Is HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL based on your life?
Mostly no, though I had two things in common with Star when I was 10: I was super naive and I was bad at turning in homework. Oh, and I did have a mullet for a while. My grandma, like Gloria, said it was a layered cut. I’ve also been on food stamps and I like writing poems. I guess I have more in common with Star than I thought!
Will there be a sequel to HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL?
Maybe! IF there is, it won’t be a traditional sequel. It’ll be more like a companion novel, with a different main character.
Do you do school/library visits?
Mostly not, but ask anyway. It’s a case-by-case basis.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been seriously writing since 2005, but I wrote lots of silly stories for funsies before then.
What made you want to become a writer?
Back in 2005, I’d finally binge-read the entire Harry Potter series, which, at that point, was only up to Book 5. I figured I should read some other stuff while I waited for the rest of the books to come out, so I made a goal to finish 100 books in 2005. I only finished a little over 60.
HOWEVER, I discovered something amazing that year: I liked reading children’s books more than adult books. They reminded me of the kinds of stories I was always telling in my head. I figured I’d try writing down my stories, and once I started, I knew that it was what I wanted to do.
How did HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL end up getting published?
I’ll give you the details in timeline fashion:
- I got the idea for HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL
- I was accepted to Vermont College’s Writing for Children and Young Adults program
- I wrote roughly 40 pages of prose for HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL
- I finished the first and second drafts of HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL while attending Vermont College
- I finished the third draft of HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL while attending Vermont College
- I met Sara Crowe at Vermont College during Alumni Weekend. Rita Williams-Garcia introduced us, and Sara asked me to submit my novel to her
- After sending Sara a (slightly edited) manuscript of HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL, she offered me representation
- I rewrote HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL after receiving some editorial notes from submission (If you’re keeping count, this is draft four)
- I rewrote HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL again (draft five) after Tamar Brazis from Amulet expressed interest
- The book sold to Amulet! YAY (I wrote one more draft after signing my contract. The final book is draft six.)
Are you writing another book?
Yeah! Or, you know, working on it! The book that was PAPER MOON is currently shelved and that’s okay. Sometimes you have to shelve books that just aren’t working. I still love that book a lot but I’ll either revise it later or take it apart to feed to my other novels. I have written a different book (Secret!) and am working on a few others.
I read HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL and liked it! What should I read next?
What a great question! Here are some great books that you’d probably love if you also love my book:
BECOMING NAOMI LEÓN by Pam Muñoz Ryan
SEE YOU IN THE COSMOS by Jack Cheng
WAITING FOR NORMAL by Leslie Connor
PIECING ME TOGETHER by Renée Watson
SHUG by Jenny Han
GHOST by Jason Reynolds (especially if Eddie is your favorite character)
KINDA LIKE BROTHERS by Coe Booth
ZERO TOLERANCE by Claudia Mills
SPIRIT’S KEY by Edith Cohn
ROGUE by Lyn Miller-Lachmann