Hi, Misfit Dahlia! Tell us about you and what you're working on!
Hey, Misfit Bot! Have you lost weight? No? Oh, good. Me neither. Well! I am a writer of primarily contemporary YA, who just turned 25 for the fifth time. In my dayjob, I'm an Assistant Editor of Mathematics, which requires shockingly little math knowledge. And I also copy edit and blog. So, I'm busy a lot, in the best possible ways. Right now, I'm working on another upper YA contemporary called Under the Lights, a companion to my debut novel, Behind the Scenes, which releases on June 24. I'm also nearing the end of my first draft of Last Will and Testament, which is contemporary NA.
Your YAMisfits nickname is The Bible Thumper. What'd you do to earn that one?
I went to religious Jewish schools my entire childhood, literally from nursery school through a year of seminary in Jerusalem, and I continued to study bible voluntarily in college, and still occasionally do. I am religiously observant, but the truth is, more than anything, I'm a huge sucker for analyzing the characters of biblical personalities. A lot of what you're taught in religious education is how perfect they are, and why even what look like flaws have explanations for why they're not. And I've never really been one to accept that. I'd rather examine them like actual people...and then turn them into characters for contemporary YA retellings.
How do you find your pep on a Monday, or any other day when writing is tough?
Music. Music is so key to my writing experience. When you find the right song(s) to associate with your WIP or a character, it can go such a long way toward getting you in the mood to work on that book. I can't hear "Young and Beautiful" by Lana del Rey without thinking about Under the Lights, or "Sober" by P!nk without itching to write Last Will and Testament.
What's your favorite writing tip?
Always write forward. It's so hard to finish when you're constantly stopping to revise and correct. Or, as my brilliant fellow Misfit Gina says, "Let the Suck Flow."
What bands do you go geeky for, both when writing or just relaxing?
Nirvana has been my favorite band since I was twelve, though admittedly it doesn't appear on many of my writing playlists. I have WIPs for each of my playlists, but if I'm just picking a band to listen to when I write, it's usually Mother Mother, Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless, or The Decemberists.
What's your ideal kind of casual Friday?
Hazelnut coffee, sweatpants and a T-shirt, and knowing exactly how I'm going to attack what I have to work on that day.
Who's your dream interview subject for YAMisfits?
E. Lockhart. I'm constantly floored by her range within contemporary YA (never mind that she also writes MG!) and there's so much I'd love to know about how she works within all those different modes, from a writing perspective but also with regards to branding and the publishing industry, because I feel like it's something few writers get to do with the seeming freedom she does.
What are some of the best books you've read recently, and which ones are you looking forward to?
I was totally late to Graceling by Kristin Cashore, but I finally read it about a month ago and loved it. Other five-star reads from the past few months were This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales and The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider. Also really enjoyed Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills and The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson.
Meanwhile, I've been lucky enough to get ARCs for some of my most highly anticipated 2014 titles, but because I blog for Barnes & Noble, I really have to organize my TBR accordingly, and they totally mock me from my shelves. I'm dying to finally get to read Pointe by Brandy Colbert, Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu, and I just finished a great, super-creepy spec-fic NA(!), called The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian. I'm also crazy looking forward to Something Real by Heather Demetrios, which is already out and supposedly excellent, but I'm holding out on buying it until I can buy it from her directly at the huge Books of Wonder signing happening as part of Teen Author Festival next month!
And, even though people get totally annoyed when I rec books that aren't out yet, I have to give shoutouts to a few upcoming ones that I've absolutely loved, in order of publication: Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas; Sekret by Lindsay Smith; The Summer I Wasn't Me by Jessica Verdi; Open Road Summer by Emery Lord; and The Fourth Wish by Lindsay Ribar.
OKAY I'M DONE NOW. REALLY. But if you have any questions for me, please leave them in the comments!