Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into writing?
I always wanted to be a writer, but took the longest possible route to get here. I studied literature and writing in college and dreamed of moving to New York to become a writer, but couldn’t quite figure out how that was going to pay the bills. So instead I took a job at Goldman Sachs, which led me to business school to get an MBA in finance (can you see how off track I am here?!) and then to a few more years in investment banking. I later quit that career to be home with my kids, and it wasn’t until I was 37 that I finally wrote something.
My friend Elisabeth Wolfe and I wrote Click! The Girls Guide to Knowing What You Want and Making it Happen, a non-fiction guide to positive thinking for teenage girls, in 2007. Elisabeth practically dared me to write it with her, and that got me started finally doing what I love to do.
Can you tell us a little about your YA novel A Girl Named Digit?
A Girl Named Digit is the story of a teenage math genius who accidentally cracks the code of a terror network and has to be fake kidnapped for her own protection. While under the care of the FBI, she helps crack more codes to catch the bad guys and falls in love with the dreamiest possible young FBI agent. The story takes place is Los Angeles and New York, the two cities where I have spent most of my life. It’s suspenseful mystery-thriller-comedy combo, but it’s mostly about coming to terms with your gifts and talents rather than hiding from them to fit in.
You got the idea for Digit in 2007 while talking to a friend about a kidnapping in the news, from then how has the process been from writing to publishing?
The process has been slow but fun. I don’t think I actually started writing anything until 2009. I just started by writing a scene about a fake kidnapping, imagining the hysteria at home while Digit watched the whole thing on TV, safe and amused. It evolved from there and was great fun to write. The publishing process was pretty painless. I worked with a great editor who is fun, smart and experienced. The only hiccups were the many many cover design changes and many many title changes. But in the end I think we got it right.
What has the reaction to Digit been so far?
Really great. The reviews have been very positive and plentiful. Every time I read one I want to write the reviewer a thank you note. A couple of reviewers have commented that it made them think about themselves and their own gifts and how they might quit hiding from them. That makes me want to send flowers along with the thank you notes!
There will be a sequel to Digit where shegoes to college, what are your thoughts on the transition Digit will go though from high school to college? What more trouble can she get into?
Oh my, how much trouble she is getting into. Now that Digit’s in the bigger world, she’s faced with more opportunities to get into bigger trouble. As a freshman at MIT, she has an abundance of information at her fingertips and has now become a threat to national security. The sequel takes everything up a notch.
Why should we read A Girl Named Digit in one sentence?
Read it because it is fun, and life’s supposed to be fun. And if you see a little bit of yourself in Digit and learn a little something, then that’s just a bonus. Shoot, that was two sentences.