Was The Land of Yesterday the first book you’ve ever written?
No! It was the fifth novel I finished all the way to the end.
Did you always want to be a writer?
It actually never occurred to me to even try to become a published author until after my last child was born. Looking back though, writing was always the one thing I could do better than anything else. Something that came naturally. Honestly, as a child I wanted to be Indiana Jones. (TBH, I still want to be Indiana Jones. I mean . . . I even named my last child after him!)
What was the first thing you remember writing?
A Shakespearean sonnet when I was eight about my cat pooping on the dining room table. Haha. It even had perfect meter and rhyme, and my gran liked it much better than my poem’s inspiration.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. Every memory. Every experience. Every conversation and heartbreak I've ever had. From every joy and event that has ever moved through me and changed my life.
What are some of your favorite books?
In no particular order:
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The Narnia series by C. S. Lewis
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor (and everything else by Laini, too)
The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan
The Conqueror's Saga by Kiersten White
The Folk of the Air by Holly Black
The Wrath and the Dawn series by Renee Ahdieh
Legend series by Marie Lu
Skellig by David Almond
Peasprout Chen series by Henry Lien
Inkworld series by Cornelia Funke
The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King
Kafka On the Shore by Haruki Murakami (and everything else by Murakami)
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
You've Reached Sam by Dustin Thao
And so many, many more.
What are a few of your favorite movies?
Titanic (1997, James Cameron)
Howl's Moving Castle (Miyazaki)
Spirited Away (Miyazaki)
Totoro (Miyazaki, okay fine, EVERY Miyazaki is my fave)
Shrek 1, 2 (especially 2!), and 3, but not 4 we don't talk about Shrek 4 *shivers*
Pan's Labrynth (Guillermo Del Toro)
The Lord of the Rings series
The Fall (Tarsem Singh)
What are some of your favorite TV shows?
The Umbrella Academy
A Discovery of Witches
Game of Thrones
The Last Kingdom
Avatar, the Last Airbender
The Legend of Korra
Yuri on Ice
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
Sk8 The Infinity
Wow, I could keep going but won't bore you any longer!
What's something about you that people might be surprised to find out?
I have synesthesia. When I write, I hear the beats of words like music. I can also smell colors, see the colors of numbers, and feel the emotion of each. Words have corresponding colors as well, whole passages, and books, too. The most colorful book I’ve ever read is The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, which is like a rainbow of color and words. The darkest would have to be anything by Edgar Allen Poe and The Road by Cormac McCarthy.
Your worst habit?
It's a stim actually, but it's hard because it's very, very hard for me to not be moving at least some part of my body. Like . . . bouncing my leg, or foot, or touching my hair, or face, or biting my nails, etc. Yeah. I am always moving!
If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
If you love writing or drawing or singing or dancing or math or unicorn racing or making me cakes or riding hot air balloons into space or writing sonnets about cats relieving themselves on tables, or even becoming Indiana Jones, if you are passionate about something and you couldn’t imagine doing anything else, even if it seems impossible, if this is your dream, don’t let anything or anyone stop you from being exactly who you are or wish to be. Believe in your dream as if it has already come true. That is the real magic. And hey, I believe in you.