How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I think that moving around as a kid gave me the chance to reinvent myself and showed me that you can always find a different way to tell your story. Stories change over time, and stories change for different audiences. I developed an appreciation for that as I met very different groups of people from different regions of the country.
What inspired you to write your first book? After I got a master’s degree in comparative literature, I wanted to tell a story of my own. I never really finished that one, but I learned a lot from the attempt. And it has many elements that I still use, like the significance of the house in the story, and the friendships among women.
Have you ever considered anyone as a mentor? I certainly have. I have a very dear friend who is probably my best critic and has been a spiritual mentor to me for almost twenty years. Her name is Deshae Lott, Ph.D., and her website is here.
What books have most influenced your life? This question makes me smile, because I keep a goodreads list of these. Other than Narnia and Hemingway’s portrayals of “grace under pressure,” I need to give Alice in Wonderland a shout. When I was a little girl, someone gave me Alice on records. No, it wasn’t a book on tape. It was a book on records. I was allowed to listen to them, very carefully, using my parents’ turntable, and I followed along in the accompanying hardcover book. That was magic, to me, and the story is magic still.
Have you started another book yet? Yes. Open Door is the first novel in a trilogy. The second, In Time, is already out. I’m revising the last novel, Out of Place, now. Next, I’ll do an outline for the novel I’m planning for NaNoWriMo.
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Genre – Young Adult
Rating – PG/PG13