Congratulations on the publication of your novel, LOSING FAITH. It's a beautifully written story. Can you tell us a bit about the story and what inspired it?
LOSING FAITH is about Brie, a girl who loses her sister, Faith, in a mysterious accident. While grieving her sister’s death, Brie discovers her role in a dark and twisted religious cult…a cult that now wants Brie for a member.
When coming up for the idea for LOSING FAITH, all I really knew was that I wanted to write a story about sisters. The idea came to me that one of the sisters would have died, and the other would suddenly realize she had never known her sister as well as she thought. I talked it through with critique partners until I discovered Faith’s secrets. I lost a close friend of mine when I was sixteen, and I think this was inspiration in part for the story as well.
How long have you been writing for children/teens? Have you written other books or is this your first effort?
I’ve been writing for about seven years, and while I thought I started by writing for the adult market, it’s only lately that I can look back at my early work and see that I’ve always had a teen voice. I’ve written six novels (seven if you count the one that even I won't look back at!), which are all in various stages of revision.
I know what you mean about discovering that you are really writing for teens! Can you describe your path to the publication of LOSING FAITH?
I wrote the first draft of LOSING FAITH during NaNoWriMo 2007. From there, I spent about nine months revising, then started to query. As rejections staring piling up, I continued to revise. In October, 2008, I attended the Surrey International Writers’ Conference and sat down to pitch my book to Anica Rissi from Simon Pulse, among other agents and editors. I left the conference with several requests to see my manuscript, including a request from Anica Rissi. I didn’t send to any of the editors at that point, but just doubled my efforts to get an agent quickly. By November I had a couple of offers of representation, and a couple more based on revisions. After accepting an offer of representation from Michelle Humphrey, I went through a line edit with her and we sent out my manuscript to several editors in January, 2009. By March, Anica Rissi from Simon Pulse made an offer on the book, which I was thrilled to accept.
Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
Write because you love to write. Publication is based on so many variables, and can really play with your mind if that is your main goal. Write a lot, don’t be afraid to try new things, but know that not everything is supposed to make it into your finished book. And finally, read, read, read.
My own favorite advice! Can you tell us something about your personal life – inspirations, plans for the future, goals, etc.?
I’m a homeschooling Mom. My son is six and I love the time I spend with him. At this point he is my main focus, but I know as he grows older and more independent, that’ll change. I look forward to the day when I can spend three or more hours per day writing. I’m also a professional Polynesian dancer and I’d love to one day travel more with my dance troupe. But for now, I’m really enjoying plenty of time at home with the family.
Polynesian dancer! Okay, that's another whole blog post. In the meantime, do you have any new writing ventures underway?
Yes, I do! I’m currently working on another YA novel called PERFECT AIM, about a teen archer who, in the midst of family turmoil, falls for her young and understanding woodworking teacher.
It sounds fabulous. Do you have a website where readers can learn more about LOSING FAITH?