Book Nerd Interview
To be honest, growing up I always saw myself doing something creative in front of a camera and not a computer. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school and had a required creative writing class that I realized how much I loved writing. Our first assignment was to write five pages. I wrote twenty and have been hooked ever since.
Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Because it provides escape, helps feed and strengthen the imagination, and most importantly, to me at least, because it’s fun.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
My favorite book of all time is Michael Crichton’s the Eaters of the Dead. It was the first ‘adult’ book my parents didn’t mean for me to read and it opened my eyes to the literary world outside of kids’ books. It is the perfect camping book and I bring my worn copy with me every time.
My favorite book outside of my genre is, and forgive me if this is cheating, the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (it’s technically all in one book). I fell for the Bard in high school and never looked back. I feel the need to laugh, cry, get angry, become wildly confused? I can find that and more in his work.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
If you believe you can and if you believe you can’t, you’re right.
In your book; I Become Shadow, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
It sounds strange, but Booklist actually did a better job teasing my book then I ever managed. A good lessen; know when to acknowledge when someone is simply better then you at something. From Booklist:
“Not-so-popular 14-year-old Ren Sharpe is kidnapped one night and whisked away to the training facility for FATE (Future Affairs Training and Education), part of a secret world organization. For the next four years, she and hundreds of other international “recruits” undergo searing daily nerve-killing injections called “fire.” Their survival and protection training is painful, dangerous, and relentless, but the results are human weapons that feel no pain, have no fear, and harbor an unwavering duty to protect the future world leader to which each is assigned.”
I Become Shadow is the story of Ren and the college student she is linked too.
For those who are unfamiliar with Ren, how would you introduce her?
She’s a badass. She can kick your ass for breakfast, mentally destroy you for lunch, and then make you laugh till you cry for dinner. She’s sarcastic, makes fun of everything, and takes very little seriously. You would want to be her friend.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Hopefully if all goes well my next project will be the sequel to Shadow, but in the meantime I’m keeping myself busy working on two other novels (sorry, top secret stuff), one of which is about halfway done. I also have some friends in LA and together we’re working on turning Shadow into a screenplay to shop around. I have a real person job though so finding time to do all of this is tough and slow-going.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would introduce Ren to Wolverine. I think they’d get along splendidly.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Gareth?
It’s hard to create and write someone who’s super nerdy, and not make them a cliché. Yes, Gareth is the opposite of Junie in every way, but I didn’t want him to be a glasses and pocket protector wearing stereotype. I wanted him to be the brilliant geek who was charming, fun and cute in his own way.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
How far away are you?
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
I wrote me because it was who I knew best, and I’ve never met anyone like me. Now, am I shocked that the voice inside me is a kick-ass, sarcastic, teenage girl? You betcha, but it’s mine.
What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I worked soccer camps all throughout my youth. The best was during the 2002 World Cup where we played soccer all day and watched the beautiful game all night. I, no joke, got a total of ten hours of sleep over 8 days. To say I was a bit delirious near the end is an understatement.
Who was your first girlfriend?
Her name was Ruby. I was five and her father was apparently some Russian billionaire. Chalk that one up to inexperience.
Tell me about your first kiss
I was nine and it was in a swimming pool. We stacked two tubes on top of each other to shield us from view. It was wet, too long, and really bad.
What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?
That I do not love them back.
When was the last time you cried?
When my family put down our chocolate lab, Scarlett.
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
I loved being a teen in the 90s and would probably stick with it. Grunge, boy bands, mainstream hip-hop, Yaga shirts. I had a blast.
What is your greatest adventure?
Where can readers stalk you?
Come to Austin and stalk away. I’ll be your fip, you can be my Shadow.
Ren survives four years of training, torture, and misery, in large part thanks to Junie, a fellow F.A.T.E. abductee who started out as lost and confused as she did. She wouldn’t admit it was possible to find love in a prison beyond imagining, but what she feels for Junie may just be the closest thing to it.
At eighteen they part ways when Ren receives her assignment: find and protect college science student Gareth Young, or die trying. Life following a college nerd is uneventful, until an attack on Gareth forces Ren to track down the only person she can trust. When she and Junie discover that the F.A.T.E. itself might be behind the attacks, even certain knowledge of the future may not be enough to save their kidnappers from the killing machines they created.