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On Writing

 

+ When did you start writing?

I used to write stories about my little sister, Aviva. They were called “Life with The Squirt,” “The Squirt Ate My Homework,” and “Adventures of SuperSquirt.” That one was about a little sister who could fly. Basically Magic in Manhattan is its updated version.

+ Where do you get your ideas?

My ideas come from everyday feelings and experiences. For example, Bras & Broomsticks is about a girl who finds out that her younger sister is a witch. This was based on my little sister Aviva. (Unfortunately, not the witchcraft part.) What inspired the book is the always complicated love, jealousy, and pride involved in a sister relationship. Ever since Aviva was born and took over my role as the center of my family, I’ve been writing stories about her.

+ Where did you get the idea for Whatever After?

As a kid, I had two favorite kinds of bedtime stories. The first were about a little girl named Sarah who lived in Montreal, just like I did, but magic stuff happened to her, like she had a magic umbrella and could fly, or a magic fork that could turn vegetables into chocolate. The second were fractured fairy tales. Since I was not a fan of vegetables, when my mom told me the story of the Princess and the Pea, the queen put M&Ms under the girl’s mattress to see if she was a true princess. When I became a writer I wondered: What if I combined the two? What if a regular girl magically fell into a fairy tale and fractured it?

+ Do you have to wait to be inspired to write?

The thing about being a professional author — when it's no longer a hobby, but your job — is that you can't wait for inspiration. I have to stop myself from hitting the snooze button every morning, and force myself to sit at my desk and get to work. I have to see it as a job, like any other job, or I'd never get any work done!

+ How long does it take to write a book?

It takes me about 3 to 4 months to write a first draft. Then there's lots of editing, of course. The entire process from starting the book to seeing it in print takes about 2 years.

+ Where do you actually write?

I do most of my writing in my apartment, at my desk on the computer. Sometimes, I take my laptop all the way over to the couch. I don't like to write outside of the apartment because I'm easily distracted (Nice coat! Cute dog! There's a bus! Why is my screen still blank?)