I came across you because of your fabulous blog post about male characters and YA. Can you elaborate on that a bit here? How has it been writing from a male point of view, and why do you think you've chosen it? Or did it choose you? Did you just start hearing the voice?
Writing from a female point of view honestly never occurred to me. My favorite books have always been from male points of view. I actually just recently started reading a lot of female POV (and I've loved it!) and I'm planning my first female POV manuscript for this fall.
Writing boys always made for sense to me, and I've noticed the only people who are surprised by it are people who don't know me; I don't think my friends would have expected anything else!
I think there need to be more books from male POVs, because they've become somewhat scarce lately. But what I really think we need are more books with three-dimensional male characters, regardless of the POV character.
BREAK reminds me a little of SPEAK, WINTERGIRLS, and other work by Laurie Halse Anderson. Is she an influence of yours? What are your other influences?
I love you entirely for saying that. I am a huge, huge Laurie Halse Anderson fan--until recently, she was one of the few female-centric writers I read--and I think she's definitely a big influence for me. I would love to have a career like hers, and whenever I feel a little lost, I'll admit to doing a little bit of "What would LHA do?"
Some of my other big influences are Garret Freymann-Weyr, Chuck Palahniuk, Chris Lynch, John Green, Ned Vizzini, Adam Rapp, and John Irving.
What's your process like as a writer, and how has it been affected by your recent enrollment at Brown?
I write first drafts very very quickly--usually in under a week--and then spend a few weeks revising after that. So my general process is just to get the words out as quickly as possible, before I start second-guessing myself.
I'm not at Brown anymore--I transferred to University of Maryland--but being in college hasn't affected my writing too strongly. I have more free time than I did in high school, after all.
Okay, extra dish question: Is it true that you revised BREAK in a night after receiving a request from an agent for a full manuscript? What's the scoop on how you got an agent?
Heehee, yes. It's not as bad at it sounds; I had two drafts of the book finished but was halfway through draft 3 when I started querying. I knew I could finish in a few hours if I got a full request, and I did.
The short answer for how I got an agent is that I went through it the traditional way. I queried for a year and FINALLY got an offer. The long answer is I'm on my third agent now, and I'm doing a series of posts on my blog about it if you want the full story!