It was a long process. The plot evolved over time. I’m the type of writer that likes to write without an outline, so I had no idea where the overall conflict would lead until I was already halfway through the book. Which meant I had a lot of revising to do later on. The plot continued to change after I signed with my agent, and then again when the book sold to Little, Brown. I can remember sitting by myself in the conference room where I worked at the time and closing my eyes and just thinking for over a half hour about how to make the twisty turny plot work. It finally came to me! But my brain hurt afterward.
2. I’m big on fan casting, and I think that Altered would make a great movie or TV show. Who would you cast to play Anna and Sam? What about Connor?
Anna has been a hard one to cast. I like Britt Robertson (recently starred in The Secret Circle). At times, she looks like Anna a lot, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her act in a way that reminded me of Anna.
I really like Henry Cavill for Sam, though he’d have to be a lot younger. So someone like Henry Cavill!
And Alexander Skarsgard would make the perfect Connor.
3. Anna spends a lot of time doubting everything she knows, did you encounter any self doubts while writing Altered?
YES. MAJORLY. I still doubt myself. Back then, I worried Altered wasn’t The One, just like the dozen projects before it were not The One. I worried it made no sense. I worried it wasn’t exciting enough. I worried the writing itself sucked. I still worry about writing, and plot and characters, though now I know that it’s okay to write a first draft that is not perfect right from the start. Rarely does anyone write a perfect first draft. You have an editor for a reason — she or he knows what they’re doing. They’ll help you see your strengths and weaknesses, and make your book better.
4. If you could go back in time, is there anything about the writing process or story itself that you would alter (teehee)?
Good question! I will probably always want to change something about a book once it’s complete. Because
a writer never feels like their job is totally done. With Altered, I’d probably write maybe one or two more scenes between Sam and Anna, just to add to their romance. Not to say I dislike the way their romance is currently portrayed! Because I do, and I know a lot of readers appreciated the fact that the romance didn’t take over the book. Still, I like kissy scenes!
5. Say you were going to be thrown into a lab in someone’s basement. What would be the best publishing memory that you would absolutely hate to lose?
Receiving the email from Joanna Volpe (now my agent!) where she said she finished Altered late into the night and loved it and wanted to chat. It didn’t feel real. It was the single most important day in my writing life.
6. And finally, which 2013 YA debut would you recommend? (Alternatively, which upcoming YA debut are you most looking forward to?)
Oh gosh, I don’t know that I’ve read a 2013 debut yet! I have been a terrible reader lately. I am currently in the middle of about ten books. Books that I started reading in January, February, March! (I am embarrassed to admit this.)
As for what I’m looking forward to — I’ve heard great things about Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Tucholke. I was told the boy in the novel, River, is swoon-worthy. And I like my swoony boys.