1. If you could live with three YA characters (not your own), who would they be and why?
1. Peeta from THE HUNGER GAMES because he is the sweetest, most wonderful hero ever created.
2. Peeta from CATCHING FIRE, because I love him dearly.
3. Peeta from MOCKINGJAY because he's perfect, even when his brain and memory have been altered by the bad guys.
I'm a little obsessed with Peeta, in case you haven't noticed. Suzanne Collins is my idol.
2. What character do you think is most like you? Least?
It's funny: I think the character who's most like me is Elise's aunt, who only appears in one short scene. She's saner than Elise's mom and mildly sarcastic and even though she only has a couple of lines, I totally relate to her. I'd like to think Elise is a younger version than me, but I was never that self-possessed and attractive. The least like me is Juliana--she's way too sweet and patient and kind.
3. Do you listen to any music while you write? If so, what are some of your favorites?
It's very hard for me to write a first draft listening to music--I'll get distracted and find myself paying attention to the lyrics instead of to what I'm writing. But rewriting requires a little less focus so as long as the music isn't too loud or too catchy, I can have something playing while I do
a second (or third or fourth) pass.
I actually created a playlist for Elise Benton (my main character), using some of my favorite songs but also consulting with my teenage son and a friend of his so the list wouldn't be too old-fashioned or boring. If you want to check it out, it's at http://c.itunes.apple.com/us/imix/elise-bentons-best-songs-ever/id449946670.
4. if you could say something to your younger writing self, what would you say?
FIND ANOTHER CAREER!
No, I'm just joking--although, believe me, there are lots of frustrations connected to being an author. But what I'd really say is something I've learned over time, and that's to JUST KEEP MOVING FORWARD. You can get bogged down in word choice and disappointment that your sentences aren't as perfect as you want them to be--but the truth is that as long as you're getting the ideas down on paper, you can go back and rewrite until you're happy with it. The important thing is to get SOMETHING down on paper. Anything is fixable, but if you don't keep moving forward, you'll stall.