When did CINDERELLA IS DEAD come out?
CINDERELLA IS DEAD was published by Bloomsbury, July 7th, 2020. It is a YA fantasy.
Why did you write CINDERELLA IS DEAD?
I wrote CINDERELLA IS DEAD because I loved fairy tales as a kid, but I rarely got to see anyone who looked like me in those stories. I wanted to retell the Cinderella story in a way that made it more accessible to readers who haven't had an equal opportunity to see themselves reflected.
There are a lot of fairy tales out there. Why did you choose to retell Cinderella?
I chose the Cinderella story because it is hyper visible. It's a story most of us know even if we've never actually read it. I wanted to take this story and make it more accessible, while also challenging some its problematic themes. I hope that after reading CINDERELLA IS DEAD, readers are never able to look at the earlier versions of the Cinderella story in the same way.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I always wanted to be a story teller. For a long time I thought I would pursue a career in music and studied opera in college but ultimately I kept coming back YA fiction as the medium for telling stories.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
There are so many! At the top of my list are Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Octavia Butler, Stephen King, Nic Stone, Anne Rice, Dhonielle Clayton, Leigh Bardugo, Madeline Miller, Julian Winters, Alix E. Harrow, Tracy Deonn, Bethany C. Morrow, Ronni Davis, Nandi Taylor, Jordan Ifueko, Ijeoma Oluo, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Karen Strong, Kwame Mbalia, Kayla Ancrum, Alechia Dow...I TOLD YOU THIS LIST WOULD BE LONG.
What are some things you enjoy outside of writing?
I love musical theater. My favorite shows are Wicked, Sweeney Todd, Hamilton, Annie, and Shrek the Musical. I also love scary movies and spend way too much time watching films and shows on SHUDDER.com.
Are you available for school visits?
Absolutely! (COVID has obviously made this a non-starter for the time being but as soon as it's safe to travel I would LOVE to visit your classrooms. Please see my contact page to get in touch with my team if you'd like to arrange a virtual visit.)
How do you deal with writer's block?
Sometimes, when you get 'stuck' it means there's an issue with the story itself. If I'm having a hard time drafting, I try to step back and look at the bigger picture. Is there is an issue with plot or pacing? Am I in the right POV? Am I in the right character's head? Often, this helps me pinpoint what the issue is and I can move forward.
Other times, if I'm feeling stuck, it means I need a break. I need to step away from the work and refill my creative well. I do that by listening to good music, reading books in the same genre as the one I'm working on, and watching great movies. Engaging with solid creative work inspires me and can help get me out of a rut.
I want to be a writer, what can I do to make that happen?
Everyone's path to publishing is different. The best piece of advice I can offer is to practice your craft. Write when you can, work on your storytelling. Get other eyes on your work. some craft books I really enjoy are Save The Cat Writes A Novel and Wonderbook.
Publishing really is a marathon and not a sprint. Consistency is key. Be persistent. Keep working, keep pushing.