When did you first start writing and was this your first complete novel you’d ever written?
I started writing about ten years ago. My first manuscript was a didactic rhyming picture book. I was such a cliche that I have to laugh about it. I loved writing, though, and once I met some other kid lit writers, I was hooked. They are such a crazy, supportive, cohesive group. When I first started submitting, the picture book market was hot. But then the bottom fell out. I knew I’d have to try something else, and since then, I’ve written everything from kids’ poetry to chapter book manuscripts. I got some magazine credits and did a couple of Chicken Soup for the Soul book essays, but MATCH was my first book sale.
The first novel I ever wrote was a middle grade which now serves as my practice novel and doorstop. But it did show me that I could write something longer than 8,000 words. I probably never would have attempted a young adult novel if I hadn’t done that middle grade (awful as it is).
Why did you decide to write a novel based in a high school setting?
I wanted to write for teens, so high school seemed the natural environment. A lot has changed since I was in high school, but some things about it are timeless, so I felt I could write with some authenticity there. It’s also a thread that ties most teens together. They may have different home lives, but they all can connect when it comes to the drama of high school.
Which character is most like you in A Match Made in High School? Did you plan it that way?
I have to say Fiona. I’m not sure it was something I planned, but I was trying to stick to “write what you know,” so I put a lot of myself into her. And even though I wasn’t nearly as outspoken as she is, my big mouth and joke-cracking did bite me in the butt a lot, growing up. My critical, sarcastic comments sometimes hurt people I cared about and often made me a jerk. So having Fiona realize that she’d been a key player in the disintegration of her relationships was definitely a reflection of parts of my life. And hopefully, so is her redemption.
What’s next for you writing-wise?
Another young adult novel, for sure. I’m also tweaking a middle grade paranormal manuscript that I hope to get out on submission soon. Lots of fun!
Anything else you want to tell your readers?
Yes: Thank you. I’m grateful to every single person who has read my book, even if you didn’t like it.
Thanks so much Kristin for stopping by. A Match Made in High School is available in stores now.