Q: With Lu closing out the Track series this October, readers will have gotten to hear stories from all four runners: Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu. Why was it important to you to tell a story from each character’s point of view? While writing in their voices, did any of the characters surprise you?
It was important to hear each character’s story (and voice) to better represent the polylithic world of youth. When we think “young person,” we often run down a checklist in our minds outlining what a “young person” is. Irresponsible. Immature. Hyper hormonal. Entitled. Funny. Spoiled. And on and on. But hearing multiple voices from multiple perspectives, hopefully explodes that and says, young people are far too many things to list. And furthermore, they are far more expansive than checked boxes.
Q: Sunny loves to dance; Ghost likes world records and sunflower seeds; Patina enjoys being an older sister and running relays; Lu is known for his distinctive style and speed. Do you have any surprising talents or hobbies? Did you run track growing up?
I ran in high school. But in terms of surprising talents…hmmm. I love to cook. I can crochet. I don’t know. I have lots of hobbies and interests but I’m not sure I’d call them “talents.”
Q: What advice would you give to kids that you wish someone had shared with you at that age? How about advice for young writers?
It’s okay to not know. But it’s definitely not okay to not want to know. Same for writers.
Q: How many ideas for books or characters do you have rolling around in your head at one time? Do you have one character that you’ve written that’s most memorable or personal to you?
Probably four or five books rolling around my mind at any given time. I’m always thinking of new ways to challenge myself, new ways to spin a tale. I have so much I want to say, and so many elements of the human experience I want to explore through story. My favorite character I’ve written—Genie from As Brave As You. By far.