I’m a writer and lover of YA novels. I’m married and spend most of my day hanging out with my little girl. I teach online English Comp classes, full-time, from home. (I have the best jobs ever!) I like to sing, but can’t. I like warm, sunny days. I love the ocean and empty beaches. I have a weird thing with Sharpie markers . . . they smell *so* good!
Went to college, got a master’s, yada yada . . . I would *much* rather be a princess.
What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?
This is my standard answer, and I realize that it sounds so stalker-ish, but I have to say Sarah Dessen. She’s the first YA writer I encountered (saw the person before the books) and she was the one who made me realize that being a writer was something I could do. I fell in love with her stories and started to explore other YA novels, and felt that I had the right voice for the genre, so I went for it!
Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?
My upcoming release is called One Wish. It’s about a girl, Wrenn, who (more than anything else in the world) wants to be popular. The book is about her journey and the decisions she makes (the good, the bad, and the ugly). There’s a little bit of romance and a whole lot of drama (literally and figuratively), but in the end I think Wrenn is just like you and me in that she’s trying to figure it all out as she goes along.
Do you plot out in advance, or just start writing and see where things go from there?
Usually when I get an idea for a story I’ll sit down and start brainstorming. I do set up an outline, but I never stick to it. The novel clearly evolves as I’m writing. I use the outline for guidance, but I never get too attached.
Many authors have told me their characters talk to them, and sometimes even have different ideas of where the story should go than the author. Do you hear your characters?
Yes! I may be in complete control when the story begins, but my characters always take over at some point. I like when that happens, though. It gives me a break: I just sit back and try to tell their stories the best way I know how. I joke about hearing voices, but I really do hear my characters. They often show up after midnight , when I’m trying to go to sleep, and carry on complete conversations inside my head. I don’t mind too much, though, because they give me some pretty good ideas.
Who is your favorite character (of your own)?
My favorite characters right now are named Jaden and Parker. No one has met them yet because they’re in the story I’m currently working on. There’s some typical bad boy/good girl drama, but the underlying message is that you can never judge a person based solely on what you hear.
What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?
Honestly? I have little to no free time. My family, work, and writing take up most of my waking hours. I do try to get my five-minute Sudoku in every day—even if they do take longer than five minutes to finish. I enjoy watching movies, and I play the piano . . . I just wish I had more time to practice!
If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?
In my dreams, I would have loved to be a dancer or an artist. While I do have some artistic abilities, I’m probably the clumsiest person I know, so the dancing thing probably wouldn’t work out for me.
Even so, I’m highly non-traditional in that I fully believe you should do what you love. I love to teach (from home) and I love to write, so my career choices are perfect. I don’t like answering phones, I don’t like cubicles, I don’t get along with copy machines very well, I hate pantyhose and skirts. . . . I’m clearly not cut out for 9-5 life or the *real* world, so I made my own way. I don’t think my parents believe that writing and online teaching are legitimate careers yet!
Where can readers find you online?
Everywhere! I can be found hanging out with the 2009 Debs (www.feastofawesome.com), MySpace (www.myspace.com/leighbrescia), Livejournal (http://leighbrescia.livejournal.com/), and on FaceBook. I also have a website in the works: www.leighbrescia.com.
Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?
I’d usually ask the typical: Team Edward or Team Jacob (lol) . . . but I’d like to know what kinds of stories you enjoy reading the most (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Historical, Coming of Age, Romance, etc.).