1. When did you first know you wanted to write?
I grew up knowing that I wanted to be an author. My mother was a romance novelist with sixteen published titles to her name (including the award-winning Faithful Traitor), so professional writing always seemed very possible to me. I wrote my first "novel" when I was nine, enjoyed it so much, and never stopped!
2. Which authors inspire you the most?
I love everything written by Sir Terry Pratchett. The man is a genius, able to make you laugh and cry within sentences. I adore C.S. Lewis's profound and beautiful work. His writing is truly inspired! I also love Megan Whalen Turner, Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, and Shannon Hale. All of them, in different ways, have been inspirations to me.
3.How did you get the inspiration for your novel?
I came up with the story of Starflower when I was seventeen years old, while reading George MacDonald's strange novel, Phantastes, which includes a frightening sequence right at the end with a monstrous wolf and ritual sacrifice. Suddenly the characters and story of Starflower began to develop.
I wrote the first short-story version of this novel two years later, when I was a sophomore in college. I liked it, but it felt incomplete. So it was shelved again for several more years. But Starflower was a story aching to be told, and I couldn't ignore it forever!
4. What is your favorite part about being an author?
I love the puzzle that each story I write represents. The basic plots come easily enough, but the intricate art of how each story should be told is so intriguing . . . and often very difficult! I enjoy lacing the various characters, themes, and plot threads together. It's always such a challenge, and I love it.
5. What is your least favorite part about being an author?
I'm always scared to send my newest book out to the reading public. All of my books are dear to me . . . and there is no way to fully prepare emotionally for the reactions of those readers who won't like or get them. You always want to believe that your brainchild will be beloved by all, but that's simply not reality in the writing world!
6. Could you write a bit about what your publication process was like?
I wrote my debut novel, Heartless, the summer after finishing college. After polishing it through several drafts, I sent it out to Books & Such Literary Agency, and was signed by my agent, Rachel Kent. Soon after, she sent the manuscript to Bethany House Publishers, and they bought it. It was all very quick, really! I've been fortunate in how doors have been opened for me. I have been writing professionally ever since.
7. Do you have any upcoming projects?
I do indeed. I am currently polishing up the manuscript for my fifth novel, Dragonwitch, due to hit the shelves in summer 2013. I have just finished the first draft of my sixth novel (as yet untitled), which will release in spring 2014. So, still plenty more fairy tale adventures to come!
8. Describe in three or fewer sentences what makes your book unique and why a reader should buy it.
Starflower tells the story of an evil dragon, a heroine cursed to silence, a handsome and terribly self-centered hero . . . and the monster that could destroy them all! What's not to like?
Thank you for the feature on your lovely blog! And I hope all of you readers will find a chance to read Starflower. Find me on facebook or my author blog.