MW: I honestly think it was the ELLEgirl audience who inspired me—they were such smart, funny girls and I got to the point where I wanted to write more for them.
I love writing for teenagers because I think they’re such an honest, open audience. They’ll tell you if they LOVE a story and they’ll call you out if something just sucks.
SJ: What is your advice to writers who want to break into YA fiction writing? Be up on trends? Channel your inner 17 year old?
SJ: A lot of people can only dream of making it to where you are at right now — working as a full-time writer, NYC no less. I’m there too, except in Seattle, where it rains. A lot. But, back to writing: As much as I love this gig, sometimes it can feel isolating. What kinds of things do you do to keep your work fresh and to beat feelings of isolation?
MW: I go to the gym, I make plans most nights of the week to see friends, I talk to my coffee shop lady, I shoot the breeze with the UPS guy when he comes. Basically, I take any chance for interaction I can get. Because you’re right—isolation can become a problem. It also seems to have caused a phone phobia—seriously, I hate answering my phone during the day!
SJ: Fashion is a big part of your VIOLET books. Curious: do you know a lot about fashion (the history of Chanel, the latest and greatest new designer to hit Milan)? Or maybe the question is, do you care about fashion — as in, do you save up your pennies to buy a designer dress or just head to Target? (And, just so you know, you’re talking to someone who wears Uggs and yoga pants most days. What can I say? I have a toddler.)
MW: As an editor at ELLEgirl, I interviewed a lot of fashion types and up-and-coming models. So I know a little bit, and I’ve gotten to go to a few fashion week shows. I also got to attend Fashion Week in Sao Paulo, Brazil once, which was a crazy enlightening experience. I keep up with fashion blogs, I enjoy knowing just the basics, but no, I can’t name season, designer and line in one glance.
SJ: I read something recently, I think it was from Anna Quindlen, about the importance of not confusing your life with your work. This resonated with me, since most of the time my work feels like my life: It’s what I think about a lot — way too much. It’s what I get excited about. It’s what I worry about. And on and on. I’m fortunate to love what I do, but big note to self: Work should not, and does not, define me. On that not, writing aside, what else is brewing in your life?
MW: Ooh, this is a blurry line for me, too. I’m recently engaged, though, so I’ve at least stopped working long enough to date someone for a while, right? I also have fantastic friends and a pretty healthy social calendar—I love a good beer garden. And I do yoga and run in the park. That’s pretty much it. Mostly, I write and work. (Because I really love it!)