I get asked a lot what inspired me to write YA books and basically I wrote the books I wish I could have had at that age to let me know I wasn’t alone in what I was dealing with and feeling. I was lucky to have had some great authors like Paula Danziger, Norma Klein, Ann M. Martin and others (I read a ton of series books) who wrote books dealing with things like feeling isolated and anxious that I could relate to. I remember coming home from school (these memories are particularly strong in my preteen years) and diving into my favorite YA books to escape what I had dealt with at school with frenemies. From fourth grade through eighth grade I looked to books and music to escape when I was dealing with frenemies and trying to fit in and find my tribe. I always thought it would be amazing to write a book that made someone else feel less alone in what they were going through like my favorite authors did for me.
The themes in my work are self-esteem, friendships, crushes and first loves, fitting in, finding your tribe, and appreciating your own uniqueness. These were all things I struggled with as a preteen and teen, but it wasn’t until I was an adult and writing in the genre that I realized that appreciating one’s own uniqueness is so important. How I used to pour through fashion magazines wanting to be anyone but myself! It wasn’t until later that I appreciated the things that made me different. Honestly, it’s not easy for me to go back and revisit those memories, but it’s part of my writing process. I channel all those awkward, isolated, cringe-y feelings into my writing now.
When I was growing up, I was looking for authenticity in the books I read. To me there’s no point in writing if I’m not going to be authentic, which means some days I get emotionally wiped out writing. But if something I wrote helps a reader, well, it’s all worth it. I have a lot of older readers as well and I get messages from them saying my books have helped them heal from things they went through in their early years. A lot of adult readers have told me how reading my books have helped them deal with leftover scars from their preteen and teen years. It’s amazing to be part of someone’s healing process.
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Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and Dating the It Guy.