1. When did you know writing would be your profession?
It's hard to pinpoint the moment. I first decided I'd go write a book three days before my college graduation, but I had no idea if I'd be successful or not. For a few years nothing really happened, and though I kept on writing, and always thought of myself as a writer, it wasn't until the book deal for LET'S GET LOST and NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES was signed that I knew I could call myself a professional. And even then, the industry is weird, and life is weird, and remaining any one thing is never a guarantee, and doubt is such a part of being a writer that you can still be published and yet have misgivings about whether you've "made it" or not.
2. Who if anyone had inspired Dave in NAS?
Very superficially, it was my friend Edgar. I used his physical appearance and his last name, and a few of his mannerisms. But the rest is fiction.
3. Will there ever be a sequel to either of your books/ are you writing another contemporary or branching out?
I'm not much of a sequel writer. One of my writing philosophies is the Ann Sexton quote "tell almost the whole story." I like to tell varied stories, and am currently working on a number of projects, which are still too early in the process for me to know exactly what to call them. Contemporary is probably a good guess, but I'm interested to see if I can pull off incorporating some other elements.
4. What was the inspiration for NAS book and LGL?
For LET'S GET LOST, the basic inspirations were my travels and my desire to be in as many people's heads as possible. I loved the idea of a road trip story told through the eyes of those not on the road trip. For NEVER ALWAYS SOMETIMES, it was the struggle between wanting to be unique and wanting to fit in. I wanted to tell a more intimate story of two best friends who'd been living in their little self-sustained friendship of two, and what happens when it gets cracked open and exposed to everyone around them.
5. Have you been to all the places you mention in both of your book, if so which have been your favorite?
Nope! I usually like picking places I don't really know well, because I somehow feel that gives me more wiggle room to fictionalize some details as I see fit. I want to capture the basic feel of a place without feeling handcuffed to how it really is. I have driven through San Luis Obispo, where NAS takes place, but don't know it all that well. I do love the Twin Cities, where Elliot's section in LGL takes place.
6. Why teen contemporary, out of all genres?
Probably because I still feel like a teen in my head, and because coming-of-age stories are what I'm drawn to write. I love the strong voices in YA, the opportunity to mix humor and Big Life Things Being Experienced for the First Time.