Q. What are you working on?
A. I’m in the midst of edits for my debut novel, which will be released by HarperCollins/Greenwillow in early 2015. I’m also working on my second book, tentatively entitled Nearly Beautiful. They’re both coming-of-age novels for tweens.*
Q. How does your work differ from others of its genre?
A. First of all, my work features Filipino main characters. There aren’t many Filipinos represented in mainstream literature, unfortunately. Also, the main character in Nearly Beautiful is a 13-year-old Filipino girl whose father is a cardiologist. We don’t often hear coming-of-age stories from minorities in affluent families. She lives in a big house with a loving family. And guess what? She has struggles, too.
Q. Why do you write what you do?
A. I love writing for tweens* because it’s such a pivotal point of life. You’re not quite a kid, but not quite a teen, and certainly not an adult. You want to be your own person, but you want to fit in. You want independence, but need the security of your friends and family. It can be a grueling and confusing time. Not to mention all the social constructs and heartaches that come with that age group. I want young readers to know that they aren’t alone, no matter what. Like REM once said: Everybody hurts sometimes. (I used to listen to that song on repeat).
Someone once asked me why I don’t write ‘real books,’ which is an insulting way to ask why I don’t write books for adults. I write short stories for an adult audience, but writing a novel for and about grown-ups has never held my interest. For the most part, adults are who they are. Young people are still figuring out who they are, and that’s much more interesting to me.
Q. How does your writing process work?
A. It always starts with a character. Almost like a creative introduction. I see a character in my head doing something, or wanting something. And the story builds around that. As for the writing itself: I write constantly. I take notes. I send myself emails. I write scenes over lunch breaks. I write on the weekends. I also do a lot of writing in my head. Usually I can get a first draft done in a few months. Then the revisions start. That’s my favorite part.
I actually wrote about writing processes for Flash Fiction Chronicles, in a post entitled “My Routine: I Write When I Wanna.”
*I’ve always thought “tween” was a strange word.
I’m passing the baton to:
Maria DeVivo, author of The Coal Elf. Maria’s debut novel is about an elf who mines coal for naughty children. Her second and third novels are paranormal thrillers. She teaches seventh-grade honors English and lives in Florida with her husband and children.
Missouri Vaun is a newbie lesbian romance writer who is currently finishing up her debut novel for publication. She grew up in southern, rural Mississippi, and is currently living with her wife in northern California.
David Brown is a freelance writer and editor sometimes published under the pseudonym D.B. Grady. He is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a regular contributor to The Week Magazine and Mental Floss. His latest books are Deep State and The Command. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Ariel MacArran, author of Another Man’s Bride