Q: What was your writing process like?
A: It was so different for each book. The first book, like I said, just poured out. I think part of that was because I didn’t know if it was going to be published or not. I had no idea. In fact, I wasn’t even planning on anyone ever really seeing it, so it was just sort of, “Oh my God, this is so fun, I can do anything I want.”
And then it sold, and I knew that there was going to be a second book, and that people were going to read the second book. That’s a lot of pressure. And for the third book, there was even more pressure, and so, I think what changed is that I ended up doing more and more drafts. I’m not the kind of writer who outlines ahead of time. I wish I could be that kind of writer, but I’m not. I think one of the reasons why my books are so unpredictable for readers is that even I don’t know what’s going to happen when I’m writing it. And usually, I’ll go back and just rewrite from page 1, even if I’ve written an entire book. I usually write three or four entire books before one actually is good enough to be fixed.
And so, my process is kind of haphazard. I just try things until they work. But eventually I get there, so everything works in the end.
Q: What can you say about your next book?
A: I can’t say anything about my next book, other than it’s definitely going to be a young adult novel. One of the reasons I can’t say anything is because I’m not a hundred percent sure which of my projects I’m working on is going to be published next. There’s no telling, so it could be anything!
Q: How has your stay been in the Philippines so far?
A: It’s been incredible, and I’ve been telling everyone that I don’t want to leave, which is a hundred, thousand percent true. The weather’s beautiful. I’m from Florida, originally, and it feels just like South Florida here. It’s beautiful. Back in Brooklyn , where I live now, I think it’s like 23 degrees or something like that.
I had Filipino food last night for the first time! Laing? And it was delicious. And I had rice with dilis, and that was also incredible. I could just be really really happy, just staying here with the beautiful weather, the amazing food, the really sweet people that I’m meeting, and the mangoes. That would be pretty awesome.
Q: How did you feel about your trip coinciding with Pope Francis’s trip?
A: I didn’t even know about that, until my aunt who was Catholic—I’m Jewish—and my aunt mentioned that it was happening. And I was like, “Oh, maybe we’ll hang out and have coffee.” But yeah, it was just a funny coincidence.
Q: So can we hope to see any Filipinos in your future books?
A: Yeah. I think so. Definitely. There are girls who I met this weekend with these unbelievable names. I won’t reveal them, because just in case I do name future characters, I want them to be the first to know. They were just really sweet, and I can definitely see myself slipping versions of them into future books.
Some quick questions!
Q: Noah or Mara?
Q: Horror or romance?
Q: Puppies or kittens?
A: I can’t choose. I love both! I love them both. I could never choose.
And that’s the end of it!
A photo of Michelle and I! Michelle’s holding a small gift I made her.
Have you read the Mara Dyer books? Tell me what you think in the comments!