What inspired you to become an author?
I started thinking about writing a teen novel after reading S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders in 7th grade. That was the only book we had to read for school that I actually loved. I slept with it under my pillow, hoping for some magical form of osmosis to transmit the power of that book into my brain so that one day I could write a book that would help teens feel less alone the way that book helped me. And trust me when I say you did not want to watch the movie with me. I was that annoying person who recited every line of dialogue while you were trying to watch.
Creative visualization is a powerful thing. After I read The Outsiders, I started writing a fanfic sequel. I never finished it (which is a good thing, considering how massively it sucked), but becoming an author was my dream bigger career. I held onto the hope that I would have a teen novel published one day, and took action to turn that dream into reality. Now The Outsiders sits next to my own books on my bookshelf, all published by the Viking imprint of Penguin. It’s an awesome example of how creating your ideal life is absolutely possible. Never be afraid to dream big!
Do you listen to music while you write?
john mayer from front row center!
Music has always been a major part of my life. I cannot even imagine how I would have survived my teen years without playing music the second I got home. In my 20s, music kept me going over countless late nights of writing papers and studying for tests in college and grad school, then while I was grading tons of papers when I was a teacher. Now music inspires me to be creative when I need a boost. It is an instant mood adjuster. Music saves me when I'm sad, just like reading a good book or watching a fave movie does.
I used to listen to music all the time while I was writing. But then there was a shift after my first five or six books. Now I usually need quiet to focus while I write. But I will play music while I'm writing if I need it to bring certain feels. Depending on the type of scene I'm creating, I'll play different types of music. Like if I play The Cure, all of those intense first love feels from high school instantly come flooding back. Coldplay brings a rush of nostalgia every time. John Mayer is always on heavy rotation. Just like Marisa in Waiting for You, I believe the answers to all of life's problems can be found in John Mayer's songs.
Will you be writing sequels to any of your books? Will any of your books be made into a movie?
Although I haven't yet made a decision about writing sequels, if I do decide to write one you'll find out first on my blog. That's where I post all of my latest book news. But! My most recent books are the City Love trilogy, so you can follow my girls Sadie, Darcy, and Rosanna over three books the summer before their freshman year of college begins in New York City. After writing eight standalone novels, I was stoked to work on my first series.
A movie adaptation is one of my biggest dreams. While I was writing When It Happens, I pictured each scene as a scene from a movie, complete with soundtrack. I am forever hopeful that Sara and Tobey will eventually find their way to the screen! Right now we're working on adapting Something Like Fate for film and the City Love trilogy as a TV series. Book-to-screen adaptations involve a long process, but I have a Knowing that one will happen. Always dreaming big...
Where do you get your ideas?
Writing about the things I know is usually easiest for me, so some of my plot ideas are inspired by actual events in my life. If I've experienced something life-altering or really intense, I like finding a way to share that overwhelming feeling with my readers. But sometimes I'll see or hear something totally random and just know that it has to end up in one of my books. Weird events are some of my best sources of inspiration. I also love imagining scenarios that never happened to me, but would have been awesome. So some of my characters experience things that I really wish I had. I try not to be jealous of them.