Describe your new book.
My latest novel is a YA paranormal called Vampire Academy. It follows the story of 17-year-old Rose, a half-vampire girl who's training to be a bodyguard for her best friend a full-blooded vampire princess named Lissa. Lissa's race is stalked by evil vampires, but both girls soon discover that other forces within their own school may be just as deadly.
Introduce one other author/illustrator you think people should read, and suggest a good book by him/her.
One of my all-time favorite authors is Tamora Pierce. She technically writes young adult fantasy, but I love her books even at 30! She imagines really fantastic worlds, but the best thing about her novels is the way she writes characters. They're all unique and wonderful, and she describes them so that you feel like you really know them and just can't wait to see what happens next.
Describe your most memorable teacher.
My most memorable teacher was my 9th grade English teacher, Mr. Bailey. He was one of those teachers everyone loved because he was so easygoing and made everything he taught fun. He encouraged my writing, but he actually thought I was destined to be a movie director because I was always filming video projects for class.
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
The last great book actually came to me because a friend of mine wrote it! There are lots of reasons I think being an author is the best job in the world, but making friends with other writers and having them give you free books is up in the top 5. This particular book is Greywalker by Kat Richardson. It's about a private investigator who can see ghosts. It's fantastic.
Share an interesting experience you've had with one of your readers.
It actually happened this week. Someone wrote me, telling me she really liked Vampire Academy. That in itself is great I get so excited reading those emails! But she asked a couple questions, and when I had time a day or so later, I wrote her back. It turned out that the day I got back to her was her birthday! And she told me that hearing from me made it the best birthday ever. I can't even begin to explain how that made me feel, but that has to be one of the sweetest and most wonderful letters I've ever received!
Tell us about your pets.
I have two cats, Morganna and Katie. Morganna is black and white and hates everyone in the world except for me! I thought she'd be happier with another cat, so I got her a kitten, and I don't think she's ever forgiven me for it. Katie, meanwhile, loves everybody. She's a tiny calico and runs to the door whenever anyone comes in.
Name the best Simpsons episode of all time, and explain why it's the best.
Ah, definitely the episode where Homer goes on tour with Lollapalooza. I'm totally showing my age here, but I was a teenager when Lollapalooza got going and was such a phenomenon. My hometown of Kalamazoo even had their own Kalapalooza. That episode cracks me up every time. It's a trip down memory lane and pokes fun at some of the silliest things from that event.
What's your favorite holiday and why?
Halloween, hands down. I throw a party every year, and I LOVE coming up with costume ideas. I try something different every year Medusa and the Queen of Spades have been a couple of my favorites. Naturally, I'm already thinking about this year's ideas!