I didn’t eat. It
was impossible when crammed in a tiny booth, cornered between Prescott’s
dimples and golden biceps, Kara’s cinnamon lip gloss, and my grandmother’s
stolen ring. The aquamarine kept winking at me from her finger, a cold,
accusing eye in its band of icy gold. It was the color of the Aegean Sea as I
would have imagined it. That color belonged in Kara’s world, not mine.
kind of name is Prescott anyway?” Kara asked as she placed a pepperoni on her
didn’t imagine anyone had ever dared to ask such a question of him before. I
watched him from over the bubbles of my fountain drink, watched the way his
eyelids dipped and his biceps tightened. Watched one corner of his mouth rise
in a pleased way. Watched his weight shift on his elbows. He was a penny she
set spinning on the table. He was circling for a place to land.
Republican one,” he said finally with a laugh.
Kara made a pout.
“Are you as stuffy as it makes you sound?”
He looked at Kara.
He looked at me. “I don’t know. Ask Olivia. She’s known me a long time.”
Kara cut her
blue-gray eyes in my direction. This was a game for her, putting us all on the
cusp of some social precipice, watching us dangle.
I tensed. Bit my
straw. Released. “He’s alright.”
Prescott burst out
laughing. “Thanks for the winning endorsement.”
proudly at me. I’d told a joke I wasn’t in on. But I half-smiled back, feigning
I caught him
looking at me four times after that.
Lunch was followed
by the mall. I had no money for either. Mostly I followed Kara around. Watched
her shoplift a set of bracelets and a hair band. Talked to Prescott while she
tried on clothes she had no intention of buying.
I’d meant what I
said at lunch. Prescott wasn’t like other guys with marble statue faces. He
played basketball but wasn’t a total jock. He read books. He didn’t cheat in
class or sleep around. He wasn’t a complete asshole. You couldn’t hate him for
winning the genetic lottery, even if you wanted to. But he was still unreachable
in so many ways. It’s not like he wasn’t aware of how he looked. It showed in
the way he carried himself. The confidence born to those who haven’t suffered,
who know they’ll never have to.
wasn’t like anyone else. She wasn’t a cheerleader or a beauty pageant wannabe.
She didn’t act like the popular girls in my, or any other, grade. She didn’t
look like them either, though she could have. It was more like she didn’t care
to, didn’t have to. And she was all the more irresistible for it. She had one
of the hottest guys in school sitting outside her dressing room after meeting
her once. She stole things she probably could have bought just as easily. She
poured magnetism into every gesture without breaking a sweat. She was the
epitome of effortless. But not grace. There was nothing graceful about her. She
was raw. She was salt in the wound.
She could cure. She could kill.
What does your writing
process look like? Do you know the whole
story when you start? Or do you just
start writing and go with it (seat of the pants writing)? If you plan it out, how do you do that? Outline, note cards, post-it notes, etc.?
I am what’s often called a
“panster”, meaning that I simply dive in and make much of the story up as I go
along. That said, I usually have a rough outline for the novel in my head when
I begin, and now I put that into a synopsis first for my agent and to give a
solid base to work from. As plot ideas come to me along the way but before I
can write them, I will usually start jotting them down in a notebook or on
scraps of paper. It’s not the most organized method, but so far it works for
How do you come up with your
ideas for your stories?
My inspiration comes from
all over—personal experiences, documentaries, other novels … I usually start
with a seed of an idea or a character and build a larger premise around that. I
don’t start writing until I can hear the voice of my main character.
How long have you been
Eons? I’ve been writing for
over a decade. I began in my late twenties. Put it down for a brief while, and
then began again maybe a couple of years later. But it’s been a passion of mine
my whole life.
What tips do you have for
Write. That’s my first tip.
You can only call yourself a writer if you’ve written or are writing
something. Writing is how you hone your craft. It’s how you improve and
accomplish your goals. No book ever wrote itself.
And my second tip is to
persist. It’s very easy to give up when you begin to experience rejection and
disappointment. Depending on your particular journey, there can be much more of
that in the beginning than encouragement or reason to carry on. But you
definitely won’t make it if you stop writing.
Books: Something Wicked
This Way Comes, Mists of Avalon, The Handmaid’s Tale, Vita Nostra, Born Wicked,
Authors: Margaret Atwood,
Anna Marie McLemore, I tend to have favorite books over favorite authors
Genres: YA all the way,
fantasy, magical realism
The Dark Crystal, Practical Magic, The Goonies
of Thrones, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Music: I have to skip this one
as I can rarely listen to music since my daughter died
Food: vegan curry, vegan chili,
vegan hot dogs (I’m actually a little ashamed of this one)
Writing Snack: tater tots, Masala Lay’s,
tortilla chips and fresh guacamole (coffee and guacamole must always be fresh
at my house)