When did you first start writing?
I started writing novel length work at age 12, but wrote my first publishable novel at 19. THE WICKER KING, I wrote in college when I was 21.
What kind of books do you like reading?
I read predominantly MG fiction. I prefer fantasy, but I’m partial to adventurous contemporary like Louis Sachar’s HOLES. As for my own work, I’m mostly inspired by films.
Who is your favorite author?
Garth Nix. I die for the Keys to the Kingdom series and once, when I was in high school, I messaged Garth on facebook and he actually messaged me back.
Are you a full time author or do you have another job?
I have another job! I work for a law firm right now, but I’ve worked a few other jobs while writing. My ADHD demands the routine and discipline of a full time job. I really enjoy my current job, and have no real interest in becoming a full time author right now.
How did you get an agent?
My first agent, Amy Tipton, retired and now I’m with the lovely Eric Smith. Its a bit easier to get a second agent if you already had a first, so for Eric, we met in person at an event and he heard about my agent retiring and reached out. With Amy, I queried her twice. Once with a work that didn’t sell and 3 months later with THE WICKER KING. I used https://querytracker.net/ to find agents who might be interested in my work. I queried 63 agents before Amy. Querying is hard work!
Are you a pantser or a plotter? A gardener or an Architect?
I’m an architect and plotter. I actually write incredibly detailed plots of my books, then write exactly what I plotted. Its a very linear process that allows me to track my progress more efficiently.
I heard you’re an OWNVOICES author, what kind of “own voices” are you?
African American, ADHD, Chronic Depression (Catatonic and Dissasociative), Bisexual/WLW. I am also intersex.
Your characters are very diverse!
Yes! I’m trying my best to create work in which the diversity of my casts reflect the diversity of my own experience.
So far I have written:
Poverty and Wealth, Straight Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual orientations, Polyamory, Selective Mutism, Neuro-atypical representation, Sikh religion, Teen Father, Black, White and South Asian characters in THE WICKER KING and THE WEIGHT OF THE STARS
In my newest, DARLING, I have added Indigenous American (Ojibwe), Asexual, Teen Mother (shown as an adult), Foster Care and Homeless Children, Korean American, and Russian American, and Deaf Representation.
I am currently working on a work that includes Chronic Illness, GNC AMAB, Children of the Incarcerated.
I do not have any transgender characters yet, but it’s not from lack of interest. The transgender community is going through a dangerous period of hypervisibility currently, so representations of them in mainstream media need to be designed with incredible consideration. Because of the hypervisibility issue, and the danger associated with it, I am more likely to write something in conjunction with a trans author, than write a trans perspective myself.
What kind of books are you interested in writing in the future?
I’m loosely working on a picture book and a 5 book adult series. But in the far future, I’d love to write Middle Grade fiction. I want to do a spookier WAYSIDE SCHOOL sort of series. I’m also interested in CYOA formats, but that tends not to sell well.
What IPs would you write for, if given the chance?
I think it would be really fun to write something niche for STAR WARS. As for mainstream content: STAR TREK, X-MEN and any 80s-90s revival/reboots (ex:She-Ra). I’m also a bit curious about writing for video games. I have a dialogue heavy writing style that might work well for that, but its not something I’m passionate about yet.