What inspired you to write 25 Roses?
When I was in high school, every Valentine’s Day we had a carnation sale. For a small fee (I think it was a dollar?), you could send a carnation to your crush or one of your friends. I started wondering what would happen if someone decided to send carnations to the people who didn’t normally receive any. Instead of carnations, I made them chocolate roses, though.
How long did it take you to write 25 Roses?
It took about a month to write but the revision process was a multiple-stage event that covered about two years (intermittently!).
What was your inspiration for the characters Mia and Miss Kaylee?
When I started imagining someone who would secretly send roses to students who didn’t normally receive them, the character naturally developed. She’s more idealistic than heroic, but she’s also the girl most of us were at that age. Just a normal middle schooler trying to get by.
Kaylee is that girl we all knew in middle school. Popular, pretty, perfect, and surrounded by friends. I mentioned Jennifer Lawrence’s dimple when I described her, but I hope readers picture that girl when they read it. The girl who just seems to drift through life with good things always falling in her lap.
What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?
When I was a tween, there was no middle grade, really. I read Judy Blume, but those books weren’t quite girly enough for me. I started reading teen books like Sweet Valley High as soon as I could and there was a book series called First Love from Silhouette that I loved during the brief time they lasted. Because there weren’t middle grade and young adult books like them at the time, most of my generation read books like Flowers in the Attic and anything Stephen King. I’d say Stephen King was my biggest inspiration, but I think a lot of today’s authors feel that way.
If you could live anyplace real or fictional, where would it be? Why?
Somewhere scenic, like the beach or the mountains. I’d love to have a big window that overlooked nature in some way or another. I think simply being surrounded by that is inspiring for writers. Although usually when I try to write with a beautiful view in front of me, I find it distracting, so maybe four walls is best!
If you could befriend a character from one of your books, who would you befriend? Why?
I love all my characters! I think I’d befriend Maddie, the main character in my first book, 30 Days of No Gossip—mostly because I love gossip!
Mia wants to help people, even if people misunderstand some of her actions. She seems to know a lot about fashion and hairstyles. Have you ever given anyone a makeover? If so, can you tell us about it?
No, I can’t say I have! I wish I was better at that stuff. I did take a makeup lesson in my 20s, where I learned quite a bit about how to apply makeup so that it looks natural. That was very enlightening.
Are you currently working on a book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?
I’m working on a partial right now called Tales from an Undercover Middle Schooler. It’s about a tween TV star who goes undercover in a school to research a movie role she wants to land. It’s one of three partials I’m going to send my agent. I’m not sure if it will ever see the light of day, but I’m enjoying writing these three chapters.
Where can we purchase your books?
My first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, is available on Amazon or you can purchase an autographed copy from Parnassus Books in Nashville. Just put in the comments what you’d like me to put in the autograph and I’ll go by and sign it. They ship it to you. You can also pre-order a signed copy of 25 Roses from Parnassus Books and they’ll send it to you when it comes out in January.
25 Roses will hit bookshelves everywhere in January, but you can enter the book giveaway for a chance to win a signed hardcover copy of this excellent new middle grade book!
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