1. What inspired you to start writing, and what was your inspiration for Origin?
I have wanted to write since I was four years old, so when Origin was published it was so amazing to see a lifelong dream come true! The book was inspired by an image that came into my mind one day as I was taking a walk--a girl trapped by glass in the middle of the jungle. I was so intrigued by her that I ran home and wrote the first chapter of what would become Origin that very day.
2. In your opinion, what is the best thing about being an author?
Everything! But okay, I'll narrow it down a bit... I get to wake up every day and do what I love most--create stories. I couldn't ask for anything more fulfilling and exciting than that! Hearing from readers who have been touched by my stories gives me the energy and inspiration to keep writing, so I cannot thank them enough!
3. And the worst thing?
It's really tough when I'm writing and then find myself stuck. Writer's block sucks! But even though every time it happens it feels like my career is at an end, I always find a way through. It helps to know that every writer, whether they're published or not, struggles with this, and that we can all overcome it and find our stories.
4. Which one of your characters can you most relate to, and in what way?
I could really relate to Pia's curiosity and love for nature. I love the outdoors, exploring, hiking, and learning everything I can about the natural world. With Pia, I was able to explore a place I'd never been--the Amazon jungle--and it was through her wonder for the beauty of the rainforest that I felt myself really connecting with her.
5. You know we're all pumped up to read Vitro, right?! Gorgeous cover! Can you tell us a little about it and what your inspiration for it was?
Isn't that cover fantastic!? Penguin is genius!! Vitro follows Sophie, who's just arrived on a remote tropical island where her estranged mother is working on a mysterious and chilling project for Corpus (the company behind Little Cam in Origin). Once on the island, Sophie discovers a girl her mother has created who looks exactly like Sophie... but with a terrible twist. I love stories about mistaken identity, and that is one of the themes at the heart of Vitro.
6. It looks like many Goodreads users are saying that Vitro looks like a spin-off from Origin. Is that true?
Vitro is a companion novel to Origin; you won't find Pia or Eio in it, but you will find one familiar character (I won't give away whom!). But yes, it is set in the same universe, and focuses on another Corpus project.
7. Is there a specific place you like to write? If so, where?
I usually write in my office, surrounded by all my favorite books, but I also love to take it outdoors when I can--as long as I can stay focused! The fewer distractions, the better.
8. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Sometimes we writers can become a bit reclusive, tucked away with our books and stories all the day long. One thing I'd have told my teen writer self is to get out and engage more in the outside world. The more you live, the more stories you'll have to tell. Try new things, meet new people, face old fears--it's like Thoreau said, how can you write when you haven't lived? Be constantly curious and explore the world through both books and through experiences!
That's it! Thanks so much to Jessica for taking the time to answering my questions!