2-What inspired you to write your book?
In college, I fell in love with Shakespeare’s plays, and started studying the history of Shakespeare’s theatre company and the Globe playhouse. Around the same time, I got into writing fiction, and one day it hit me that I wanted to write about a character truly experiencing Shakespeare for the first time. And of course, time travel just makes everything better! Also, I was a drama kid in high school and college, and stage managed for a bunch of different community theatres. I worked backstage for so long that writing about that part of working in theatre was my first instinct.
3-From start to finish, about how long did “Saving Hamlet” take?
Whoosh! I wrote my first draft almost four years ago.
4-Any advice for writers block? Do you experience it?
I definitely experience it! Writer’s block is so tough. I wrote a piece about it
for HelloGiggles.com, which has most of my best advice. Reading a good book is usually my fool-proof technique. I just read The Handmaid’s Tale
by Margaret Atwood, which was amazing, and it got my brain all fired up to write again.
5- Have you always loved to write?
Yes! Not always always, but my love for writing started in middle school when I wrote a play/screenplay for my friends and I to perform. It was a soap opera called Everyone Loves Bernard, and all I remember from the plot was that a woman died dramatically from a bee sting. And one of the characters was named “Stanley,” and that name made it into Saving Hamlet too! My friends and I filmed it, playing all the different parts ourselves. After that I wrote more plays and screenplays, before starting to write fiction in college.
6- Do you have any other works? Are you working on any new works?
Saving Hamlet is my first book, but I’ve written quite a few nonfiction pieces for HelloGiggles and The Mary Sue. I’m currently working on my second book, Nothing Happened, which will come out from Disney Hyperion spring 2018. It’s a YA retelling of Shakespeare’s hilarious rom com, Much Ado About Nothing, set at summer camp! And with a lot of twists.
7- Do you have any favorite authors? If so have they inspired your work?
Shakespeare! Almost all my book ideas start with Shakespeare plays. But other than that old guy, I love Meg Cabot, David Clement-Davies, Sarah Dessen, Jasper Fforde, Laurie Halse Anderson, Eva Ibbotson, Melina Marchetta, Tamora Pierce, Terry Pratchett, Rick Riordan, Rainbow Rowell, Diana Wynn-Jones, Jane Yolen… I could go on and on. All of their books have inspired the kind of stories I want to tell.
8- What are your favorite genres to read/write?
Ooooh! I like magic realism, fantasy, and contemporary too. But magic and time travel make me pretty happy. And Shakespeare adaptations and retellings, or any work that incorporates or spins classic literature.
9- Do you have any all time favorite books?
Which Witch? by Eva Ibottson is my all time favorite book. Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness quartet too.
10- Do you have a favorite character in “Saving Hamlet”? One you had the most fun writing about?
That’s so hard! I’ve known them all for so long, it’s like picking a best friend among best friends. I guess I had the most fun writing Emma, Stanley, and Cooke. But I love Lulu too, even if her scenes aren’t all “fun” ones.
11- What do you do when you aren’t writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job for you?
Writing has been my full-time job this past year. But doing that, I found out that I don’t want to be a full time writer, which I wasn’t expecting! For me, it was pretty isolating. So I started substitute teaching and volunteering, and felt a lot happier. I’m pursuing more teaching opportunities now, and I’m directing a student production of Twelfth Night this coming school year, which I’m SO excited to do.
12- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read what you love to read, and write the stories that you find when you look in your heart.
13- What audience would you recommend your book to?
I would recommend Saving Hamlet for people who want to read about any of the following: theatre, time travel, gender-bending, best friendship, LGBTQ characters, creativity, and first kisses.
14- Describe “Saving Hamlet” in 5 or fewer words.
Teenager Struggles With Shakespeare. Literally.
If you would like to purchase “Saving Hamlet,” it can be found on Barnes and Noble’s website. (I tried to include a link but couldn’t figure out how.. 😦 )