Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into writing?
Sure! I live in Canada. I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on; starting to write (short stories, poems, atrociously long emails) was a natural extension of that. About a year into college, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. The result was a 50, 000 word first draft that is currently (and thankfully!) collecting dust under my bed somewhere. But I had such a blast writing it that I knew I wanted to write more novels. All These Lives was the first of those to be published.
Can you tell us a little about your novel All These Lives?
If it’s okay, I’m going to cheat a little bit and use the official blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Dani is convinced she has nine lives. As a child she twice walked away from situations where she should have died. But Dani’s twin, Jena, isn’t so lucky. She has cancer and might not even be able to keep her one life. Dani’s father is in denial. Her mother is trying to hold it together and prove everything’s normal. And Jena is wasting away. To cope, Dani sets out to rid herself of all her extra lives. Maybe they’ll be released into the universe and someone who wants to live more than she does will get one. Someone like Jena. But just when Dani finds herself at the breaking point, she’s faced with a startling realization. Maybe she doesn’t have nine lives after all. Maybe she really only ever had one.
Where did you get the idea for All These Lives?
It’s hard to remember how all the little parts came together, but I knew wanted to write a book about a girl who was sick and her family’s struggle to deal with that. I also knew I wanted to write about sisters. Those two things formed the foundation of the story. Dani’s belief that she had nine lives came about later.
All These Lives is a YA contempoary. Is the genre you prefer to write in? Do you also enjoy reading this genre?
Contemporary YA is my favorite genre to read, and it definitely comes most naturally to me in writing. I love stories about growing up, figuring out your place in the world, getting lost, and getting found, falling in love. Of course, all those things can and do happen in other genres, but I definitely have a soft spot for contemporary fiction.
The cover is beautiful. The water makes it dream like. Who designed the cover and did you have much say in the designing?
I’m glad you like it; I do too. The jacket was designed by Roberta Pressel. I was able to send my publisher a bunch of ideas (images I liked or thought might work) for the cover and I mentioned that I love underwater covers. A few months later, my editor emailed the cover for All These Lives, and I loved it right away.
Why should we read All These Lives in one sentence?
I’m a little biased, but it’s an emotional (but hopefully) funny read that you might enjoy if you like any of the following: sisters, nerdy boys, camping trips, or toothpaste commercials.
Thanks for the fun interview, Megan!