1. Which character of the book was the hardest to write about? And why?
Simon was both easiest and hardest to write. Easiest because I love him (Raf too, but I have a weak spot for the bad boys) and hardest because of what happens to him.
2. Which was the easiest? And why?
Ah, two-for-one answer above!
3. How much time did it take you to write Open Minds?
I’m never writing one book at a time, so this is a difficult question to answer. Overall, it was 2 years start to finish. But I also wrote two other novels in that time. I’m hoping to have Closed Hearts finished in about 8 months.
4. If you had to rename your book, what would it be called?
I almost changed the name to Zero, but decided that Open Minds spoke more to the theme of the book.
5. Where did you get your character's name? Who inspired you?
I usually decide the background of a character first, then troll the baby-naming boards for the just-perfect name. Kira is Irish, as is her family. Raf (Rafael) is Portuguese. Simon Zagan reaches back to biblical times: Simon means “listening” (he’s the only one who understands Kira) and Zagan is a fallen angel who can transform things (something he also does for Kira). I like names rich in meaning.
6. Where did you get the idea for Open Minds?
It started as a 1st paragraph contest online. I didn’t have a snappy first paragraph in any of my current stories, so I decided to make one up for a novel that wasn’t written. I toyed with some ideas, then the image of a girl who couldn’t read minds sitting in a classroom of mindreaders popped into my head. I entered the contest (and lost!) but the story grew from there.
7. How was it when you first published this book? Were you relieved, anxious...?
My first published novel was Life, Liberty, and Pursuit (a teen love story). I was terrified. Flat out living-in-terror, because people were going to READ my book, and there was KISSING for heaven’s sake. J I got over that pretty quickly. Publishing Open Minds was completely different. Elated is probably the best word.
8. If you could change something in your story, what would it be?
I think I would add in a bit more Raf-n-Kira, as that seems a popular request. Although, that is what second books are for … J
9. Do you have a favorite book of 2011 (published in 2011, and except your own)?
I adore Across the Universe by Beth Revis – just amazing! Can’t wait for the sequel out in January.
10. Can you tell us a sneak-peek for the sequel, Closed Hearts?
I give a quick paragraph peek at the end of Open Minds, so I won’t spoil that. But I will say that Closed Hearts has some new characters, the return of some old characters, and Kira is faced with choices even more difficult than in Open Minds. J
11. What's your favorite food?
Tea. Is that a food? If not, then chocolate.
12. Your favorite color?
Green. Always has been, ever since I was a tiny environmentalist.
13. What do you do when you are not writing, or reading?
Writing gives me the flexibility to be home with my kids after school, so I spend a lot of time on mom-type tasks, like helping with homework and taking my kids to fencing lessons. I love movies, and now I justify my movie habits by considering it research for my writing. J
14. Are you a coffee or tea person?
Tea, straight, no sugar, no cream. I kind of wish I liked coffee, because it smells amazing.
15. Finally, when will ARCs of Closed Hearts be available? (And can I get one, it's soooo awesome; I need more!!)
My target is to release Closed Hearts in May, with ARCs available 4-6 weeks prior to release. But if that’s going to happen, I need to get back to my keyboard! J And I will definitely put you on the list!