I read the first chapter of Adrenaline Crush, your September release. It's a page turner for sure. Congratulations! Tell us a little about it.
Thank you so much! My new book is the story of Dyna, a seventeen-year-old risk-taker who pushes herself too far one day. After a hazardous fall she is forced to deal with an ankle injury and must find a way to overcome her newfound fear. My family spends a lot of time hiking and biking in New Paltz and I love the town so much it became the perfect setting for Adrenaline Crush. I attempted rock climbing there once and despite the cool photo on my website that makes me look like a total badass, I was actually super-awkward on the climb. I still had a blast, but then I really enjoyed giving Dyna all of the athletic ability I lack. She is a genuine rock climbing badass.
I heard a rumor that your book is going to be a movie! Who would you cast in the lead?
I’d love to see Dyna played by an actual stunt actress like in the movie Death Proof when Quentin Tarantino cast the amazing Zoë Bell to play herself. Dyna is such an adrenaline junkie, an actress playing her would need to do her own stunts in order to really nail her character.
If you could compete in an Olympic event, which would you choose?
My mind immediately went to a scene of me doing a super-awkward gymnastic routine to the song ‘Maniac’ from the 1980s movie Flashdance. I picture myself doing flailing arm motions and terrible half-cartwheels and running away from the judges as they try to drag me off the mats. Then I’d just sit back and wait for the sponsorship offers to roll in. Ha! I would also love a shot at that horsey thing that gymnasts jump over using the springboard, but I’m sure I’d end up stuck as I tried to climb over it in some clumsy way. I’m so graceless I actually twisted my ankle while watching the movie Fame. I *might* have been dancing along with the movie at the time.
One common bit of writing advice is write every day. Butt In Chair. It's true, but so hard to do! How do you inspire yourself to do this?
Deadlines are a great motivator. Fortunately, I’m quite gullible and can get myself to believe in a self-imposed deadline when necessary. The only problem is my tendency to let things go right to the wire. I mean, what’s the point of having a deadline if you’re not going to use every bit of the time you’re allowed? My family travels a lot and the joke is that we have never vacated a hotel before checkout time. Usually we leave with a mad dash from the indoor pool to shove our things into suitcases and exit fast before we get charged for an extra day. I’m super-motivated by the ticking clock or calendar as the case may be and will pull all-nighters if necessary to finish things on time. But I never finish early.
Every year there is a new crop of debut authors. What advice do you have for them?
I feel like seasoned authors should do public service announcements where we tell first timers, “It gets better.” We could say, don’t worry, you will regain your sanity in about six to twelve weeks. Or, at least, *most* of your sanity, assuming you had some going into publication month. If you’re sleeping soundly at night during the weeks surrounding your book’s release, I don’t think you’re doing it right. Find ways to cope and just keep writing.
What book have you read that you wish you'd written, and why?
I recently read Poisoned Apples: Poems for You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann and it is so beautiful and perfect. It deals with important issues like body image using clever writing and humor. I was fortunate enough to do a reading with Christine this past weekend and she is just as lovely and brilliant as her book and everyone needs to go read it right now.
What are three things you can't live without?
This question makes me think of that scene in the movie The Jerk when Steve Martin’s character is ranting about how he doesn’t need anything at all. As he walks away he starts to see things and say, “Oh, I need this. This is all I need.” My first thought was ‘I don’t need anything.’ And then of course everywhere I look around my office I see things I can’t live without. The tree just outside my window. The pictures of my family. My actual family of course. This computer. All of my books. I’m too stuck between needing nothing and needing everything to pick three things.
Have you ever had an embarrassing author moment? Care to share?
I love embarrassing moment stories! I’ve had plenty, but my very first embarrassing author moment happened long before my first book was published. I’d written a (bad!) picture book that was thematically tied to red feathers and I was inspired to go to the craft store and buy a big bag of red feathers. I packaged my (many!) queries in these cool, clear plastic envelopes with a red feather in each one. These things were going to pop out from the plain boring slush! I honestly thought I was being so savvy, thinking outside the box, and after a (costly!) trip to the post office I waited for the offers to roll in. Except that I should also mention this was thirteen years ago, around the time that mail tampering and anthrax attacks had created a huge panic. Most of those funky-looking envelopes probably never made it past security. So, not savvy. At least the whole misstep wasn’t a public moment! Well, until now.