Frequently Asked Questions

Where do you live?

Currently, I’m right next to Seattle, Washington. And actually, for three quarters of my life, I’ve lived in cities within 60 miles of Seattle. I also lived in Klamath Falls, Oregon and Portland, Oregon between the ages of four and thirteen. I regularly fanaticize about moving to Sedona, Arizona or Kona, Hawaii.

What’s your favorite animal?

Cheetahs and leopards and tigers and lions and ALL THE OTHER CATS! You can check out pictures of me holding (mostly unwilling) felines and find out how I was inspired by some of them here.

When is your next book coming out?

I have two collaborations on their way!

Violent Ends is coming out with Simon Pulse on September 1, 2015. This collaborative novel about a fictional school shooting was edited by Shaun David Hutchinson and written by 17 authors. My contribution is a chapter called “Hypothetical Time Travel” written from the point of view of the sister of the shooter.

The Way Back to You, which I co-wrote with Michelle Andreani, will be released by Harper Collins/Katherine Tegen Books on May 3, 2016. In this dual narrative about two grieving teens, Cloudy and Kyle, who take a road trip (along with a kitten) to see the recipients of their friend’s organs, I wrote all the “Kyle” chapters. 

Will you write a sequel to Freefall or Live Through This?

I probably won’t write from the viewpoint of Seth or Coley again, but I might continue one or both of their stories in some capacity in future books with other narrators. I kind of a have an idea percolating that might include at least one character from each of my other books.

Is Kenburn a real place I can visit?

Kenburn isn’t real, but I used parts of Kenmore, Washington and parts of Auburn, Washington (see what I did there?) as my inspiration for this fictional town where Freefall and Live Through This are set. You can watch this video to “visit” some of the main locations I wrote about in Freefall.

Which of your characters are like you?

I see myself most in Rosetta and Kendall from Freefall, Coley from Live Through This, Carah from Violent Ends, and Kyle from The Way Back to You. So, I might be a blend of the five of them? But if I have to pick just one who is the most like me, it would have to be Rosetta. I’m not an expert golfer (I barely have the patience to get through five holes), but our personalities are similar, and all of her most quotable dialogue came from things I’ve actually said.

Why are your endings so open? I want to know what happens next!

I read a quotation years back, attributed to author Richard Peck:

[A young adult novel] ends not with happily ever after, but at a new beginning, with the sense of a lot of life yet to be lived.

That really resonated with me and matches up with what I wanted to show in Freefall and Live Through This. On top of that, as a reader, the endings that impress me the most are the ones that show you that the character is on the right track and ends with a lot of hope. Having said that, The Way Back to You is much more wrapped up at the end than what I’ve written for past books. For that story and those characters, it felt right to carry the ending further.

Do you have playlists for your books?

I do! Find them here:

Did you always want to be a writer?

My best subjects in school were reading and writing, and my friends from when I was in middle school say they remember me talking about wanting to be an author when I grew up, so I guess so! I also considered becoming a reporter, an actor (so I could marry Christian Slater), an accountant, and a dental hygienist. You can read about my path to publication here.

Can you send me a copy of one of your books?

If you’re a book reviewer, my publishers may have galleys available prior to publication. Already-published works are not generally available to reviewers. As an author, I do not handle distribution of review copies--you will need to reach out to my publishers for more information.

How did you get published?

I took a bunch of writing classes for a combined total of two years, wrote and revised two complete novels, networked with other writers online and at conferences, agent queried the heck out of my first two manuscripts, and didn’t give up. You can read more about my publishing journey here.

What do you like to read?

Most of what I read these days is contemporary Young Adult fiction, but I also enjoy fiction for adults in many genres, including contemporary, historical, romance, classic literature, and fantasy. You can check out the timeline of my lifelong reading habits and preferences here.

Can you read my manuscript?

Unfortunately, no. I truly enjoy reading and helping shape unpublished manuscripts, but these days, I only have time to read for my established critique partners. If you want to find a critique partner, there are some great resources online. YA author Courtney Summers' writing advice page is a great place to start.