What made you want to write this book?
I write young adult fiction which is aimed at interesting teenagers in reading, specifically, reading your books. This is a hard genre to master. I’ve done well with it. Vagrant, the first book in my series The Vagrant Chronicles, has won four awards, two Best Book Awards, one for Best Science Fiction and one for Best New Adult, one International Best Book award for Science Fiction and an Apple Award.
After Vagrant began garnering awards, my publisher Elizabeth Fortin-Hinds asked me to write a how-to book for Young Adult fiction. I said I would if she wrote it with me. Fortin-Hinds has the publishing credentials to back any book like this up as well as a wealth of knowledge to add.
Where do you get your storylines from?
I get my ideas from many different places. I have a writing partner for the Young Adult, my son, Gabe Thompson. He teaches middle school and gets ideas directly from the kids. I also draw on my experiences with my own six kids, my life experiences, and also books I’ve read. Stories pop into your head from the craziest places. Sometimes they originate with just the title. My BFF is an Alien started as a title and developed from there. Vagrant came from a book I read as a teen called Mila 18, written by Leon Uris. It was the story of the Warsaw Ghetto and how the Jews trapped in the ghetto used kids to run drugs, food and necessities through the sewer system to the outside world and from the outside world back to them. I open Vagrant with a scene like this. The Vagrants use kids to get much-needed medicine from doctors willing to help by running through the sewers under the big cities of the East Coast of the U.S.
Was this book easier to write than others?
I think writing non-fiction is easier. I wrote it fairy fast. I treated each chapter like a min-thesis. I researched it, gathered my facts and examples, and put them together. Elizabeth did some of the chapters and I did some. Non-fiction seems easier because it’s research and fact-based while fiction has to be created in your head. Dreaming up characters that are real and scenery, and building a fictional world is much harder.
Do you only write one genre?
I write Young Adult, Science fiction, Middle Grade and Adult Adventure Fiction. My newest book in Valley of Golden Mummies, an adult adventure novel based in Egypt. It has a mystical element, a romance, intrigue, a disease, and a bad-boy hero. Mostly, I try to concentrate on the Young Adult. Elizabeth and I are partnering on a New Adult fantasy called Annabelle and the Jackal. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by every kind of magical creature known to man. We’re making it a series called Beauties and their Beasties.
Do you have a particular setting where you write?
No particular setting. I jump around but I prefer to write about places I’ve lived or visited. It’s better to be familiar with your chosen location to create a more real environment for your characters. I’ve written several books in New Orleans including Voodoo Child, published by Tell-Tale Publishing and the newest book, the New Adult fantasy, Annabelle and the Jackal. Spellcast Waters, a Young Adult published by Tell-Tale Publishing, was a dystopian paranormal/fantasy written about British Columbia’s capital city, Vancouver. I lived there and in Storm Bay where the story began, an isolated location on the Sunshine coast of British Columbia, Canada. Vagrant takes place beneath what is New York today. I’ve lived there and visited.
Describe what made you want to be a writer.
The one shining moment was when I was helping my middle son write a long project for his history class. I enjoyed it so much, the next time I read a book, I thought, I could do this. So, I did. I wrote the biggest romance novel ever created. It was never published, but because of that book, I became a reporter and really learned how to write. Since I wrote that first book, I think I’ve written almost every day. It’s therapy, it’s fun and satisfying. There is nothing like making up a world, peopling it with characters you like, and playing with them.