Questions & Answers:

What was your childhood ambition in life?
Who is your favorite writer?
What’s your favorite band?

What’s your favorite song?
Favorite movie?
Who is the person you’d most like to meet?
What’s your least favorite chore?
Who is the person you most admire?
What’s your worst habit?
What’s your best habit?
What’s your advice for writers who are just getting started?

What’s your worst Bluebird experience?
What are you working on now?


What was your childhood ambition in life?

One summer, I worked at this camp. I was a counselor in charge of about ten five and six year olds. I remember sitting in the grass reading to them. All of a sudden, this powerful feeling came over me, and I decided I was meant to be a kindergarten teacher. It wasn’t until much later that I realized what I really wanted was to write books for kids. I started out trying to write picture books, but that evolved into novels for teenagers.

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Who is your favorite writer?

My all-time favorite is Flannery O’Connor, but I like so many! I love Thomas Hardy, Emily Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Ayn Rand, Joyce Carol Oates, Lee Smith, John Irving, Zora Neale Hurston, Thomas Wolfe, Tom Wolfe (yes, they’re different), Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath, Anne Tyler, Rebecca Wells, Sue Monk Kidd, Wally Lamb, Barbara Kingsolver, Jennifer Weiner, Joan Didion, Anne Lamott, Carl Hiaaseen, Kim Edwards, Alice Sebold… Sorry, but I can’t seem to stop.
As for my favorite young adult authors, I think Carolyn Mackler is fabulous, and I have always loved Judy Blume and Frances Hodgson Burnett. John Green has such an incredible talent. Oh, and Margaret Meacham and Lara Zeises and Cynthia Voigt and Jerry Spinelli and Catherine Gilbert Murdock and… I know I’m leaving out about fifty other favorites!

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What’s your favorite band?

Okay, that’s an easy one—U-2.

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What’s your favorite song?

Another easy one—“You Can’t Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones.

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Favorite movie?

Breakfast At Tiffany’s

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Who is the person you’d most like to meet?

Oprah. I’d like to stay in her guest cottage for a weekend and follow her around and ask lots and lots of questions.

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What’s your least favorite chore?

Cleaning the bathroom and emptying the dishwasher.

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Who is the person you most admire?

Al Gore. I think he made the most out of a painful political loss. I hope he stays out of politics and keeps trying to do good in the world.

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What’s your worst habit?

I’m a soda drinker, and I should stop, I know. My friends call it liquid poison.

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What’s your best habit?

Working out. I really like the way I feel after a run. I don’t do marathons or work with trainers or make this an obsessive thing. I try to have the mindset that this is something I have to do for the rest of my life, like brushing my teeth or drinking water or (ugh) going to the gyno.

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What’s your advice for writers who are just getting started?

Read. Write. Rewrite.

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What’s your worst Bluebird experience?

There are too many to count. At times, I’ve acted like a Bluebird (not something I’m proud of), and I’ve been the victim of Bluebirds (the reason I stopped acting like one). I think cliques are dangerous, especially for writers. Once you’re locked in, it’s hard to think for yourself.

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What are you working on now?

Currently, I’m working on another novel set in the South. I’m just getting started, but I already completely love the main character and her story. I hope readers (and my editor) will, too!

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