Since you write for teens, what were you like as a teenager?
Honestly, I was always getting into some kind of trouble (I lied to my parents that I was going to church and then stole their car and drove to an Aerosmith concert I'd been forbidden to attend) or obsessing over some guy who would never want me -- he poured chocolate milk on me in the cafeteria. :(
I've always been the kind of person who sets her sights on something and doesn't give up, and unfortunately that made me spend way too much time trying to woo the wrong guys. Ugh. I mostly liked school but I couldn't do math for sh!t. I enjoyed spending time with friends. My family didn't have much money, so I spent a lot of time worrying about my clothes and my appearance. I dreamed a lot about making something of my life. I didn't know precisely what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to do big things.
What are some of the challenges you faced writing your second novel that you didn't expect?
It surprised me that a book's "Hook" came into play so heavily in the sales of my 2-3 books. My publisher wanted the book to have a bit "wow" factor, and they loved the idea of a teen girl getting wrapped up in an inappropriate relationship with the coach of the high school baseball team.
So I had to write a story based around this "hook" and that isn't so much different than me writing CATCHING JORDAN around the hook of "girl football player wants to win the state championship, but then a hot new guy comes to town and he wants her position."
But I guess the difference is that with STEALING PARKER, I had a deadline, whereas with CATCHING JORDAN I could've written forever.
The dedication to Stealing Parker is "For all the girls struggling to find their place." What do you hope readers will take away from Parker's story?
I want girls (and guys) to learn that doing something you don't want to do in hopes that it will make other people think differently about you is never going to make you happy. The only way people can be truly happy and find the right path in life is to stay true to themselves.
This quote from a book has stuck with me for a long time:
"To be perfectly frank, you don't quite look like yourself. And if you walk around looking like someone other than who you are, you could end up in the wrong job, the wrong friends, who knows what all. You could end up with somebody else's whole life."
-A Home at the End of the World
Your books have such great secondary characters. Who was your favorite to write and why?
Two characters have given me all sorts of trouble! Sam Henry and Corndog (Will Whitfield). When I started writing, I had planned for Jordan to end up with Ty Green. But then Henry just started taking over the book! He would just appear in scenes and do something silly, and by the time I was halfway done with the book, I realized that Henry loved Jordan, and I didn't even know it! The same thing happened with Corndog. I wasn't even expecting his character. He just drove up an a lawnmower one day and he was in the book to stay.
Congrats on the release of Stealing Parker! Now we're all anxiously awaiting book three! Can you dish on Things I Can't Forget?
Here are a few juicy tidbits:
1) The main character of Things I Can't Forget was mentioned in Stealing Parker. Her name is Kate Kelly.
2) The love interest, Matt, is by far the HOTTEST of any of the guys I've created so far. (In my opinion anyway.)
3) Parker and Will Whitfield are major characters.
4) Jordan Woods throws a crazy 4th of July party at her house by Lake Jordan.
5) Jake Reynolds, the pervy guy who was always hitting on Jordan in Catching Jordan, is back, and he tries to pick up Kate Kelly using a ridiculous pick-up line.
And now, I have a copy of Stealing Parker, courtesy of Sourcebooks Fire. This is US/CAN only. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter.