Have you always wanted to be an author?
Yes. I always loved writing stories. I used to read Judy Blume when I was young and I thought I’d love to be able to write like that.
Where did you get the idea for Egghead?
I was at Jerry Spinelli’s writing workshop in 2002. I’d published lots of short stories and poems but I’d never tried writing a whole novel before. I took his advice and just started to write about “an emotionally charged memory.” I chose to write about seeing a boy in my grade 7 class getting bullied by other kids. I didn’t know if I should stand up for him or not. Would having a girl defend him make things worse? Would I get targeted? I wrote how it felt and what I saw. Eventually, that start became Egghead.
Who inspired your characters? Are they real?
Katie is inspired by memories and imagination. I do like drawing and I had a cat called Gizmo, and some of her is based on the good friends I had in junior high – (for example, my friend’s dad had cancer.) Most of the stuff in the book is me taking those ideas and expanding on them. My boyfriend in junior high hung out with a different group of friends than mine, so some of the Devan stuff is inspired by that. We are married now, so he was very helpful as I tried to get Devan's voice right. We laugh about how differently we interpreted the same situation in junior high. Perspective is everything, isn't it? :)
Where did you get the ideas for Will’s poems?
I wrote the whole novel in alternating point of view (inspired by Wendelin Van Draanen’s book Flipped) but it felt like something was missing. I wanted to show how the target felt. At the time, I was reading a lot of free verse novels and thought, “Hey, I’d love to try that!” So I did. I actually rewrote the whole novel in Will’s voice using poems only. The poems were a great way to get right at the heart of how Will felt. I think he would have used his ants as metaphors for his life and experiences. I liked this new version, but still felt there was “something” missing. I couldn’t decide which version worked best and I was about to give up on the whole thing when another writer suggested that I combine the two versions.
Are you making an Egghead sequel?
A lot of people ask this. Maybe I will write a sequel one day. Readers tell me they want to hear more from Shane’s point of view.
What are you working on now?
I just finished editing Wild Geese and now I’m brainstorming the third book in the series (Jack’s adventures) and researching for another book set in Ireland a thousand years before Greener Grass.