The Newest News:

Q: When will your next book come out?

A: My next book, THE HOW AND THE WHY, will be out in November 5, 2019. It is a contemporary YA novel from two points of view: one a sixteen-year-old girl living at a home for pregnant girls, writing a series of letters to the baby she's carrying, and the other the girl that baby grows up to be, trying to figure out who she is and what she wants from her life. As an adopted child, myself, it was a super personal and powerful story to write, and I am very excited to share it with you. 

About My Lady Jane:

Q: So you're writing with two other authors now? How did that happen?

A: Well, funny story. . . I'd been kicking around for ideas of ways to get to hang out more often with my two writing besties: Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. We always have so much fun together, and I thought there must be a project we could all work on together.

Also, after I wrote The Last Time We Say Goodbye, I really felt like I needed to write a comedy. TLTWSG was so sad, and so difficult to write, that I wanted to work on something lighter. So I decided to write about the Lady Jane Grey, a girl who'd been screwed over by history and beheaded. Hilarious, right?

Um, no. That's what Brodi Ashton told me the first time I pitched her the idea. Beheadings, she said, aren't funny.

But I won her over in the end. Click here to read more about what that was like.

Q: Are there going to be more Jane books starring Edward, Jane, and Gifford?

A. Yes and no. As in yes, there are going to be more Jane books. Two more, in fact. We have just released the second one, which is called MY PLAIN JANE.

But no, the other Jane books don't feature Edward, Jane, and Gifford. We pick different Janes--we're out to rewrite the tragic stories of Janes who have been screwed over by history, to give them the happy endings they deserve.

MY PLAIN JANE, for instance, is about JANE EYRE and CHARLOTTE BRONTE. I like to say it's JANE EYRE meets GHOSTBUSTERS.

The last Jane book is called MY CALAMITY JANE, and--you guessed it--it's about Calamity Jane, but also Annie Oakley and Frank Butler. It will be out on June 2, 2020.


 About Unearthly: 

Q: Was Unearthly your first book?

A: It's my first book to be published. Before this I'd published a few literary short stories, a few poems, and written about half of a literary novel.

Q: In what order should I read the Unearthly series?
A: UNEARTHLY, HALLOWED, RADIANT (which is a short novella), and then BOUNDLESS.

Q: Will there be any more books that take place in the Unearthly universe?
A: Maaaaaaybe. I have a Maggie novel and a novella that's from Christian/Angela's POV that I've worked on in the past, but those haven't sold so I have no idea when they might see the light of day.

Q: Is Radiant ever coming to paperback?
Nope. Radiant is an ebook only. Except in Turkey, where the publisher has decided to print a hard copy. So only if you live in Turkey.

Q: Will there ever be an Unearthly movie?
A: The rights have reverted back to me, which means that Unearthly as a movie or TV series is stalled, at the moment. Such is Hollywood. But I am working with movie people to adapt both THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE and MY LADY JANE.

About The Afterlife of Holly Chase:

This is a retelling of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, starring a spoiled sixteen-year-old Malibu socialite as the Ebenezer Scrooge. It's not so much a straight retelling, of course, as it is a reimagining of the Scrooge world. In this book there is a company called Project Scrooge that tries to "rehabilitate" one Scrooge-like person every year. One year they choose to work on Holly Chase, but she fails to see the light and ends up dying instead. Imagine her dismay when, after she dies, she wakes up at the company headquarters and is informed that her eternal punishment will be working for the company now, as the new Ghost of Christmas Past. Hijinks ensue, of course, and a little bit of romance and a lot about the value of friendship and the power of forgiveness. I had so much fun writing this one.

About The Last Time We Say Goodbye:

Q: Why did you decide to write a contemporary novel, when all the other novels you've written were paranormal?
A: I have two answers to this: 1) Because my publisher wanted contemporary novels. I blame John Green, in a good way. And my original training as a writer was in literary fiction, which is contemporary (sort of). So it made sense at the time when I was deciding what to write next. And answer 2) Because I had the story of THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE inside of me to write. I've wanted to write a story about a very practical girl who thinks she might be seeing her brother's ghost for a really, really long time. It was a hard story for me to write, because it was such an intensely personal journey, but I felt I had something to say about the subject and I needed to tell that story.

About Being A Writer:

Q: How did you become a writer?
A: In some ways, I've always been a writer. It's just part of who I am. But I didn't officially consider myself a writer until I was accepted as a student in the Boise State University Master of Fine Arts program, and actually started to learn what it meant to be a writer. That's when I made the commitment.

Q: Just how much school do you have under your belt, anyway?
A: A lot. Writers can grow and thrive in many different ways. I took the school route, and I've always been glad I did. I have an M.F.A. in fiction writing and a Ph.D. in English with a Creative Writing emphasis. But please don't call me Dr. Hand.

Q: Did all that school really help you improve your writing? Do you think you have to go to school in order to become a "real" writer?
A: I think there is really only one way to get better at writing: WRITE. And then WRITE some more. And then WRITE SOME MORE. I don't think writers need to go to lots of school in order to get published or kick butt as writers. But, in my case, the university provided me with a lot of amazing resources that shaped me into the writer I am now: 1) time and financial support to write. 2) a group of smart, capable peers who challenged me to write my best and inspired me with their own hard work 3) amazing, established writers as mentors and instructors who taught me so much more than what I would have ever gleaned on my own, and 4) a sense of seriousness about myself as a writer, a real commitment to doing the work of writing. In short, I loved the process of getting my education, and I would recommend real, formal study to anybody who is seriously considering giving this writing thing a try.

Q: Who is your agent and how did you get connected with your agent?
A: My agent is Katherine Fausset at Curtis Brown. This is a bit of an unusual story, I think, as I didn't ever query agents. Several years ago I published a short story in The Iowa Review (a literary journal), and my agent read the story and liked it, and contacted me to see what I was working on. Lucky, lucky me! She's one of my favorite people on the planet.

Q: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to become a writer?
A: I have tons of advice (I've taught fiction writing for eighteen years!), but if I had to boil it down into a few sentences, I would say: Write what you love. That's it. Don't write what you think will sell, don't write what other people tell you to write, don't write because you want to be an Author with a capital A, but write out of love, out of the heart's field. Write about the things that matter to you. Write passionately. Write for yourself first. So often I get asked for advice in this way, but what the person is really asking me is: How do I get published? Which to me is a discouraging question, because if you're focusing on getting published, it's all about the outcome, and writing should be about the process. The journey. If you write what you love, and you keep at it, story after story, book after book, improving as you go, I think there's a pretty good chance that publishing will work itself out.

So that's my two bits on the subject.

Silly Questions

Q: What's your favorite food, candy, drink, edible thing?
A: Honestly, I get asked this all the time, mostly I think because sweet people want to bring things to my signings for me. I love pasta, in general, and my favorite foods are almost all Italian.  I love anything that mixes chocolate and salt--Godiva makes a dark chocolate bar with sea salt in it that I can't resist. (I'm a vegan now, so I eat way less pasta and chocolate than I used to.) I am crazy about Starbucks Vanilla Latte, but not a huge coffee drinker, otherwise. I prefer my caffeine in the form of tea.

Q: What's your favorite color / animal / season?
A: I am such a pain about these questions, because I change my mind so often. I seriously don't have a favorite color--I love most colors. I have two cats, Stella and Frank, and a Golden Irish named Poesy, and they are awesome, but I also love fish and birds and I even once had a pet salamander named Sonic. I also heart horses in a way I've never gotten over since I was a little girl. I don't have a favorite season so much as I love the transitions between seasons--summer giving way to fall, the week of the first snow in winter, the first warm day of spring. My favorite holiday is the Fourth of July

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect writing-related tee shirts and necklaces, and I am starting to get more serious about my collection of pretty coffee mugs. One day I was just looking at the line of identical white coffee mugs in my cupboard, and I thought, that is so boring. I need to get me some pretty and cool mugs. I have one with a mermaid on it that I adore.

Q: What are some things most people don't know about you?
A: I am a video game junky. I have to be careful not to play too much or my books would never get written. Elder Scrolls Online in particular is very dangerous--my handle is LadyJanie1, if you're ever in there with me and want to say hello. I am also a knitter, a skier, I play mediocre piano, ukulele, and banjo, and I collect movie scores--my favorite movie composer is Thomas Newman. 

Q: What music do you write to?
A: I don't write to music. I need quiet for writing. But I often listen to music before and after I write something. I've found nothing more effective at getting me in the mind frame of my current novel than a song or two that embodies what the characters are feeling. I always keep a playlist. 


Ashlee said...

Please please please come to Australia! All of your Aussie fans would absolutely to meet you in person. You would have your own tour guides, all you need to do is ask! :)


You're an amazing author!!!!!! :D

Unknown said...

You're an amazing author!!! :)
I have reviewed your books on my blog!!!

Unknown said...

OMG!! I just finished this book, because this book we had for a book club that I was in, and let me tell you, at first I was really hesitant about reading it, but now that I read it, I love it! I totally think that you should go on tour, and that you should defiantly come to Wisconsin!!!! (Now I am a huge fan, FYI)