1. Persistence of Memory is your 10th published novel. Do you feel that your writing has changed since the publication of your first book 10 years ago?

2. What was it like to be a published author at 15 years old? Did you find reading reviews of your work difficult?

3. What was it like to be interviewed by national media? What did your fellow classmates think about your success?

4. Do you feel that you paved the way for the other teenage authors that came after you?

5. Where did you get the idea behind the story of Persistence of Memory?

6. What type of research did you need to do when writing Persistence of Memory?

7. Are any of the characters in your novels loosely based upon anyone that you know, or you yourself?

8. Do you have a favorite of all of the novels that you have written? Or perhaps a favorite character from within your novels?

9. Will we see Erin or Shevaun in any future novels?

10. You have just recently graduated from college. What are your plans for the future?

11. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

12. When you are not writing, how do you spend your time?

13. What advice do you give to aspiring writers?

14. What books are you reading at the moment, and who are some of your favorite authors?

15. Who would you say has influenced you the most in your writing career?


1: Persistence of Memory is your 10th published novel. Do you feel that your writing has changed since the publication of your first book 10 years ago?

I feel that my writing has changed a great deal in the last 10 years. I have definitely grown as a writer, and I have further developed the world. I find myself wanting to go back to the early books to add things to the story I only learned later, like Aubrey’s point of view during In the Forests of the Night.

More often these days, my editor and I end up having long discussions about how much is too much information. I want to share everything, and she helps me reign in to what is necessary for the good of the story.

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2: What was it like to be a published author at 15 years old? Did you find reading reviews of your work difficult?

I’m never quite sure how to answer the first part of this question, since I’ve never been 15 without having published a book. I was still 15 and dealing with all the things most people deal with when they’re freshmen or sophomores in high school. I was still doing schoolwork, participating in after-school activities, hanging out with friends, and occasionally dating. I had some additional responsibilities relating to publishing a book, but many of my friends were equally driven in their own ways.

Reviews were hard at first. I don’t think there are many 15-year-olds out there who like to be criticized. I mostly tried to ignore negative reviews, and focus on the positive ones. By now I’ve developed a thicker skin, and can accept that people have different tastes, but it took a long time—and honestly, I still prefer reading positive reviews. Who wouldn’t?

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3: What was it like to be interviewed by national media? What did your fellow classmates think about your success?

One of my earliest, biggest interviews was an appearance on The Rosie O'Donnell Show. After I was off the air, someone told me how many people watch Rosie live, and I remember being shocked, but one nice thing about being 15 is that you can’t even begin to grasp the scope of such an audience. Media was media to me. While it was flattering when someplace huge asked to interview me, I personally was even more thrilled when local stations I knew and loved asked for me.

My classmates varied in their reactions. My friends were happy for me, and supported my writing, though there was occasionally some sense of competition. In high school a lot of my friends were writers, so there was always a bit of a sense of “me next” in our group. On the other hand, like I’ve said, my friends were always just as busy and motivated as I was, so it never got nasty.

There was a brief period of time, when my peers first learned I was going to publish a novel that it seemed like people I barely knew or who had ignored me for years suddenly wanted to be my friend, but thankfully that didn’t last long.

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4. Do you feel that you paved the way for the other teenage authors that came after you?

I don’t think I know the answer to that question. I didn’t know of other young authors before I published, and I feel like there has been more attention to such people since I’ve been published, but my awareness of such things is incredibly biased by the fact I wasn’t looking for young authors before I was one.

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5. Where did you get the idea behind the story of Persistence of Memory?

When I started writing 0113-Untitled (Persistence of Memory) my sophomore year of high school, its main inspiration was the fencing team I was on at the time. I don’t remember where the rest of the story line, including Erin’s specific connection to Shevaun, came from. The story didn’t go far at that point, and I put it aside for several years.

A couple years ago, a friend of mine asked me to bring him to the emergency room. He has some psychiatric problems, which were mostly controlled until his health insurance decided to drop coverage of his primary medication. The medication they were willing to cover didn’t work.

This individual is someone very important to me, who is also one of my role models and one of the strongest people I have ever met, and sitting with him for hours while we waited for someone to help us and he was very obviously terrified and in pain from severe schizophrenic-level auditory and visual hallucinations was one of the most harrowing experiences I have ever had.

Writing has often been a type of therapy for me. I started rewriting 0113 that day, changing Erin’s background and her connection to Shevaun as a way to deal with my own experiences.

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6. What type of research did you need to do when writing Persistence of Memory?

Well . . . the aforementioned individual helped me a lot. I also spoke to numerous psychology professors, many of whom are also licensed clinical psychologists. Beyond psychology, I had to do research on many odd details, including the Church of Byzantine, spotted hyenas, and the menu at a Greek restaurant.

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7. Are any of the characters in your novels loosely based upon anyone that you know, or you yourself?

Though the original 0113 included many characters modeled after members of the Concord Carlisle High School women’s fencing team, and Erin and Shevaun were both named after people from that team, Persistence of Memory in its final form doesn’t have much in the way of characters modeled after real people. In general, I find that characters I try to model even very loosely on real people are the most likely to be superfluous, and thus cut during revisions.

I think the only real exception in my published work is Jessica, in Demon in My View. I am often asked if she is supposed to be based on me (young, published author), but she was actually inspired by one of my best friends at the time (named Jessica), who was Aubrey’s very first fan.

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8. Do you have a favorite of all of the novels that you have written? Or perhaps a favorite character from within your novels?

If I try to pick a favorite novel, it usually ends up being whichever one is most recent, so it shouldn’t be surprising when I say right now my favorite is Persistence of Memory, and my most recent favorite published character is Sassy (from Persistence of Memory).
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9. Will we see Erin or Shevaun in any future novels?

As of right now, I don’t know. I think Erin would be happy to be out of the spotlight for a while; Shevaun on the other hand can’t help making trouble, and is a pretty big name in Nyeusigrube, so it’s quite possible we’ll see her again someday.
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10. You have just recently graduated from college. What are your plans for the future?

I have recently graduated from college . . . and am now in college! I am working on my Master of Arts in Teaching (secondary education, middle and high school English), with an additional certification for teaching students with mild to moderate disabilities.
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11. Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

I used to be asked that a lot, when I published my first book, and most of my answers from that time were flat-out wrong except for the “I hope to still be writing” part. In theory, 10 years from now I hope to still be writing, as well as working as a teacher. Beyond that, my life plans tend to lean toward the traditional: a white wedding some day, eventually kids.
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12. When you are not writing, how do you spend your time?

I spend a lot of my time studying, as you might imagine. Right now I work primarily as a substitute teacher, but next semester I will begin my practicum as part of my teaching certification.

I keep in close contact with my family, including my parents, sisters, brother, and twin nieces (including my goddaughter). It is very important to me that my nieces, who are 19 months old now, grow up knowing me. My partner is the one most likely to be sane enough to get us out of the house on any given day when I’m otherwise drowning in work.

In nice weather, we try to make it to local parks to walk, or otherwise just go out. We also follow a couple television shows on our lazy afternoons.

On my own, I like to read. I also draw and paint, and I have plenty of friends that live close by.

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13. What advice do you give to aspiring writers?

The main piece of advice I usually find myself giving is, “Start writing.” I often hear, “I would like to write a book someday.” There’s no excuse for someday. A book will never be written before you start it, and you’ll never improve as a writer without writing. The second piece of advice I offer (tied to the first), is “Write first; edit later.” A lot of people self-sabotage by wanting the first draft to be perfect.
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14. What books are you reading at the moment, and who are some of your favorite authors?

I recently finished reading Myth Hunters by Christopher Golden, who is one of my favorite authors. I also recently read Lick of Frost, by Laurell K Hamilton. In order to make a list of favorite authors, I would have to add Stephen King to the list with Golden and Hamilton.
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15. Who would you say has influenced you the most in your writing career?

My family and friends have all had such an effect on my writing that it would be hard to credit any individual with having the most effect. I have also learned so much from teachers, professors, and co-workers such as my agent and my editor. More than anything, though, my readers have influenced me. Talking to them is what keeps me inspired.
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