I loved to read, paint, make collages, comic books, and 3D sculpture. I had gone to a crafts fair during the time when Peter Max was getting famous and Yellow Submarine had come out and there were lots of sculpture that combined porcelain and fabrics, and crazy creatures. I just loved them and made a bunch of my own, life-sized dolls with papier-mâché faces and velvet bodies. When I wasn’t creating creatures I was reading, I read all the time.
What books influenced you most when you were growing up?
When you were a child did you ever have a moment when you decided that you were going to be a writer when you grew up?
I actually was positive I would become an artist. I earned a scholarship to Pratt University in high school and was THRILLED. I majored in Graphic Design and found that I couldn’t stand creating commercial art. So I eventually left school and started a career as a lighting tech in NYC’s off-Broadway theater.
Was your first book accepted immediately? or did you experience a number of rejections?
My first book was one that I wrote and illustrated myself, and although it did not get published I got the best rejections, handwritten notes from Simon and Shuster and HarperCollins. I was thrilled. The book I did get published was a YA novel called PERK; THE STORY OF A TEENAGER WITH BULIMIA. (That was the publisher’s title.) Originally Chronicle was interested, but then I got a call from a small house called Gurze Books that specialized in eating disorders. They told me that they knew how to get my book to the readers that needed it most, so I went with them. At that time, PERK was the first fictional book on eating disorders, so it had a great response from High school and middle school kids. I got lots of letters from kids that wanted to tell me how much the book had helped them.
Do you focus on fiction or nonfiction? Which do you prefer? Do you find one easier than the other?
It depends on what I’m writing, if I’m writing fiction I’ll tell you non fiction is easier, and vice versa.
Do you do other types of writing - for example, educational, nonfiction, magazine work?
For the past six years I’ve been the editor of a nationally distributed electronic fitness magazine called “The Better Letter” which has since turned into a wellness blog called “the Better Blog.” It’s where a good part of my income comes from and it helps me keep my non-fiction chops nice and sharp. But I really love writing fiction.