What is 'Not Every Girl' series about?
The series begins with a girl, Olivia, who feels trapped by society’s expectations for her. Early on, she disguises herself as a male squire to go on a mission with the knights. When she is unmasked, the prince offers to escort her home. They wind up having their own adventure. As feelings develop between them, Olivia questions whether they have a future since their lives are so different. The second book, Unexpected Rewards, explores this dilemma and thrusts Olivia into palace life where conspiracies and pettiness abound. The third book, which I am currently working on, ties together both their first adventure and the royal intrigue unfolding around them and determines the future of their relationship.
What do you feel as a writer and reader, makes a strong female character?
I think a strong female character is feisty, resilient and doesn’t spend her time waiting to be rescued by the hero. While she has to be strong, she still must have enough self-doubt to resonate as authentic. Heroines who never questions their actions or their motives seem a bit too good to be true for me.
Why write for teens?
My teenage years were when my love for reading blossomed. Compared to now, there were very few stories available back then. As I got older, I read just about every genre out there and, while I have a soft spot for the classics, YA really captured my imagination. The themes are timeless and the characters are vividly portrayed. When I decided to write myself, this was the audience I wanted to speak to.
If Olivia, you're lead character had to team up with three other YA characters to save the world, who would they be and why?
I love this question! There are so many amazing YA characters it was hard to narrow them down, but here are my three:
1. Bitterblue from Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. Bitterblue is not an experienced fighter like Olivia, but she is clever and resilient. She would balance out Olivia’s rashness.
2. Shahrzad from The Wrath and the Dawn series by Renee Ahdien. Shahrzad is tough and incredibly brave. She would be a worthy counterpart to Olivia’s battle skills.
3. Finnick O’Dair from The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. Finnick is cunning and street smart. He would recognize any pitfalls before Olivia.
Words have power, do you have any advice for teens who want to write YA?
First, read a lot, especially in the YA genre so you will know what publishers are looking for in a work. Second, don’t forget that publishing is a business, so make sure you learn about it while you are writing. It will help you immensely when it comes time to submit your work. Finally, be persistent and believe in your work, don’t give up on your dream.
What are some much read books?
My taste in books is all over the place. Some of my favorites over the years are The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie. In terms of YA, some of my favorites are Bitterblue by Kristin Cahsore, Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman and, of course, The Harry Potter Series.
What was your favorite T.V. show from last year?
I am actually not a very big TV watcher, except for sports (baseball, football and hockey). Mostly, in my free time I would prefer to read or write.