Describe your new book.
At the moment, I am out promoting Homecoming, the second novel in the ghostgirl series, which has just been released, and finishing up Lovesick, which will be out next year. Aside from that, I'm putting the finishing touches on the Homecoming audiobook which, like the first ghostgirl audio, is also narrated by Parker Posey with music by Vince Clarke.
Homecoming is about love and the sacrifices we sometimes have to make to get it, or to keep it. The story picks up shortly after the "ghostgirl" character, Charlotte Usher, and her Dead Ed classmates 'crossover' from Hawthorne High to The Other Side only to find that the afterlife is not at all what they expected. I won't give away any more than that!
Describe your most memorable teacher.
Ms. Miden. She was my librarian in kindergarten. We didn't have much money when I was growing up and I would check out Where the Wild Things Are almost every week. At the end of the year, Ms. Miden gave me the book as a gift. I took it home that summer and, of course, I had all the words memorized, so I covered them with masking tape and made up my own stories to the pictures. Not bad having Maurice Sendak as your very own illustrator. Up until then I was dead-set on pumping gas for a living at my grandfather's station, but Ms. Miden helped me figure out that storytelling was something to be considered. I will never forget her for that.
Share an interesting experience you've had with one of your readers.
For one reader in particular, in Chicago: I signed a book for a guy, and he asked me to ask his girlfriend to prom — that was pretty cool.
For several of my readers at the Homecoming launch party at the New York Public Library: We were lucky enough to devour a six-foot, sculpted ghostgirl cake that was presented to us by the cast of Ace of Cakes, the TV show on the Food Network. It will be featured on the season finale in October. I can't wait to see how they actually made such a masterpiece! It was an amazing night for all of us.
If you could pick anyone to illustrate one of your books, who would it be and why?
I really like Julie Morstad and would love to do a picture book with her.
What fictional character would you like to be your friend, and why?
The Bionic Woman, for obvious reasons.
What is your favorite literary first line?
"At first there was mud, and the sound of breathing." —Paul Bowles, Next To Nothing
Why do you write books for kids?
I don't really write for kids specifically. I write stories that entertain me and that I hope readers will relate to as well. The ghostgirl books are set in high school because that is an incredibly fertile atmosphere for exploring emotions and experiences in a very direct way. It's the place where we first discover ourselves socially, and I think the things we learn there — good and bad — stay with us throughout our lives.
If you could be someone else, who would that be, and why?
Hitchcock, because he was both a technical innovator and a master storyteller — a true auteur with mass appeal.
Whom would you wish to write your biography?
David Sedaris with a Mark Ryden portrait of me for the cover.
If you could have lunch with a person of your choosing — living or dead, fictitious or real — who would it be?
Gilda Radner, and then we'd join Edward Gorey for dessert.
What kids' book do you think would make a great movie — that isn't one already?
Make up your own question and answer it.
Q: What is the strangest thing, stranger than fiction, that has ever happened to you?
A: When I lived in the East Village, NYC, my then boyfriend, now husband, and I were watching television on the couch in our sweatpants. My artist neighbor, who lived in the loft above me, knocked on the door and asked if she could bring some friends down to watch the Perot debate on TV since she didn't have one. Of course, I agreed. Moments later, there was another knock at the door, and in walked my neighbor with two friends. One of them was John F. Kennedy, Jr.! He had a six pack of Rolling Rock under his arm, offered us each one, and put the rest in the fridge — my fridge. He laid on the floor, one hand propping up his head, and spent the evening talking politics with us. It was one of the most surreal, unforgettable moments of my life and I was in sweatpants!