What inspired the plot for your novel, Zoey & The Moment of Zen?
The idea for Zoey's story came to me during a post-breakup trip to Mexico where I landed in the hospital with food poisoning. I'm not a huge fan of the heat and the sun and I was really sick—so most of that trip was pretty miserable. I just started thinking about a character being miserable in Mexico—but for an entirely different reason. Of course, Zoey's tropical adventures ended up being much more interesting than mine!
Are you and Zoey similar or completely opposite from one another?
While there are a few similarities—like our mutual love of coffee—I think that we are quite different. Unlike Zoey, I (thankfully) wasn't forced to deal with tragic events at a young age and I'm definitely not as impulsive as her.
At what age did you realize writing was something you wanted to pursue?
I've been writing stories since I was a child but I was in my mid-twenties when I decided to actually follow through on a project and write a novel from beginning to end.
Describe your writing ritual.
I'm always trying to fit in a bit of writing time whenever I can, like during lunch breaks or extra-long commutes, so I don't really have a ritual. But on days when I'm writing from home, I like to have the TV tuned to The Food Network or HGTV. Comfy PJs or yoga pants are a must. I tend to be more productive later in the day so, if I'm lucky, Abbie the Cat is fast asleep on something other than my keyboard or my notes and I can write in peace for a few hours.
What are your writing goals for the rest of 2013? How about your writing goals for 2014?
I can't believe the year is almost over! I'm going to spend the rest of 2013 blog-touring with Zoey & the Moment of Zen and, hopefully, I'll finish the first draft of my third novel in 2014. I've also been thinking about writing a Christmas story—so maybe I'll work on that during the holidays.
What is your favorite thing to munch on while writing?
Surprisingly, I don't really snack a lot when I write. (I make up for it between writing sessions, though!) But Peanut M&Ms are one of my weaknesses, so I will definitely reach for those if I have some in the house.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
I'm currently reading Afterwife by Polly Williams. I'm really enjoy enjoying it because, even though the subject matter is sad—a recently-deceased mother looking over her husband and young son—there are still plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and it's been an incredibly enjoyable read so far.
If Zoey & The Moment of Zen were a movie, who would you like to see play the main characters?
Love this question! I've changed my mind a few times but I think I've found the perfect cast: Rachelle Lefevre as Zoey, Jason Ritter as Shane and Jake Johnson as Nate.
What can your fans expect next?
Book #3 is going to have a main character with a quarter-life crisis, a hot chef and an evil co-worker. That's all I can say right now because I'm still in the outlining stage. Oh, and I'm researching Ibiza for a character's backstory. I'm having a lot of fun with that!
Last year, I asked you to give advice to aspiring authors. This year, I'm going to ask you a different question. What advice do you have for people who have written their novels and think it's not good enough? What about for the people who believe they are ready to publish their novel?
Oh, that's a tough question because I'm one of those people who never think their novel is good enough. But at some point you have to let your manuscript go and send it out to a few beta-readers to get feedback. And when you've done everything you can to polish your MS, you just have to believe in yourself and your writing and trust that your book will find its audience.
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