Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Chicago in 1970. My father was Israeli and my mom was American. I have an older sister who I used to worship and copy everything she did. I loved to dance when I was a kid, and took ballet and jazz (ballet was definitely my first love). I also loved to play tennis, and still love to play although I don’t get much time for it. I was always laughing and making jokes as a kid, and I’m still a total jokester. I get people to laugh by saying ridiculous and outrageous things to shock them. If you hear people laughing, I’m usually not far away. I currently live in a suburb of Chicago with my family and dogs, and I’m a total hockey mom and Girl Scout leader.
What got you started writing? What brought you to YA?
I started writing adult novels, but I had trouble selling them. When I started my first young adult novel, it just “clicked” and the words flew onto the page. Once I started writing YA, I couldn’t stop. I knew I’d found my “voice” in YA and I’m here to stay.
Tell us about your most recent/ upcoming release?
I have a comedy series about a girl with an attitude from Chicago. The first one is How to Ruin a Summer Vacation, the second is How to Ruin my Teenage Life, and the third one is coming out this October – How to Ruin Your Boyfriend’s Reputation. There’s always romances in my book, so it’s about how my character deals with having a boyfriend who is very different from her. She makes every mistake possible, and I love that about her. Writing her is so much fun, and I hope my fans love it, too!
I have a vague idea what’s going to happen, but I have no clue how it’s going to happen. I don’t plot or outline (I’ve tried it and it doesn’t work for me), so I just write Chapter 1…and see what happens from there. I surprise myself a lot, because I don’t have an outline telling me what’s going to happen next.
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?
Really? Authors tell you that? I’d be afraid someone would put me away if I said that I actually heard my characters. I have to say I’m pretty happy they don’t talk to me, but when I’m writing and I think something is going to happen, sometimes another thought gets in my head of where my character would go/do next and I change what I thought would happen. I wanted Leaving Paradise to end differently than it did, but I thought doing what I wanted wasn’t realistic at that point in the story. I am so happy to have the sequel come out, so I can write the ending I always wanted!
Who is your favorite character (of your own)?
I like all of my characters for different reasons. I love Alex and Brittany in Perfect Chemistry for taking care of their siblings the best way they know how. I love Amy in the How to Ruin series for entertaining me (she’s hilarious!) and Avi for being the tough guy who can change because he’s fallen in love. And I love Maggie and Caleb in Leaving Paradise for falling in love with each other despite the odds against them. Their love made both of them stronger people, and I love that.
What hobbies do you have when you're not writing?
I love to knit (it’s very relaxing), spend time with my kids, and watch reality television (I hate to admit it, but I’m a reality show junkie. I’d rather write fiction than watch it.).
If you had not become a writer what would you have done instead?
I have absolutely no clue. My mind is a blank on this one.
Where can readers find you online?
Your turn. What question do you have for readers of Want My YA?
I would love to know if teens want to read serious books or comedies.
Thanks so much Simone for providing such great interview responses for me. :) It was great having you here. And also a big thanks to the readers who stopped by today. Make sure you leave a comment answering Simone's question. (and please vote in my poll, tell me what you want me to review next)