I recently "interviewed" the author of Evolution. Me & Other Freaks of Nature, here is what she had to say:
1. How did you come up with the idea for Evolution. Me & Other ?
In high school I was a girl like Mena, so I thought it would be interesting to write about someone caught up in the controversy. I can tell you she did a lot better sorting the whole thing out than I would have!
2. Do you plan on writing ore books?
I’m working on the final edits to my next book right now (as in RIGHT NOW, as in due tomorrow—yikes!).
3. What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
1. Read A LOT. Read what you’re interested in. It might be comic books, hand in hand., romances, science fiction, comedies, tragedies—whatever. The more you read, the better you get at recognizing how to put a story together. Plus you build your vocabulary, you learn about different times and cultures and worlds—there’s so much treasure to be found in the pages of a book. And if you don’t like reading, you’re never going to enjoy a long career as a writer. The two just go
2. Write every day, if you can. Write something. I start off every morning writing in a journal, and that’s been the best thing for me in teaching me to write like myself. When you write every day you take the pressure off yourself to be perfect, to sound “literary,” to only write when you think you have something profound to say. Instead you can just practice your skills, like a musician playing scales or an athlete keeping in shape. If writing is the skill you want to improve, there’s no substitute for practicing every day. (And practice might include writing a blog post—that certainly counts!)
3. Lead an interesting life. You don’t have to do wild, exciting things like climb Everest or jump out of planes, but you do have to pay attention to what’s going on around you in the life you’re already leading. I get so many ideas from talking to my friends, seeing something on TV, reading the newspaper, watching how people interact in the world—there’s material all around us, big and little dramas every day, and our job as writers is to take what we observe and turn it into stories for each other.
4. Who is your favorite author?
I have two: Charles Dickens and . I think they’re both masters at plot, character development, dialogue, comedy, drama—they have the whole package going in every one of their books.
5. If you could change anything about Evolution. Me& Other Freaks of Nature, what would it be?
Boy, that’s a hard question! I never think my work is perfect, which is why it’s hard to finally stop tweaking and revising. That’s why deadlines are good—you have to just stop and turn over the book as some point, even if you think you could still tweak it a little more and still make it better. Sigh. So don’t get me started on what I could do differently—I’ll drive myself crazy!
6. When did you first know you wanted to become an author?
When I was in 5th grade. I had a teacher who let us write short stories for class, and I just loved it so much I never wanted to stop. But it took many years for me to build up the courage to make it my career. It just seemed too wonderful that I might actually grow up to be a writer one day. And now that I’m here, I can say it’s even better than I imagined!
7. Why did you choose to write Young Adult Fiction?
The books I read in junior high and high school had such a long-lasting influence on me, and I still love reading young adult books today. It just felt natural to write books in that genre. Plus I still have a lot of leftover emotions from when I was in high school, so it’s fun to be able to work those out with characters who are smarter, funnier, and braver than I was!
8. What was it like finding out you first book got published?
Oh, my gosh, that was one of the happiest days of my life. It still makes me giddy. But what I love even more is knowing that my next book will be published, and then the one after that, and the one after that . . . . I have a lot of ideas, and it’s such a pleasure to know that it’s my job now to write stories all day—truly a dream come true.
9. Do you have a special place where you do all your writing?
I have an office that looks out over a garden, and while I type all day my big black Lab sleeps on the couch nearby or on the rug next to my desk. Bliss!
10. Is there anything you would like to let the viewers of the blog know?
As thrilling as it is to be able to spend my days making up stories, it’s even more satisfying to hear from readers who have read them. I hope any time you read a book that touches you or entertains you in some way, you’ll take the time to send that author an e-mail and say so. You have no idea how much that means to us!
Thanks, Zoe, for your review of my book, and for taking the time to put together these questions. It was fun!
Now back to work on those edits . . .