What was the thing that influenced you to start writing?
In eighth grade, I was given an assignment to write a short story, and I wrote a sci-fi tale about a future where the sun was slowly moving closer to the earth. I think it ended with someone dying gruesomely hiding in their own refrigerator, but my teacher loved it, and praised me, and an author was born.
Tell me your success stories in terms of publishing/self publishing?
My story is not your typical road to publishing. I started out (see above) as a speculative short story writer and had my first sci-fi story published in 2005. In 2008, about fifteen published stories later, a New York City literary agent saw one of my short pieces on the internet, stalked me on Facebook, and messaged me to ask if I was writing anything longer. I wasn't at the time, but that was the impetus to push me off the novelist cliff. Three years later, I had a finished young adult paranormal novel, Ghost Hand, but the agent had long since quit the business. After briefly shopping it around to other agents and publishers, I realized that self-publishing was the real ticket to the future (or maybe just the present) so I did a Kickstarter Project for Ghost Hand and raised the funds to produce it. And the rest, as they say, is history. The book has been selling well ever since and getting rave reviews.
What are your top writing tips for any aspiring writer?
Your will never be perfect. Your work will never be perfect. But writing is what makes you better. So write the best stories you can, and get them out in the world. Failure only happens if you stop writing.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on book two of the PSS Chronicles series, Ghost Hold. It will be released in September 2013.
What do you draw on for inspiration?
Everything. When people ask me where I get my ideas, the answer is always "Where don't I get them?" But more specifically, the inspiration for the PSS Chronicles came from the real psychological phenomenon of phantom limbs. Often, amputees or people born without limbs can still feel their missing appendages. They can feel pain. They can feel the wet grass between toes they've never had. And so I asked myself the question, what if those limbs still really existed in spirit form? What would they look like? What could they do? And how would the world react to that?
Please tell me anything else you'd like the reader to know about you.
I live in Portland, Oregon with one cat, two teenagers and a man who wants to live on a boat. I not only write young adult books, I love to read them. Having two teenagers as beta readers and editors helps me keep my young adult fiction real. Besides that, I love animals, chocolate and reality television, and I curse only slightly less often than my characters.
Thank you Ripley!
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