Q: Grew up in?
A: Syosset, New York, where I spent the entire time jumping rope and wishing I could move someplace more exciting. Then, moved to Miami at twelve and wished I was back in Syosset!
Q: Childhood ambition?
A: To go to Hollywood and be "discovered" . . . doing what I do not know.
Q: Favorite sports team?
A: University of Miami Hurricanes rule!
Q: Book to take on a desert island?
A: Emeril's Guide to Cooking Fish and Coconut (I'm sure he'll have one out soon). Or Cormier's The Chocolate War (which is not a food title)
Q: Favorite city?
A: Key West, Florida and New York City. I also really like the radio stations in Seattle, but not the traffic.
Q: Favorite CD?
A: Too many to choose . . . I'm a music nut who almost became an opera singer. Dizzy Up the Girl (Goo-Goo Dolls), La Divina (arias sung by Maria Callas), original cast album of Rent . . . oh, and the soundtrack from Shrek, which my kids and I all agree upon.
Q: Where do you write?
A: A room in my house that used to be the kids' nursery. We haven't taken down the "Cow Jumped Over the Moon" balloon valances and wallpaper border, so it's very calming. Also, coffee bars across South Miami-Dade county, where I go to avoid "distractions" i.e., the Internet and Spider Solitaire programs, which some evil genius implanted in my computer in a sinister plot to keep me from writing.
Q: Qualities you most admire?
A: I enjoy people who aren't afraid to say what they mean. It makes life so much easier!
Q: What do you do to relax?
A: Walk the dog in the morning before anyone is up.
Q: What classic/contemporary author would you most like to have dinner with?
A: Oscar Wilde . . . I recently reread The Picture of Dorian Gray as an adult (It had been my favorite book as a teenager), and appreciated Wilde's irony on several new levels.
Q: What classic/contemporary fictional character would you most like to date?
A: Um, not Dorian Gray. If I were a teen, I'd want to date Tom in my book, Breathing Underwater because I actually sort of based him upon my husband (only with much cooler hair).
Q: Place you were/are happiest?
A: Wherever my notebook is.
Q: Most embarrassing moment?
A: All of junior high school, especially P.E. It's why I write YA.
Q: What adjectives might you use to describe your latest book?
A: "Brilliant" would be good. Or "important." Seriously, I have a skewed view of my own writing—I think Nothing to Lose is sort of fun because it takes place at a carnival (I love carnivals) but it is also very dark and involves a murder. Ask my editor—she'd come up with a better answer. That's why one needs editors.
Q: Life motto?
A: Any experience that isn't fun is probably something I will at least use in my writing someday.