What is a trope/element that you’d NEVER take out of your most recent novel, and why?
One element I would never take out of my novel is friendship. Above all else, friendship is what gets my characters through their greatest struggles. Having someone to depend on, who loves you and cares about you, is something I want all of my characters to have—especially in a difficult and sometimes horrific futuristic world. Plus, friendship helps with the romantic elements of my most recent storyline. I believe any fictional (or real!) romantic relationship should be based on a loving, solid friendship, as is that of Tessa and Hunter.
Looking back, what do you wish you had done differently when you first started out?
Looking back, there are a ton of things that I wish I had done differently when I first started writing—the top of the list most likely being that I had planned out the plot and done more research on how to write an engaging and realistically laid-out book. When I first started my now-published YA dystopian novel, ‘The Day We Die,’ I wasn’t really planning on publishing, so I just wrote out a set of very basic and shallow characters, an action-based and unengaging plot, and a vague sense of how the novel would end. Because of my lack of planning and research, succeeding in publishing and creating a quality book was one hundred times harder than it should have been.
What would your most recent villain say in regards to this question:
“The end of the world would be caused by __________?”
What a great question! My most recent villain is in the rough draft of book two of my Branded trilogy and is a mysterious council who is head of a dystopian society. If they had to answer this question, the council would say that “The end of the world would be caused by lack of balance, truth, and honesty.” This council values trust and complete honesty very highly, and to the point where it becomes a problem. Their greatest fear is losing power and becoming ‘worse’ than her greatest enemy, the Civic (a futuristic civilization that culls off portions of its own population annually). The council strives to not only take over the Civic, but to be morally better than it, and because of this, they find it endlessly important to be honest and equal—even to the point where it becomes sinister and twisted.
What would your most recent hero/heroine say in regards to this question:
“The one who tries to stop me will ultimately ____________.”
Another awesome question! In my books, I don’t really have a hero or heroine—instead, I try to write a set of main characters who work together to help others or accomplish a goal. So, if my two main characters Hunter and Tessa had to answer this question, I would say that their answer would be that ‘The one who tries to stop us will not break us apart.’ These characters would do almost anything for each other, and no matter who tries to stop them, they won’t give up on each other.
What would your main character do on a typical, calm Saturday afternoon?
Oooh! On a typical Saturday afternoon, my main character, Tessa, would probably spend most of her day alone. She would wake up, eat a boring breakfast, and then go for a run around the neighbourhood. If the weather was nice enough, she might walk downtown to grab a snack at a café, or even just to get some fresh air and see other people going about their days. She’d spend a half-day shift working her job as a nursemaid caring for young children from noon until dinner time, and then head home to read and have a casual dinner. She would finish off the day by visiting the graveyard where her childhood friends were laid to rest before retiring to her bedroom to listen to some music and going to bed.
Where would you take your biggest fan on a “date” and what ONE question would you ask them?
I would take my biggest fan on a date to downtown Toronto to explore the city and spend a few hours living the city life that Tessa did for so much of her life. We could eat out at a café (yes, I’m obsessed with cafés) and walk along the beach or through a park while chatting about my book. And as for the question…it’s hard to pick just one! I would probably ask my fan why they love to read. I’ve always found it interesting to see the different points of view of different readers, and learning why someone reads helps me figure out how I can improve my writing so that they can enjoy my stories as much as possible.
In one sentence, make me visualize a gorgeous, breath-taking scene.
‘Spread out a hundred feet below her like a sea of never-ending beauty, millions of trees thriving between the two mountains were alight with clusters of emerald and fire-toned leaves, and from the clifftop, she could see them march on for miles.’
Why are you passionate about writing? Make me cry here….
I write for a lot of reasons, and there are many things that make me passionate about it. A lot of the time I’ll be going about my daily life and an idea starts to form in my head. It feels like sometimes there are these stories and characters in my mind that I want nothing more than to just scribble them all down on a page and share them with as many people as I can. That’s a big part of writing for me—as a writer, I can create any world I want to and make it real. I just love how stories don’t have to resemble real life; they can be as magical or crazy or improbable as I want them to. Depending on how I feel, writing lets me lay down the foundations for a world of my creation, be it dark or happy or anything in between. Writing about characters and places that I love makes me feel so fulfilled, as does constructing a perfect, well-rounded story that I can control from start to finish.
The other half of the reason I’m passionate about writing is because of readers. Writing is a way of influencing the world around me by sharing my ideas and messages through a creative art form that actually interests people. When I succeeded in publishing my novel, the rush of reviews and people who joined me in my story awed me—the fact that I, a random person in a world of billions, was able to transport someone into a whole other universe and make them feel things blows my mind. That’s why I’m passionate about writing—because it gives me the power to move people.
Give me a plug of something you’d love all readers to purchase and why it’s superb.
One thing that I think every reader needs to purchase is a set of headphones. To me, there’s almost nothing more relaxing than sitting down, plugging in a set of earbuds or giant, clunky headphones and listening to my favourite music while inhaling a story. I know that a lot of people find songs and stories impossible to experience at the same time, but for me, it’s the most magical feeling when two of the most moving art forms—music and books—come together to bring a story to life. Often, the perfect music is just the thing a book needs to feel complete and alive and emotional, and headphones of any kind let you sink into the music and block out the rest of the world better than anything else. So, readers: if you haven’t already, go grab a set of headphones and read with music!