1. How did you get started writing? When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing when I was really small. Well, really, it started more as me2. What is your favourite genre to read?
telling stories. I used to sit at my mom's typewriter and tell her what I
thought I was writing - since I was only three or four and had no idea how to
type or write back then. When I got older and learned how to write my stories
down, I would always draw pictures to go with them and made up these epic tales.
I was about eleven when I first started writing longer, unillustrated stories.
And everything just went from there. As for deciding I wanted to be a writer - I
don't remember making that conscious decision at all. I remember telling myself
it was really unlikely to happen so I needed a backup career (my backup was actress - yes, I was a smart one). I was a senior in high school when I actually decided to major in writing at college and to try, no matter what happened. Shortly after that, The DUFF was signed my an agent and then a publisher. So I'm really, really happy I decided to take that risk and pursue a dream I knew might not ever happen.
Really, any type of young adult. I love both fantasy and contemporary. I love dystopian and sci-fi, too. Usually, if there are teenagers involved in the story, I'm hooked. I will say, though, that usually a romance makes me love it3 .Describe The DUFF in 3 words.
Sarcastic, sexy, real.
4. Pick a song (or two) that describes The DUFF.
5. What was/is your favourite character to write?
Oh, this is easy. I can just pull stuff from the book's soundtrack!
The song that most describes the book - centering on the relationship between Bianca and Wesley - is "I Can't Stay Away" by The Veronicas. That song is the reason I wrote the book. I heard it, and then I immediately started writing this story.
But if I'm allowed to pick another song, too, I'd go with "Everything is Alright" by Motion City Soundtrack. It's very much a Bianca song, from her weird habits to her constant saying "I'm all right" or "I'm fine" when she isn't.
Hands down, it has to be Wesley. His character really surprised me. When I first started writing, he was a very, very different character in my head More cruel and cold and calculating - think Sebastian at the beginning of Cruel Intentions. But the more I wrote, the more his character changed and became, yes a womanizer, but also a guy with issues and compassion for those he cares about6. Who was the first person to read The DUFF, and how did they help you with the writing process and your journey to getting published?
(even if you can't see it right away.) Also, some of the jokes he makes were so
fun to write. I miss writing him so, so much.
The very first person to read The DUFF was one of my beta readers - Hannah7. How is your writing process different now, than from when you were first writing The DUFF?
Wylie. She read it very quickly (blamed me for her getting very little sleep
that night) and sent it back with lots of comments. She loved the story and had
some great advice for how to make it better. She was the first person to tell me
to go for it and send this one to agents. We're still friends today.
It's actually not terribly different. I still prefer writing with no outline (I have used outlines before and it worked, but I do better when I wing it the wayI did with The DUFF). I still try to focus more on my characters than on the8. What projects are you working on now?
plot. The only major difference is that now I have more people to bounce my ideas off of. When writing The DUFF I only had a few friends and readers. Now I have a great critique group plus an agent and an editor who are GENIUSES. It's nice being able to run ideas past lots of people before I go in any drastic directions.
I'm in the middle of my last bit of edits on my second book, LUSTSTRUCK, which
will be out next year! I'm so excited!
9. What are some things you want readers to take away from The DUFF?
Just one thing, really. A sense that you are not alone. Every single person has
felt like a DUFF before, even if they aren't ugly or fat at all. Its more about
inferiority than appearance, and we all get that feeling sometimes. It's normal,
and we shouldn't let it get us down.
10. Do you have anything else to add? Anything we forgot?
Just one thing - thanks for having me here! Loved all of these questions!