1. Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?
Yes. When I was a child I was always reading! My mom was lovely enough to say that there was no budget when it came to books. I think all that reading inspired the writing. But that's not to say there weren't years when life took me in another direction: editorial assistant, online ad sales, art therapist... I am deeply thankful that it brought me back! Even when I wasn't writing fiction I was writing in journals, letters, etc.
2. What are some of your favorite YA novels?
Recently Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (WOW! I bow down!), In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan, The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana, The Valiant by Lesley Livingston - older...does I Capture the Castle count as YA? I think Star Girl is middle grade but an absolute favorite! The Penderwicks (the whole series) - also probably middle grade...but since we are on MG - The Gallery and Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald. I could go on and on...
3. When do you write?
In the morning if I can. Definitely in the morning. But nothing crazy - like 8:00 AM. I usually have about 4 hours in me unless I am on a serious deadline then maybe I can stretch out more. Or I'll do another session at night.
4. What do you do when you're not writing?
Spend time with my family. I love to exercise outside and do yoga. At this point it's also a must if I'm going to be sitting for long stretches writing. I'm usually obsessed with some book and some tv show as well. Sometimes I love to cook, but I get sick of it and love going out as well. If I can get to the beach, my soul is happy - no matter the weather.
5. How do you come up with ideas for your stories?
Not easily. I'm really hard on my ideas and shoot them down readily. It's definitely my weak point - but once I get one - even a strong thread - I can really go from there!
6. Advice to new writers?
Hmm...anything you haven't heard before? I don't think there are hard and fast rules but sitting down to write...well it helps. Sometimes you have to clear the muck and the cobwebs out before you can get to the good stuff. Don't be afraid or discouraged when nothing but sludge comes out -- that happens. Get a community of other (kind/supportive) writers around you. I have an online community that is like gold! Imagine what you might write if you weren't going to try to publish it - or even show it someone else.
Also, I think being a professional writer is one part inspiration, rainbow unicorn dust and three parts hard work and revision. Stick with it!