ABOUT THE BOOKS
What order should I read your books in?
Right now, there are about a dozen books either out or forthcoming in a variety of different series. It doesn't matter what order you read the series in, but within each series, it's better to read the first book first.
RAISED BY WOLVES then TRIAL BY FIRE then TAKEN BY STORM
EVERY OTHER DAY (standalone)
THE SQUAD: PERFECT COVER then THE SQUAD: KILLER SPIRIT
TATTOO then FATE
GOLDEN then PLATINUM
THE NATURALS then KILLER INSTINCT then ALL IN
Is Raised by Wolves going to be a series?
Raised By Wolves is a trilogy. The first book is Raised By Wolves, the second is Trial By Fire, and the third is Taken By Storm. I might return to the world of the books someday for a new book, but for now, the trilogy stands complete with three books.
SPOILER ALERT! If you've already read Taken By Storm and want to know why I consider it an end-point, at least to this sequence, here are some blog entries you can read that answer that question:
Is there a sequel to Every Other Day?
I wrote Every Other Day as a standalone. I had so much fun with the characters and the world, and I intentionally left them in a place where they are leaving adolescence and standing on the verge of an exciting adult world - not because I was planning on writing about their adventures post-high school, but because I am a firm believer that the things that come after high school are amazing and awesome and exciting in so many ways. Kali's future is full of possibilities - and for now, it's up to you to imagine them.
Is there going to be another book in the Golden/Platinum series?
When I wrote Platinum, it seemed likely that there would be a book three (one that really delved into the Dylan/Lissy and Lilah/Cade romances more strongly), but then my publisher decided it would be better for me to go in a different direction. As a result, we never ended up doing a third book and there are no plans for one in the future, but if you find me at a conference or signing, I can tell you some spoilers about what I had planned for the characters, back in the day.
Is there going to be another book in the Tattoo/Fate series?
I actually wrote TATTOO as a standalone and never meant for there to be a sequel at all, but then, in revision, I ended up tweaking the end of the book to add in a bigger twist, and that twist gave us the plot for FATE. I very consciously wrote FATE to be the end of Bailey's storyline, so I don't anticipate there ever being a book three.
Is there a third Squad book? When does it come out?
There are only two SQUAD books and I do not anticipate writing more books in that series any time soon, as much as I loved writing them (and I truly did). However, if you enjoyed The Squad, you will probably enjoy my new project, THE NATURALS, which is about an FBI think tank that uses teenagers to profile and catch serial killers.
You can read more about THE NATURALS and how it's similar to and different from THE SQUAD here.
Have you ever thought about turning your books into TV shows or movies?
I'd love to see my books on the big screen, but since I don't make movies myself, that would require someone who DOES to be interested in making it happen. In fact, it would require LOTS of someones! At different points in time, there has been Hollywood interest in almost all of my series, but it takes a lot of people saying "yes" to actually get a book to the big screen.
Who's your favorite character in your books?
It really depends on what book I'm writing when you ask. Of all my main characters, Toby (from The Squad) and Bryn (from Raised By Wolves) are probably the most fun to write, because they're so much more likely to take names and kick butt than I am. Among the supporting cast in all of my books, I really like writing the characters that get a lot of one-liners (like Devon, Noah, and Delia), and the ones with whom my main character has the most emotionally intense moments (like Callum and Ali from Raised By Wolves). And, of course, I enjoy writing the boys...
How do you have time to write AND go to school?
This is probably the question I get asked most frequently, and sometimes, it is a challenge, but what it boils down to for me is that if you love something enough - and I love both writing and science a lot - you find time for it wherever you can. Many of my books have been written by finding an hour or two in the evening when I can write, even if it means sleeping an hour or two less. I write on the weekends or at night or when I have downtime from school. Most of the time, crunch time for my writing life and crunch time for my academic life don't occur simultaneously, and when they do... well, I usually survive.
How old were you when you wrote your first book?
I've been writing for as long as I can remember, so I'd probably guesstimate that I wrote my first "book" when I was five or six. If you're talking novels, I started writing my first serious novel when I was sixteen, but didn't actually finish a novel until my senior year of high school. The first novel I completely finished became what I now refer to as a "practice book," and I wrote several more practice books before I wrote Golden, the summer I was nineteen.
How long does it take you to write a book?
That depends on how busy my life is and whether or not I get to write every day. I wrote the first draft of Golden in about three weeks. Raised By Wolves took closer to a couple of months. It takes me about the same amount of time to revise a book, and I usually end up revising at least three or four times before the book is ready to hit the shelves. From the day I started writing Golden until its release took about three years.
Where do you get your ideas?
In the shower. Seriously, though, when I'm trying to come up with ideas for books, I start with either a fantastical concept (like a supernatural power) or an aspect of my experience as a teenager (like dealing with cliques or being a cheerleader), and then, from there, I match everyday concepts and fantastical ones, until I find two that fit together. With Golden, I started off knowing that Lissy could see auras, and then it seemed natural to have her dealing with the social hierarchy at school.
Do you do research for your books?
I'm a big fan of researching by DOING. For example, when I wrote Raised By Wolves, I didn't actually sit down and look up information about wolf pack structure or behavior... but I did spend YEARS doing research in the field of animal cognition and behavior. I spent a good chunk of my undergraduate and graduate careers studying monkeys in the wild. Like wolves, they're pack animals, with a distinct hierarchy within each group, and I had the unusual experience of being one of only a few humans on an island filled with a thousand free-ranging monkeys. So a lot of Bryn's experiences and a lot of the subtle aspects of my werewolves' behavior came from things I picked up first-hand.
Where do you get your characters names?
I collect names - from people I meet, from the paper, from TV, movies, books... I'm always on the lookout for good character names and actually keep a running list of all the possibilities. Then, when I need to name a character, I refer to the list, and if none of those names are quite right, I'll take the closest ones and plug them into www.nymbler.com to see what suggestions pop up.
Are you ever going to write books for adults?
I guess that depends on whether or not I ever feel like an adult. I love teen television. I love teen books. I love teen movies. And, if I'm being perfectly honest, I still look really young and don't feel any older than I did five or six years ago. I write what I love, and I write about the things that I understand and the things that are important to me. If I ever get an idea for an adult story that really means something to me the way that all of my other books do, I'd write it, but I'm not making any guarantees that that will ever happen.
I want to be a writer. What advice can you give me?
Three pieces of advice.
1. Read. Libraries are your friend. Read everything you can get your hands on, and if you love it, go back and read it again. And, although your parents will probably kill me for saying this, I also recommend partaking of other forms of fiction. Movies and television, while they won't make you a better writer per se, could teach you something about how to tell a good story.
2. Write. It seems simple, but I really cannot stress how important it is to actually sit down and write something every day. It doesn't have to be your masterpiece. It doesn't even have to be original fiction. Keep a journal. Write a scene that goes on the end of your favorite book or movie. Just write something every day.
3. Do stuff that's not reading or writing. Go out and live. Hang out with your friends. Get involved at your school. Don't be afraid to try new things. Most people write what they know, and if the only thing you know is reading and writing, you won't have very much to write about.
How did you get published?
I wrote a book. Then I bought a wonderful resource, The Children's Writers and Illustrator's Marketplace, which lists the contact information for hundreds of children's publishers and literary agents. I also joined The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and joined a wonderful online writers community. After doing some research, I sent out a bunch of one page query letters, pitching the book I'd written to publishers. And then I wrote another book, and did the same. Wash, rinse, repeat. I started submitting my senior year of high school, and eventually landed a fabulous agent, who sold Golden a few days before my twenty-first birthday.
Do you get decide when a book comes out?
No. That decision is completely up to my publisher!
Do you get to choose your covers?
I'm usually able to give some input to my editor about what I'd like a given cover to look like. Sometimes I have a really image in my mind, and sometimes, I just have some much more general suggestions. Regardless, I'm lucky enough to have a cover designer who designs better covers than I ever could, and ultimately, the covers are her designs, not mine.
Do you get to decide whether or not a book has a sequel?
Yes and no. I get to decide whether or not I want to write a sequel, but then my publisher has to decide whether or not they want to publish that sequel. If I want to write it, but there's no one to publish it and get it out to you guys, I move on to another project - even if I really, really love each of my current series.
I'm applying to college. How do I get into Yale?
Honestly, getting in to college is always a bit of a crap shoot. The best advice I can give you is to know yourself well enough to know what you really love doing. Make sure your activities reflect what you're passionate about, and find a way to reflect that passion in your application. I also highly recommend writing an application essay that gives the admissions committee an idea of your personality, rather than telling them about something you've done. I wrote one of mine on singing in the car.
Do you see auras?
No, but after writing from Lissy's perspective, I'm pretty good at deciding what color someone's aura would be in the Goldenverse.
Were you raised by wolves?
No. My parents are fully human and altogether lovely. But for a while, I did grow up as the only girl around a LOT of boys, which is something that the narrator of Raised By Wolves and I have in common.
Are you a vampire/robot/superhuman/alien?
I must give off some really weird vibes, because I get asked this all the time. But rest assured - I do solemnly swear that I am at least mostly human.
Is it true that your hair is evil? How much evil can you keep in your hair?
This is just a vicious rumor, started by some of my fellow YA authors, who like to tell people that you can gauge how evil I am by how big my (curly, somewhat out of control) hair gets. In reality, while my hair is quite big, I am not evil at all. Promise.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Transmogrification - the ability to change an object of one kind into an object of another. As in, you wave your hand over a piece of gum and turn it into, for example, a really cool purse or a box of chocolates or whatever else you want it to be. I am a firm believer that this is the most incredible super power known to man - especially if you assume that you can shapeshift by transmogrifying yourself.
What are your favorite television shows?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars, Firefly, Everwood, Roswell, Grey's Anatomy, Bones, Party of Five, Bewitched, the X-Men cartoon (old school), Make It or Break It, and Life Unexpected.