I have been writing casually since I was little, but I really started thinking maybe I could do it professionally when I was in college and decided to major in Creative Writing. But even so, I didn't start my first novel till about a year after I graduated college, and didn't finish my first novel until another two years after that! (Apparently I'm a little slow. :))
How has your environment/upbringing colored your writing?
I don't know that it has, a lot. I have yet to set a story in a city where I've lived. However, my family did move around a bit, especially while I was in high school, and my experiences being the new girl helped me write about Laurel moving into a new city and attending a new school.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Pacing. I am not very good at pacing. Luckily, I have an editor that is, and she really helps me with it.
What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
In the end, the only thing that really matters to me as far as good writing goes is being able to engage the reader. I mean, I have my own opinions about point of view, the use of commas and em-dashes, tense, etc. but even if you write a perfect story as far as logistics go, it doesn't mean you will be able to engage the reader. And if finding that spark between you and your audience requires a bit of rule breaking? I'm okay with that.:)
With all of the faerie/fairy books out today, what makes Wings so different?
Without being too spoilery, you have never seen faeries like my faeries.:) I am so proud of my mythos; I really worked long and hard on it. And in the end, it is really the one element that I think makes Wings stand out.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My marriage and my three kids. Did you mean in the writing field?;) As far as writing goes, at the moment, I think my best accomplishment was that when the novel my agent signed me for didn't sell, I didn't give up, and I didn't try to keep pushing it. I wrote another one, and it was better.
What genre of books do you like to read? Do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write yourself?
I like to read all kinds of YA and I also like romance, mystery, and thrillers. And although I don't limit myself only to YA, I find that I do mostly read it, because I like to stay up on what is out there. But boy, I like me some Mary Higgins Clark now and again.:)
What’s the best compliment that you’ve received about Wings?
Even after all this time, I still love what my editor told me about Wings, right after a really brutal round of revisions. (I really needed it right then!) She told me Wings was, "Compulsively readable."