There are no overt commonalities among any of my novels, with the exception that all but one takes place in upstate, New York. I love the little college town I live in and enjoy weaving real-life places with fictional for my characters to visit. Most of my YA characters also attend the same fictional high school. Maybe one of these days I'll write a book in which they all meet and share one big adventure!
With regard to common themes, I suppose you could say each of my books focus around a central character at a crossroads in her life, the point where choosing this path over that one will have a major impact on her life.
Your first novel, Precipice, is for adults. What made you decide to switch over to YA? Are you planning to write more adult novels too?
Precipice was my very first novel-length manuscript from many years ago that sat untouched in a desk drawer. I published it (without really editing it!) at the insistence of a friend who loved the story and characters and wanted a print version. I honestly did not expect to sell many, if any, copies. Incidentally, it will be getting a complete cover and content makeover in the near future. I've learned a lot about writing since then and now can't look at that book without cringing a little (okay, a lot). My next adult novel, which I plan to start writing by the end of the year, will be a spin-off of Precipice and focus on Julia's sister, Kim. I'd love to write a romantic comedy, too!
When I first started writing, I hadn't read any novels specifically marketed for the YA crowd. But then I heard about this little book called Twilight, and it was all downhill from there. I was hooked! I quickly followed that up with the House of Night series, then the Wicked Lovely and Wolves of Mercy Falls series . . . anything YA I could get my hands on.
Your first YA novel, Turning Point, sounds like a blend of contemporary and thriller. How do you categorize it?
Turning Point was a difficult one for me to categorize because it definitely is a blend of the two. I tell people it's a YA thriller. Turning Point is unlike anything I would ever normally read or write, but I had this little scenario stuck in my head and just ran with it. The first version was quite wicked and had to be toned down for the YA crowd. Even now, it's one I recommend for a more mature audience. Jenna and Dominic remain two of my favorite characters.
Your cover for The Spirit Keeper is amazing and I’ve already loaded it onto my Kindle because it sounds fabulous. Did you have to do a lot of research into Native American folklore to write the novel? [yes - I’m cheating and trying to get more insight into the novel.]
Thank you! Damon Xeda, the artist who designed the covers for The Spirit Keeper and Blood Type, is brilliant. You can view a sampling of other covers he's designed at http://www.Damonza.com.
When I first had it in my mind that I wanted to write a novel with a Native American main character, I began researching the Iroquois Nation. It seemed only natural, given that the book is set in upstate New York and the Iroquois once had a strong presence in this area. But then I began writing the story in such a way that it portrayed that particular group of people in a very negative light. In my gut, I didn't like what I was doing or where my story was going. I toyed with the idea of making Sarah Caucasian, but I knew the story would never work if I did. So I did what any other author would do; I made up my own tribe! The Katori people, to my knowledge, are completely fictional. Readers will learn more about them in The Seventh Tribe, which is due out in the spring of 2013.
I’m secretly still in love with all things vampire so Blood Type looks great to me, but were you afraid of writing in an area that publishers say has been overdone post-Twilight? [editorial note: Blood Type is coming this fall.]
I love vampires. LOVE THEM! The great thing about being a self-published author is that I get to write what appeals to me. I've always joked that I was going to write a vampire novel at some point in my life, and then it just sort of happened. The idea for the book grew from a creative writing prompt. In fact, the entire first chapter is a polished version of my original submission. And Blood Type is nothing like Twilight, trust me. About the only similarity is that the main characters happen to be teenagers.
What’s scarier: an angry spirit or a vampire at night?
A vampire at night, definitely. I remember reading Salem's Lot when I was eleven or so, and then watching the movie and having nightmares because of it. But what's even scarier are the vampires you meet during the day . . . I'm convinced The Commons in downtown Ithaca is a hot-spot for them (hint, hint).
You’re probably getting used to doing interviews by now -- what’s the one thing you’ve always wanted to be asked but no one ever does? (I want to hear the answer too!)
Does your spouse read your books? I always want to know that about writers, but they never talk about it. The short answer to that question is NO, and I really hope this guilts my husband in to reading my work! In all seriousness, my husband did read the final version of Turning Point, which he enjoyed. However, he's not big on YA paranormal. Given that he's a 46-year-old male, I can't hardly blame him.
Thriller or paranormal romance?
Food you couldn’t live without?
This would probably change from day to day depending what I'm craving. Right now it's my husband's homemade chili and cornbread.
Eight of them! My black lab puppy, Chloe; the cats - Louie, Joey, and Ernie; the guinea pigs - Jeffrey, Mikey, Buddy, and Dobby
Crabtree and Evelyn's Rosewater perfume. It reminds me of my grandma.
And to buy, check her out on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.