About Me

I'm an author and arts administrator living in New England with my husband and pugs. I'm also a caffeine addict and voracious reader. My MG fantasy novels, the NYT Bestselling MONSTROUS and RAVENOUS, are available now from HarperCollins Children's Books! Next up: SHADOW WEAVER (Sourcebooks, 2018)

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Next Event

May
6
Sat
2017
all-day Derry Author Fest @ Derry Public Library
Derry Author Fest @ Derry Public Library
May 6 all-day
Derry Author Fest is a day of writing workshops, panels and networking for aspiring authors, dreamers and dabblers alike. We bring in reputable authors to teach in areas of their expertise. As an attendee, you[...]

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FAQ

General

This is me in a very tiny nutshell:
  • I am most often described by other people as a “nice girl.”
  • I rarely get a good night’s sleep and I drink enough caffeine each day to give a horse a heart attack.
  • I wouldn’t know what day it was or where I’m supposed to be without my iPhone.
  • I like weird things and particularly enjoy writing about them.
  • I wrote an opera as the equivalent of a senior thesis in college.
  • I have minor obsessions with Depeche Mode, Tim Curry, and the color blue.
Oh gosh, a lot. I lost count after a dozen. Thus far, only MONSTROUS, RAVENOUS, and soon the SHADOW WEAVER series have been published (which is just fine because not all them should be published!)
Oooh, that’s a tough one. I’m a sucker for anything chocolate, but especially mocha or chocolate raspberry. Basically, if there’s something that ticks either of those boxes on the dessert menu, I’m likely to get it.

My Books

Nope! While MONSTROUS pulls a lot of inspiration from both Frankenstein and The Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales, it is not a strict retelling of either of those things. You will see several nods to each in the text, but don’t expect to see a familiar story line.
Well, that’s a funny story. You see, when I wrote MONSTROUS I thought it was Young Adult. I queried it as YA, and entered it into blog contests as YA (which I’d be willing to bet is where you saw it). But when it crossed my brilliant editor’s desk, she immediately knew it was really supposed to be Middle Grade all along. A good thing too, since it’s much, much better that way!

That said, I, the very biased author, would like to believe MONSTROUS could be enjoyed by readers of any age. 🙂

The ending is something I wrestled with a lot in the first few drafts. I tried writing a pat little Disney-fied ending but it was so wrong and completely out of character for Kymera. The final epilogue went through many iterations and tweaks along the way (its current form was the result of 11th hour line edits that had me rewriting the entire epilogue!).

First, the book is more like a Grimm’s fairy tale than a Disney one – it’s dark, and some characters do die. At the end of the book, the main character makes a decision to do something very dangerous to protect her friends and the result is…unexpected (I know what you’re thinking and no, Kymera does not die – it’s something else entirely!). She actually gets exactly what she wants, but in a way that never occurred to her. While it might sound like it would be easier to let an adult character do the difficult task or to change the rules of magic in the world, it’s crucial to the story and her character that it be her. MONSTROUS is Kymera’s story, her battle – letting someone else make the hard choices in her stead would take away her hard won agency. It would be a huge let down, and, really, kind of a cop-out.

Part of Kym’s struggle throughout the book is that she needs to realize she must step outside the barriers that others would set around her to protect her. She has to take responsibilities – and the responsibility of protecting her city belongs to her. At the start of the story, she only has inklings of what that entails. A big part of her internal arc is discovering what that truly means. Her character may be a monster but she is constantly caged by others. Her father gives her restrictions, her dragon friend would whisk her away to hide her in his mountain home, and even when she finally breaks free, she’s captured and caged by others who would do her harm. It isn’t until the end of the story that Kym has true freedom and agency and the ability to finally succeed at the mission she’s had from the very beginning.

In other words, having anyone or anything else complete her mission for her would send a rather negative message to readers, especially young girls. It’s critical to Kymera’s story and character that when she has real agency, she makes the choice to bear the full weight and cost of the responsibility she’s taken on. Importantly, her actions are not done out of hate (which she was acting on in the beginning), but out of love – because the love she has for her city, family, and friends has grown so much larger than that hate and they’re more important to her than anything else. Kymera may be a monster in physical sense, but she is truly the best person in the book.
Not exactly. There will be a companion novel called RAVENOUS which follows Greta from MONSTROUS in her own story. It does take place after the events of Monstrous but you don’t have to read MONSTROUS first to enjoy RAVENOUS.
It is! The prequel is called PRECIOUS and it will be in the printed in the final edition of RAVENOUS. It’s an extra 100 pages of story 🙂

Here’s a brief summary:
Princess Rosabel is trapped between her desire to see the world and the dark deal her parents made that keeps her confined in Bryre’s castle. With the help of her best friend, Ren, she’ll do whatever it takes—even courting forbidden magic—to save her family from the wizard’s wrath and earn her freedom.
At present, the glimpses of Rosabel and the mentions of the rose in Ravenous are it. But I'll never say never! I’m not currently working on another book in the same world, but some day I’d love to come back to Bryre and Belladoma if there's interest. 🙂
Oh yes, by the end of Monstrous they're friends again, I think it's safe to say they each have a bit of a crush on the other.

Writing

Scrivener! It’s an amazing tool to help writers keep their novels organized and flexible, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It completely revolutionized my writing life. I even blogged about how I use it to revise here on the From the Write Angle blog.
Plotter! I love out­lines. They let me hop around in the storyline so I never have to worry about writer’s block, I can just keep writing.
This is a tricky one, because every writer I know comes up with their ideas a little differently.

If you’re having trouble finding ideas, my best advice is to do things that inspire you. Dance! Sing! Get lost in a museum! Go for a hike! Read everything you can get your hands on! All these things keep those creative engines firing in your brain. If you’re feeling stuck it can be just what you need to get back on track.

Also, it can be helpful to keep a notebook (or folder on your computer) where you can jot down snippets of ideas when they come to you. I often find that one cool thing I wrote down months ago is the perfect thing to spark with another snippet later on. Good luck!
Before I became a writer I was a classically trained singer and I wrote music, with a particular passion for opera and choral music. I worked in the arts sector for symphonies, theatres, and opera companies. I fell into writing late one evening during my two-hour commute home from the day job and night classes I was taking to get my master’s degree. I was on the subway in Boston, dozing off while the train stopped in a section where you could see a little way into the old, abandoned tunnels. My mind began to wander and I got the idea for my very first book about fairies living in the subway tunnels of Boston. That book did not make it to publication, but it did instill in me a deep and abiding love of writing. Basically ever since I wrote that first novel, I’ve just been writing book after book and have not stopped. Writing and publishing are certainly not always easy, but it’s something I very much love to do!

 

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