No, actually, the writing thing came later in life. In high school, my great ambition was to be a diva. Literally, if people asked what I was doing next, that was what I'd say. It's probably for the best it didn't work out that way, and I'm very much in love with writing now. I can't believe I get to share at least three books with the world! Love it!
Can you tell us about The Selection?
No. Well, okay, yes. The Selection is about a girl named America and her journey through this competition to become the next princess, a trip she really doesn't want to take.
The Selection came from wondering about what ifs in other stories, mainly Esther and Cinderella. I always wondered if Esther ever liked the boy next door and had to let that love die when she was shipped off to compete for the king. Even if she didn't win, she was never going home. And Cinderella only asked for a night off, not a husband, and nothing even close to a crown. So what if they weren't happy? I'm not sure why those two things meshed together in my head, but they did, and I knew I wanted to tell the story of a girl who would catch the eye of a prince, but she wouldn't want him because she was already in love, and that she would go through an experience that was way more than she could have prepared herself for.
If The Selection had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it to describe the atmosphere, actions and feelings?
I'm actually keeping the playlist under wraps for a little bit longer, but it will be up on my website once the book is out. I will tell you the first song on the list is Fairytale by Sara Barielles.
Oh my gosh, it's two totally different worlds! I'm glad I went through the self-publishing process; it totally made me grasp just how much work it takes to promote yourself, and I appreciated the control I had. But having an agent, an editor, a team to design the cover, and scores of people who know how to make your book as visible as possible... it's amazing. I couldn't go back, that's for sure!
My story is called In the Clearing, and it's told in alternating perspectives from a girl who lives in a very sheltered, quiet society and a boy who has chosen to live with a small group of outsiders in the woods. I don't want to give anything away. The collection was released February 13th and has tons of other amazing authors in it!
Was it your intention to write The Selection as a dystopian novel or did it organically come to define itself? Why do you think so many people are drawn to dystopians?
Actually, no, the premise came together in the strange way those things do, and then I realized I needed an appropriate backdrop for it. I didn't want to set it in some far off land or in the past, and while I was driving the name Illea came to mind, and that was all it took. I knew that the place America, Aspen, and Maxon lived was a new country named after the man who saved a country that was falling apart, and that place was coming in the future. I think dystopians are fun in the same way paranormal stories are fun. There's just enough reality to relate, but enough of a disconnect to be scared or excited or whatever that particular story is trying to bring out. It just gets you out of the real world for a while.
What are your favourite novels? Of all time and that were released this year?
Ugggghhh! I can never answer this question! I guess I always tell people to read The Book Thief, so we'll leave it at that, but I love so many books it hurts.
A typical day in your life would be…?
Three days a week, Guyden goes to daycare in the morning so I can write, and that has saved me. He's a handful! But the rest of my time is dedicated to playing with the boy, hanging with the hubby, tweeting, and making sure the house doesn't fall apart. It's not so glamorous as I think most people suspect an author's life is. Actually, I'm covered in yogurt a lot.
Are you hoping that readers will take away any specific message from any of your books?
I don't set out to put anything specific in anything I write, but I do think the things that influence me come out at least a little. If people do take anything away, I'd be very curious to know what they find!
Now for a very serious question that might be hard to answer. Many people may not know that your boyfriend is Robert Pattinson. Have you seen him since his last visit in September during your video chat? Are you still together? Because he seems to be getting cosy with a certain female co-star.
Oh Rob... I think he's having a very difficult time confronting his true feelings for me, which is why he's dating other girls and I'm married with 1.5 children. I mean, the man just can't commit, but what can I do? I have a thing for hobos.
TV show? Community.
Actor? Rob Pattinson. Obviously.
Actress? Kate Winslet.
Musician? Callaway Cass. That would be my husband, people.