HOW DO YOU OVERCOME WRITER'S BLOCK?
Writer’s block is just a fancy term for getting stuck. I don’t believe in either glamourizing it or attaching shame to it. They say plumbers don’t get plumber’s block, but I’m sure every plumber has had at least one moment when he can’t figure out how to solve a particularly tricky… block. So I do what anyone does when they’re stuck. I re-evaluate, I brainstorm, I try to look at the issue in a different way. If I’m feeling burned out, I walk away for a day (although that sounds a lot easier than it is). If I’m on a strict deadline, I brute-force my way through it and settle for good-enough.
DO YOU PREFER EBOOKS, PAPERBACKS OR HARDCOVER?
I made the switch to ebooks back in 2009 and haven’t looked back. I love being able to change the formatting to suit my tastes (no more mass-market paperbacks with itty-bitty type!), never needing to worry about running out of reading material, and being able to back up my library in multiple places. And I love being able to buy books instantly, without waiting a week for an Amazon shipment or driving half an hour to the bookstore only to find out the book I want isn’t in stock – although my bank account doesn’t love it so much!
WHEN YOU GO TO SEE A MOVIE, DO YOU TRY TO READ THE BOOK FIRST?
If I’m interested in the story, then I’ll want to read the book because it’s likely to have more to it – movies usually only have room to put in the most essential scenes. And if I’m not interested in the story, why would I want to see the movie? The exception is if it’s a movie recommended by a friend, or if the book is in a genre I know I don’t like. (Or if I don’t know it was based on a book!) But really, the question is all but moot, given how rare it is for me to go see a movie in the first place. I tend to prefer the serial storytelling format of good TV shows.
DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?
Full-time belly-rubber to a very large dog. I get paid in kisses. It’s a pretty good deal.
WHAT ARE YOUR PET PEEVES?
Anti-intellectualism in any form, but especially in stories intended for kids or teens. Is this really what we want to be teaching the next generation – that thinking makes you a nerd and a snob, and that the quest for knowledge is pointless at best and dangerous at worst? I see these attitudes all the time in the books I read, and each time I have to force myself not to throw my Kindle against the wall. If we want a better world, we need to encourage thought, curiosity, and intellectual exploration, not belittle or demonize them.
SLEEP IN OR GET UP EARLY?
I sleep late, but I don’t go to bed until 3am or so. That way I get to take advantage of my brain’s best hours – namely, the hours when the rest of the world is fast asleep.
IF YOU GAVE ONE OF YOUR CHARACTERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES, WHAT WOULD THEY SAY?
“Let me out, I’m trapped in a book with a sadistic author!”
WHERE DID YOUR TOMORROW SPRING FROM? IN OTHER WORDS, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE CRAZY WORLD?
I wanted to combine the feeling of contemporary American culture with the feeling of life under real-world totalitarian regimes. In a lot of ways, it looks like contemporary YA – until you realize that the characters are casually discussing the torture and execution of dissidents.
DID YOU DO ANY SPECIFIC OR UNUSUAL RESEARCH FOR THIS BOOK?
I read a lot of memoirs about life under totalitarian regimes past and present. I didn’t realize just how many until I had a conversation with my husband that began something like: “I thought I had read Resistance before, until I realized I was confusing it with Outwitting the Gestapo, which I had been confusing with Inside the Gestapo…”
GIVE YOUR BOOK THE BECHDEL TEST
1. IT HAS TO HAVE AT LEAST TWO (NAMED) WOMEN IN IT
2. WHO TALK TO EACH OTHER
3. ABOUT SOMETHING BESIDES A MAN
My book easily passes the Bechdel test. However, it does not have two named male characters who talk to each other about something besides a woman.
WHAT SORT OF BODY COUNT ARE WE TALKING HERE?
We’re still talking about the first book, right? Only three. Now, by the time we get to the third book, the bodies are piling up by the dozens.
DO YOU WANT YOUR TOMORROW TO MAKE IT BIG, AS IN JK ROWLINGS-BIG? WHY OR WHY NOT?
I certainly wouldn’t complain! But I don’t think it’s likely, and I’m fine with that. I’m writing for a niche audience; I knew that when I started the book. I don’t think there are that many readers out there looking for philosophical dystopias that feel like contemporary YA and deal more with ordinary life than extraordinary heroics – I know because I’m one of them, and if people were clamoring for these books then surely I would be able to find more of them to read! But who knows, the world may surprise me.
QUOTE A CHARACTER, ANY CHARACTER.
“Living by your principles will always be the harder path. But you have to do it anyway. You have to do what’s right no matter how hard it gets, or one day you’ll find out you’ve become somebody you can’t live with.” – Raleigh Dalcourt (the torturer referenced in the title of The Torturer’s Daughter)