When did you know you wanted to be a writer, and when did you actually start writing?
I can't pinpoint an exact moment, but I was probably 13 or so.
I don't think I thought it was a realistic goal for me though, 'cos you have to, you know, write a book and stuff. And I've always been pretty lazy. Still, I managed to write a bit when I was maybe 14 or 15. It was nothing major - just a few pages on a couple of different ideas. Looking back, I think the ideas were pretty good and the writing was OK. Maybe I'll revisit those stories someday...
What inspired you to start writing?
Christopher Pike. I devoured every C.P. book I could get my hands on. The first thing I ever wrote was a shameless attempt to write a story worthy of Master Pike. It wasn't.
Where do you get your best ideas from?
The news, overheard snippets of conversation, listening to music. Ideas can spring from anywhere, usually when you least expect it.
I seem to get a lot more ideas since I finished Entangled. Not sure why. I've got them all written down somewhere - hopefully some of
them will turn into books one day.
How has being an editor helped or hindered your writing or the process of getting published?
It's definitely helped my writing. Or rather, my editing. I spend hours each days looking at text, working out ways to make it better, so hopefully I'm pretty well equipped to do the same with my own writing. Everyone needs an editor though - sometimes you're so close to the text that you can't see the bloomin' obvious (i.e. this bit is rubbish/pointless/dull). Editors rock!
As for getting published, I'd say that being an editor has helped too. I've been lucky enough to get advice from lovely publishing bods and to know how the process works. Sometimes it's felt like I've had access to too much information! There are no short cuts though:
I still had to write the dreaded covering letter and synopsis to submit to agents, and adhere to each of their ever so slightly different submission guidelines, and endure long queues at the post office and all that fun stuff.
What's your best remedy for writer's block?
I just sit down at the computer and write. It's the only thing that works. If I'm stuck on a story, with no clue what's going to happen next, I'm never going to figure it out by doing anything else. It usually works itself out.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Me? Give advice? Well, OK... you asked for it. Here are my
1. Write. Sounds obvious, doesn't it? You're never going to be a very good writer unless you WRITE. And do it as often as possible. Do as I say, not as I do!
2. Read. Anything and everything in your chosen genre and beyond.
I read A LOT of YA. Maybe 90% of the books I read are YA, and that's the way I like it. I know what I like and what I don't. I know the kind of books I want to write, and the kind I like to read, but don't want to write.
3. Talk to other writers. Seriously, they're the only ones who understand! If you don't know any writers in real life, get onto the interwebs... read and comment on blogs, get on Twitter, get involved. (N.B. Don't spend more time doing this than actually writing. The internet can suck up hours of your valuable writing time like nothing else on earth. Except maybe a gigantic, specialized writing-time-sucking-vacuum-cleaner.)
Frequently/seldomly asked questions. I didn't even make any of them up, I promise you.