1. Who: Who are your instabuy, go-to YA authors? And which new talent have you discovered recently?
I’ve loved everything I’ve read so far by Kathleen Glasgow, so she’s an automatic read for me. Also, I was lucky enough to get blurbs from several authors whose work I love — Shannon Takaoka, Kyrie McCauley, and Karol Ruth Silverstein — and I’m excited to read anything they write next!
Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour is a book I read not too long ago and I absolutely loved it, so I’m looking forward to exploring the rest of her work. And one of the best things about being a debut is meeting other new authors through my debut group, so I’ve been lucky enough to get a sneak peek at books like Lulu and Milagro’s Search for Clarity by Angela Velez, All That’s Left in the World by Erik J. Brown, and One for All by Lillie Lainoff.
2.What: What was the most joyful moment in preparing to bring The Moth Girl into the world?
Not gonna lie, getting the call from my agent that we had an offer (and immediately running to tell my friend and critique partner about it) was pretty spectacular! Other than that, each step that brought it closer to feeling like a real book was great, like seeing my gorgeous final cover art, as well as seeing the text in page layout. Probably the nerdiest (but no less satisfying) moment was getting an ISBN number. Maybe it’s because I’ve worked in libraries and educational publishing, but that little number filled my heart with joy!
3. Where: Where is the state of YA right now, from where you sit? Where do you hope to see it go next?
I feel like YA has been ahead of the game in terms of putting diverse and timely stories out into the world. There’s definitely still work to be done, but I hope the category as a whole will keep taking risks, broadening its scope, and bringing more voices into the conversation who might previously not have been included.
4.When: Looking ahead to next year (or beyond), what exciting things are next on the horizon for you?
I’m looking forward to writing more books! As exhilarating as the debut experience can be, it can also be stressful and confusing as you try and figure out how this whole publishing business works. I’ll be happy to go into the next book with a little more knowledge and confidence, not only in terms of the publishing process but also as a storyteller.
I’m hoping that the pandemic will ease up enough for me (and my underlying health conditions) to feel safer being out in the world. I would love to have some in-person book events, travel, etc. But no matter what, I’m looking forward to the things that always bring me joy: talking and laughing with the people I love, playing in the garden, and celebrating successes with my friends — both mine and theirs.
5.Why: Why YA? What draws you to writing for this age group?
There’s so much going on during the teen years: new experiences, figuring out your identity, and the natural conflict that arises as you navigate having more independence and pulling away from childhood roles and expectations. All of those things are fertile ground for interesting stories. And because of all those things, teens need books that can be signposts, that can let them know they’re not alone. The Moth Girl is, in many ways, a letter to my own teenage self, and I know that if I needed to read it, then others probably will, too.