and I co-write (along with my husband, Matt Carter) the YA horror/sci-fi series, The Prospero Chronicles. It’s about teens from different worlds having to come together to fight their town’s infestation of shape-shifting aliens from another dimension, and the third book, Slivers, is coming out this summer! There are going to be five in total.
Matt and I also wrote a horror satire called Agent Ingenue Versus the Lord of Terror, which I adore, but it’s kind of ended up backlogged in our publication queue for now while we’ve been working together on creating something new in the same universe as his solo debut, Almost Infamous. We’ve finally settled on a Superhero Noir story that’s almost done!
I’ve also written a couple of solo YA novels that aren’t scheduled for release yet. Some Side Effects May Occur is a futuristic body horror meditation on eating disorders, and Out of the Pocket is a dark Paranormal Romance satire about dating abuse.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Right now, we’re calling it Pinnacle City, but that may change. It’s a Superhero Noir story set in the same universe as Matt’s Almost Infamous, but with all new characters. This one’s about a down-on-his-luck private detective with the power to read the past of objects, forced to team up with a naive superheroine celebrity who may be one of the only non-corrupt capes in the city, to solve a murder and uncover the much deeper conspiracy behind it. Class struggles are a huge theme throughout, so you could definitely say that current events have been an inspiration.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I don’t usually notice that I’m doing it, but sometimes my characters’ weird habits temporarily become my own. For example, my main character in Pinnacle City is a children’s icon who doesn’t swear. Normally, I don’t keep much of a leash on my language, but since I’ve been writing her, I’ve caught myself saying some of the most bizarre and syrupy curse-substitutes in everyday conversation.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
J.K. Rowling was the one who made me want to be a writer. I always wanted to create characters and worlds that would feel as real as hers did to me. I’m eternally grateful to Suzanne Collins for redefining the YA genre at a time when it desperately needed it, branching teen heroines away from the restrictive mold of romance-centric passivity, and I love John Green and Lauren Oliver for their willingness to pull back from constant action to explore human feeling in ways that more visual media often can’t as deeply.
What are you working on now?
Finishing up the last couple drafts of Pinnacle City, and then soon it’ll be on to book four of The Prospero Chronicles!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I’m learning this as I go. I’m about to find out from my first ever indie launch which parts of the little-bit-of-everything I’ve been trying will do me the most good. I’d hate to mislead anyone before I know more myself.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Your first novel is like your first love. It feels like the only one you’ll ever be capable of, but it’s not. If you’re interested in a career in writing, you’re planning for a lifetime of creating new stuff. It’s okay to fall a little bit in love with every project along the way, but not to the point where you can’t see or learn from its flaws, or imagine any other project ever being as important as the one in front of you now. To develop your talent, you have to fall in love with writing itself, and the process of improving and rediscovering it over and over again.
This is a lesson I keep on learning.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
If you don’t care, why should your reader?
What are you reading now?
Squirrel Girl comics. Every girl should have Doreen Green in her life. I’m not kidding.
What’s next for you as a writer?
After finishing Pinnacle City and probably the last two books of The Prospero Chronicles, I’m thinking of doing something romantic. Possibly involving time travel.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Ouch, only 3 or 4? Takes most of my favorites off the table, because I’d be sad having only part of a series. Let’s go with Warm Bodies, The Fault in Our Stars, The Haunting of Hill House, and How Not to Write a Novel, which happens to be both one of the best writing guides and one of the flat out funniest books I’ve ever read.