post by Maddy & Colleen

“How do you deal with writer’s’ block?”

“ I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think it’s a lot like the Matrix. You know you have that kid sitting there with the spoon and someone’s going ‘ How do you make the spoon do the cool bending stuff?’ and he replies ‘The trick is to know there is no spoon.’ Well writers block is you giving yourself permission for there to be a spoon you can’t control. It’s literally giving yourself permission not to write. So I firmly believe that even if the writing is bad, you can still write everyday. And as long as you do, there is no spoon.”


“What is your favorite character death in any of your books?”

“The nail through the eye was really fun. Especially since I’ve seen Orphan Black, and at the end of season two, someone gets a pencil through the eye. When I got to actually see it, I thought that it was really, terrifically awesome.”


“What is your most memorable moment with a fan?

“You know, I think one of the more memorable ones was when this one high performing student came to talk to me. You know she always got straight A’s and her parents wanted her to be a business major and she actually wanted to be in acting. After speaking with me, she didn’t want a test to define her or her parents to define her, so she became a theater major. And I think it’s a really cool and bizarre thing  that someone was so inspired by something I wrote and said. That was weird for me and a little scary.”


“Do you plan on writing another book or are you in the process of writing one right now?”

“I’m currently working on one called Time Bomb , but I’m not going to give away much on that yet. I also playing with a fantasy-thriller series. It’s my own fantasy world, but yes. I’m having a lot of fun with it. It’s a competition and it should be really exciting for you guys. I’m excited.”


“Is there a genre of writing that you haven’t tried that you would like to try?”

“Well I’m bad at romance so I don’t want to go there. I learned that the hard way. I’m much better at killing people. I don’t know. I think regardless of what genre I’m in, there’s always got to be a mystery in it, or some sort of puzzle and I’ll totally write it. That’s the thing I’m interested in, the puzzle. So, I don’t think there’s any genre I wouldn’t try, but it has to have a puzzle.”


“Are there any upcoming events in Texas or anywhere else that readers should know about?”

“I honestly don’t know when I’m going to be back in Texas. I mean, I’ll be in other parts of the country. I also should be at BookCon 2016 in Chicago.”


“What is the biggest thing you’ve had to overcome as a writer?”

“ I think the biggest thing that every writer has that I didn’t in the beginning was self-doubt because I didn’t think anyone would read anything I wrote, ever. But now, the more I know that people are reading, I become more critical of myself in a book. Like there are moments in a book that I think Wow. This is the worst thing anyone has ever written, especially now. When you first start writing, you have no expectation. You assume people will hate you anyway. But the more people that read your book and love it, it makes you afraid that your next book is going to disappoint them. Now I have an audience, and I don’t want to let them down.”


“What is you favorite color and what is your favorite animal?”

“I’m a redhead, my favorite color is green. That’s a no brainer. A lot of my wardrobe is green. And I kind of like racoons. They purr, especially when they’re happy. Go online and search ‘racoon purr’. It is the most adorable thing.”


“Why did you choose to write Need in multiple perspectives?”

“If it’s one person’s story, it’s one person’s justification and her understanding of what everybody is willing to do. I actually wanted it to feel like a social network in which lots of people are involved. And I wanted to be able to show what various people with different backgrounds would decide to do; at what point would they draw the line for themselves. There is a main story though, and that’s Kaylee, and all of the other stories are threads intertwining. The opening line for each introductory chapter is the same sentences. It’s the opening screen of the website. I also like when you know more than the main character because you know what is going to happen, but you have no idea who’s going to do it. It was like a puzzle.”


“How did you come up with the names for the people in The Testing?”

“I love science-fiction because you can make up names. I always liked Mia, so I, very scientifically, replaced the M with every letter in the alphabet. I ended up liking Cia. Then, because the series was sort of about how a test or first impression does not define you, I wanted to give more depth to her name. I decided to use mal as a prefix in her name because it means bad. Then I had to make it flow so I ended up with Malencia. I chose her last name because of Vicky Vale (from Batman). I also think with science-fiction that there’s so many weird names that they are hard to remember. So they’re all recognizable names but with one letter off, like Simon with a y. I also firmly believe that we need more z and y names, so there are a lot of those.


“ Where do you get your inspiration?”

“Well a student melting down in my living room obviously. That one was very specific actually but it did inspire The Testing. She got me thinking that tests were so crazy difficult these days, how could I make it worse? From there I got thinking about writing is in a book and so on. For Need it was really easy. I just watched my friends freak out online. You know they click the link for free stuff. Then they get hacked and they say they’ve learned. Then they do it  all over again next week in an endless loop. Social media in general is inspiration. But a good question to ask yourself is ‘What if…’ Inspiration can come from just about anywhere. You just never know.”


“If you were to die in one of the ways you killed a character, which way would you pick?”

“I would go with something totally painless. Because some of them are super painful. In one of my mystery novels, there is this guy who drank some water that is drugged with potassium cyanide and he is out cold in one second and stops the show and everyone looks ready to collapse. So you know, it’s not gruesome, but I would say it was onstage, in front of everybody and made headlines around the world. So hey, that’s pretty spectacular and it’s painless, so I’ll take that one. If I couldn’t feel pain, I’d go with being electrocuted in a dunk tank. That seems pretty fun. Then again, I have a pretty warped definition of fun.”


“Considering the lack of online privacy there is, do you ever get nervous doing research for your novels?”

“I’m have an F.B.I. file. I’m on the N.S.A. watch list. I love it. It turns out when you Google things like ‘How to build a bomb’ or ‘If you mixed this awful chemical weapon and this poison what would happen’ or ‘How to smuggle guns through security’, it sends up all sorts of red flags. I’ve always thought that authors would make the best terrorist because they look you up, and they go ‘Oh she’s an author. She’s doing research’. I’m never nervous though. It’s more fun because you get really good at Googling things and you discover the most absurd things. Again, my warped definition of fun.”