I’ve been too busy to blog lately but I felt really guilty about this last night and asked all of you via social media to send me some questions for a quick Q&A post. So thanks for helping me get something together!
Do you prefer the cookie part of the Oreo? Or the cream?
The cream, the cream, always the cream. People who don’t lick the cream out first weird me out.
How did you meet your boyfriend?
Awww, I love talking about Tim! Hmm… Well I think I’ll just blog the whole story sometime and save a lot of the details for that, but I will tell you the bare details! We actually met two years ago when his mom hired me to take his senior pictures right before high school graduation. Crazy right? We had a mutual friend who recommended my business. So the first day I met him was kind of awkward because I was taking his pictures the whole time! I still have them. Wanna see one? (I remember thinking he was pretty cute but he apparently didn’t think twice about me)
What was the original inspiration for each of your novels?
Both were inspired by stuff that was going on in my life at the time. I started writing Interrupted shortly after my uncle passed away from a brain tumor and it held a lot of the emotions I was wading through at the time. And I got the idea for Chasing Jupiter after spending time with an autistic boy who went to my church. Both stories are obviously fictional and a lot of the material came from my imagination, but I definitely felt a personal connection to characters in both stories.
Do you have a favorite poet?
For the last few years it’s been Frank O’Hara. Especially this poem and this one. But I also really love Mary Oliver, Margaret Atwood, and so many other random poets I’ve stumbled across over the years. And I’ll always have a soft spot for Emily Dickinson, of course.
What are some important parts of developing characters in books/stories?
Remembering to keep your characters first is important. Don’t be so focused on the plot that you forget to really search and understand what your characters are going through. Also avoid cliches as much as possible. Don’t let all your characters be so predictable that people lose interest in them. I personally just try to write about real, quirky, interesting people who have honest struggles and victories. I hope that my readers get that from my stories!
How do you go about writing a book?
A chapter at a time? I know that sounds cliched, but that’s honestly the only way it can be done. It’s in the daily grind. The getting up and writing and adding more words each day and week and month. Eventually, if you keep it up, it becomes a book!
What would be your perfect meal? (appetizer, entree, and dessert)
My perfect meal is one that my boyfriend and I love so much we’ve gone and gotten it several times already. Go to Bonefish Grill, order an appetizer of Bang Bang Shrimp and a lobster grilled cheese sandwich (with soup and a little vinaigrette salad). Then go find free chocolate or ice cream from some parents or grandparents who always have a pantry and freezer full of dessert. Voila! The perfect meal!
Have you ever NOT been super cool + awesome?
I was homeschooled. Cool + awesome isn’t a level humanly possible for me to achieve. However, there was definitely a time when my uncoolness was at its optimum level and I leave the below photo for you as proof. (Actually, I leave this whole post as proof)
What do you not love?
I don’t love Sherlock or Doctor Who or Marvel or the Hobbit trilogy or The Chronicles of Narnia or flip-flops or roller coasters or a million other things teenage girls are supposed to love. I just don’t get it. Any of it.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Nicole Krauss, Katherine Paterson, Ernest Hemingway, N. D. Wilson, Ann Voskamp, John Steinbeck, Ray Bradbury…. I have a lot of respect for Shannon Hale too and everything she’s doing to promote female writers. And there are several bloggers who I admire, such as Kristin Morris!
What are a few of your favorite Bible verses?
Galatians 6:14 is a verse I use to sign all my books: “But may it never be that I would boast, except through the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.” It reminds me to never let people praise me for the stuff I’ve done, because all I have and all I am is Christ!
How do you create balances in your life/make time for everything in your schedule?
This is tricky. Right now I’m working two part-time jobs (at a French bakery and a Kate Spade outlet store), mentoring four writing students, writing free-lance for Local Wolves Magazine, processing photos and preparing for photographing two weddings, entering scholarship essay contests to help pay for school next year, and working on Book #3. At the same time. Sometimes I go to sleep around midnight exhausted and entirely worn-out and then wake up at 6:45 the next morning to head to work. It’s tough, honestly, but somehow it’s all getting done. I think the key is to focus each moment on what you are doing in that moment. If you’re writing, be entirely present with your writing. Don’t focus on anything else. If you’re photographing something, be intent on the details before you and not what you have to do when you get home. That’s part of what keeps me from going crazy. Also, my mom is always stressing the importance of having a schedule and while I am the most unorganized person I know, having a loose schedule helps a lot. And being really good about putting things on your calendar so that you don’t forget about them!
What’s your biggest fear?
Probably the dentist. Or that I’ll end up living in a small town all my life and never getting married.
Do you have any habitual things you do right before bed?
Usually I’ve been texting people so I tell them all that I’m going to bed (I go to bed before everyone else apparently). Sometimes I call my boyfriend or he calls me. Then I turn off my phone and usually try to read some poetry before going to sleep, but sometimes I’m so tired I just collapse!
Who were your favorite actors/actresses as a child?
Julie Andrews all the way. Did you know I have her autograph? (Oh wait, I’m suddenly cool now)
What is your favorite way to help your family out?
I feel so guilty answering this since I haven’t really been home much lately and people have been doing my chores, not the other way around! When I am home, I’m often so self-preoccupied that I forget to look to help others and focus instead on the tasks before me. But I think that having an awareness of the things that need to be done is helpful. I often just do the minimum amount of work necessary, and I’d love to get better at noticing what extra chores can be done and doing them without being asked! I’m sure that would make my mom so happy. I also try to cook dinner for her sometimes when I’m free or have an afternoon at home. Once again, I don’t do it often since I’m rarely home before 5, but that’s another thing that I know blesses her a lot!
Can we hear anything about Book #3?
This was the most popular question by far and unfortunately I can’t really answer it yet! I’m not going to give any concrete details about my third book until I sign a contract on it (still writing it right now), but I do have a Pinterest “sneak-peek inspiration” board I made for my readers so they can get a glimpse into the setting and themes! Check it out here!
Thanks for sending me your questions! Sorry I haven’t been blogging as much lately but I promise I have some posts outlined already about Asia + writing + other things you guys have asked me about or I’ve been wanting to write about. Just give me time to actually write them!