Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
After I finished grad school, I was (sort of) looking for a job and basically housesitting for my parents while they traveled for work. I started reading. A lot. I mean, obsessively. I would go to the bookstore every week and load up. And the more I read the more I wanted the characters to do or say different things. I finally decided to write my own stories where I could make them do what I wanted.
Q. How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on a lot of things. If it's a straightforward YA book like Oh. My. Gods. and Forgive My Fins I write the first draft in anywhere from 4-8 weeks. Then I'll probably spend at least as much time editing it throughout the process. More complicated books, like my upcoming Medusa girls trilogy, tend to take me longer.
Q. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
When I'm on deadline (aka when my book is due in two months or less) I usually get up, check email quickly, and then head to the nearest cafe or coffee shop to write for a few hours. The closer I am to deadline, the longer I write each day.
Q. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
After I've written the opening of the book, maybe 15-30 pages, I often get stuck. To grease up the writing wheels I make character collages. I cut out pictures of people, places, and things and make a collage for each main character and several secondary characters in the book.
Q. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Ideas I get from everywhere: movies, TV, reading, Twitter, random thoughts while hanging out on the beach. Once I have the idea, I do my research mostly online. I'll start with Wikipedia, maybe, and then branch out into more detailed and specific resources.
Q. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I finished my first complete book (an unpublished historical romance) in late 2003 and I was 26 years old.
Q. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Watch TV, play Scrabble online, design websites, plan grand around-the-world trips, play with my dog, and think about writing.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
They are extremely supportive. My parents have always been super encouraging of anything creative (they're theatre people) and members of my family, cousins especially, have become some of most ardent fans.
Q. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I remember hearing authors say that characters "told them what to do" and I thought they were either insane or melodramatic. Now... I've been there. I've been writing a scene, totally expecting it to go one directly, and then suddenly BLAM out of nowhere something completely out of the blue happens. I never believed it would happen... and now I just hope it does because those are always the best twists.
Q. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have finished five books that are/will be published: Oh. My. Gods., Goddess Boot Camp, Forgive My Fins, Fins Are Forever, and the first Medusa girls book. I am currently contracted to write two more the next two Medusa girls books. And I have written five others. My favorite is always whichever one I'm working on next, because that's the one I'm most excited about.
Q. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes! I love getting fan mail. A lot of them ask about more books in the Oh. My. Gods. series (and sometimes about more books in the Forgive My Fins series, too). My favorites are the ones from teens who never really considered themselves readers but they stumbled upon one of mine and couldn't put it down. Those are the best.
Q. What do you think makes a good story?
Start with a character you love, put them in a high stakes situation with lots of conflicts, send them on a journey that makes them grow as a person, and give them a happy ending.
Q. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Everything. At various times I wanted to be a teacher, veterinarian, architect, astronaut. marine biologist, environmental biologist, actress, set designer, fashion designer, and lawyer. Writing never really entered my mind as a possible career until much later.
As Tera said before, she is the author of Oh.My.Gods., Goddess Boot Camp, Forgive My Fins, soon to be published, Fins Are Forever and the first book in her Medusa series.
You can find Tera at the following places: