Well, it took longer than you might think, because I stopped in the middle and wrote another manuscript that I was very inspired about. So, if you took out the time that I spent on that other book, it probably took me about a year to draft the book, but I spent at least another year revising it. I made a lot of changes to the book, thanks to input from my editor!
How did you get the idea for your book?
I was writing a short story for a writing class I signed up for. In this story, a girl was a part of a small tribe of people on a world similar to earth, but with magic. She was given the job of being a bee keeper, but no one understood why, because all the bees had disappeared. I was thinking a lot about Colony Collapse Disorder, the situation where many bees just disappear over the winter, abandoning their hives. Then I was playing with that idea in my head and wondered what if fairies were like bees and all the fairies suddenly disappeared? And that little kernel of a question started the book. The very first scene in my head was of Sierra finding all the little fairies dead.
How many books have you written?
FAIRY KEEPER was my first published book, but my fifth completed manuscript. Believe me, you don't want to see the earliest ones. The MG book I wrote in the middle of FAIRY KEEPER is called THE WORST VILLAIN EVER, but it's not published. Yet. I hope one day it will be. :) My second book came out from Curiosity Quills in 2016, Book 2 in the World of Aluvia series, called MER-CHARMER. Book Three, DRAGON REDEEMER, released May 23, 2017! My latest book is called SHORTCUTS, which is a light science fiction upper MG/lower YA that is quite different than the World of Aluvia series. I also have a light-hearted upper middle grade story set in modern day Paris, with a bit of magic thrown in. My agent is working on finding a home for that one. Two other stories are in the works, too.
Can you help me write my book?
I love helping kids write, but unfortunately, I don't have as much time as I want. If I come do a writing workshop at your school, I will get to work with you, but I'm afraid I can't do online pen-pal-style help. You know who would be a great resource? Your teacher, your librarian or a family member! Sometimes you could even look into your local chapter of SCBWI. That's the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators, of which I am a member. Almost every city has a group of writers who are happy to work with others and help them get better. They usually welcome young writers, and I have found being a part of a writing group to be very helpful.
Will you come to my school/library/bookstore?
I'd love to! But unless you are in the local area, I probably can't come visit right away. But I do offer Skype visits!
What are your favorite books?
Oh, goodness! There are so many! I read mostly middle grade and young adult books, because I love them. A few of my favorite middle grade books include The Night Gardener, by Jonathan Auxier, The Giver, by the ever-wonderful Lois Lowry, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer, Feathers by Jacqeline Woodson, and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. And anything by Madeline L'Engle.
Favorite YA includes anything by Maggie Stiefvater, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Feed by M.T. Anderson, Dante and Aristotle Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by the irreplaceable Douglas Adams, and Missing May by Cynthia Rylant. Also, I love Mercedes Lackey and Anne McCaffrey, who are Queens of Fantasy. They were the reason I fell in love with this genre.
Picture books: Patricia Polacco, Maurice Sendack and David Wiesner are all geniuses. Other favorite picture book authors include Lindsay Leslie, Charlotte Sullivan Wild, Lupe Ruiz-Flores, Carolyn Dee Flores, and Catherine Stier.
I'm also on Goodreads and I'd love to to visit with you there about books, too!
How do you write? What is your process?
Well, I wish I could say I write every day for a set time. It seems like many of the authors I admire do that. But I have two busy daughters and a husband and lots of things going on. So I tend to write in spurts. So I might write long hours for several days in a row, not write for a few days, and then write a bunch more. It goes rather in cycles. I have a hard time writing when I'm editing and doing other tasks, too. I like my mind to be fully filled with the world I'm creating.
What is your favorite place you've visited?
We have been fortunate enough to travel to many places, but my favorite trip has been our visit to Scotland. I loved Edinburgh in a way I have not felt anywhere else! I've included a few photos below.
You can read more about my writing in interviews and videos linked here. I also have linked articles and guest posts I've written.