~How did you get the idea for BN?
Well, it all started when I discovered ice dancing while watching it during the 2010 Winter Olympics. Meryl Davis and Charlie White were instantly my favorite and I started thinking about how much it would take to get to the Olympics. I also had come up with the idea of a broken sister-sister relationship (which slowly turned into a brother-sister relationship) around the same time, and, as I started developing the plot of that novel, the ice dancing part eventually fused with it.
~Share a few of your favorite ice dancing videos.
Meryl Davis and Charlie White's Phantom of the Opera Free Dance - http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Meryl and Charlie's Indian Original Dance - http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Maia and Alex Shibutani (a brother-sister couple : )))))'s Waltz Free Dance - http://www.youtube.com/watch?
This dance by Maia and Alex (not sure what it's officially called, but it looks like a Free Dance) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?
This beautiful Free Dance by Maia and Alex - http://www.youtube.com/watch?
~What was the hardest part of editing? Easiest part?
The hardest part of the editing was actually editing it. XD There was one point where I found out that thoughts shouldn't be in italics and single quotes ('), and I had to go through and take all of the quotes out. UGH. I got to listen to awesome music while I did it, though. : D
~Which of your characters is your favorite?
AHH. That is such a hard question to answer because I love them ALL. They each have something amazing about them that I absolutely love. I love Nikki's resilience. I love Natalie's humor. I love Alec's strength. I love Dylan's everything. I love Bennett's pick-up lines – he can't pull them off, but it's so endearing. I love them all, even the more minor characters like Aunt Trina and Sam.
~Which of your characters is most like you?
Nikki and Natalie are most like me. I'm quiet like Nikki – but not quite as quiet – and bubbly like Natalie – but not quite as bubbly. They were both the easiest to write because I could always just ask myself, "What would I do in this situation?" and then write that.
~Which authors would you say have most influenced your writing?
I think I've been most influenced by a quite a few authors such as Robert Whitlow, Wayne Thomas Batson, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, R.J. Palacio, Jeanne Birdsall,Suzanne Collins, and Louisa May Alcott – all of whom write for what I call "an audience outside of their intended audience," meaning that they may write for an intended audience, but their books can be enjoyed by people outside of that audience. I enjoyed books like Wonder, Curse of the Spider King, and The Penderwicks because they were full of good writing. Just because they were written for twelve-year-olds doesn't mean that they have to be dumbed-down and at a twelve-year-old's reading level. And that's what I want my writing to be like. Becoming Nikki may be written for teens between the ages of 12-18, but that doesn't mean that a 20-year-old like myself can't enjoy it. *dismounts soapbox*
~Has any event in your life influenced your writing? Which one(s)?
Great question! I think there are at least two main events that have influenced my writing and those are (1) the American Girl Magazine contest I've talked about a few times and (2) when my family moved to a different state about five years ago. I wouldn't have gotten started really writing if it hadn't been for that contest, and I wouldn't have stuck to it if I hadn't gotten a "second wind" after moving and not having any friends for a few months.
~Was there any part of the book that was really hard to write?
Hmm... I think the hardest part to write was conveying how much Nikki had changed by the end (Becoming Nikki – heh...heh...) and why she'd changed at all. Also, I couldn't re-read the accident scene for a while after I wrote it because it was so intense. (Of course, now I'm going through the same thing with a crucial scene in the very beginning of my new novel, The Art of Letting Go.)
~If you could put a character from a different book into your novel, who would it be and why?Huh. I don't know! I think I'd want to put Edward Ferrars from Sense and Sensibility in there because Natalie would enjoy talking to him so much. : D
Thanks for interviewing me!!!
And thanks very much for appearing on my blog, Ashley!
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