Yep. I finally finished transcribing it. I had been doing one question every couple days, but then our power went kaphooey when we had a huge thunderstorm, and I lost it all. So… I just spent the last hour and half doing it all now that finals are over.

What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you as an author?
Umm…Let’s see, Oh gosh, that’s hard. Okay, alright. I do remember. So I was at a conference and they were talking about how you sell your book and how you market your book. There was an author named Dan Greenburg and I was taking notes because my book was just about to come out. He told us what you do is you go to a bookstore and you mangle the name of your book or your name. So that you say it wrong, the bookseller has to work with you figure out the name. It will almost sear into your brain. They’ll remember the book. I went into Vroman’s and I went up to the lady and said, “I’m looking for a book, and I can’t remember what it is called. Oh! It’s called Millicent something Millicent Min, Girl Genius. And she looked at me and said, “And the author would be…. You.” Do you know what I did? I bought one. And then later I asked her, “How did you know?” because later we became friends. She said, “Your mother comes in here all the time. She talks about you and I’ve seen you together.” That was very humiliating. Now I remember, I turned so red you could have warmed your hands on my face.

How did Stanford, Emily, and Millicent change through out the drafts?
Millicent started out as a child psychologist. She changed from that. The second version she was in college, and the third version is what you are reading now. In Emily’s I started outlining and I couldn’t deviate too much because of Millicent’s book. She really didn’t change too much. What did happen with the other characters in term with the drafts, I got deeper in to the psychological reasons and why they are doing things. What there reactions would be. Because I outlined, I couldn’t deviate too much.

It was so interesting to read your interpretation of how a child prodigy thinks. How did you get that voice?
At first I started actually researching child prodigies until I realized it was a book about a lonely girl. Her being a prodigy was just another aspect of it. After the research, I just started writing, and the thing that surprised me is that I get emails from child prodigies. Early on there was this one group called the Davidson institute of young scholars. They had done an analysis of my book. There were about a dozen of them. I was reading it, and some of them said, “This is my life exactly” and others said, “This is nothing like my life. I have a lot of friends and I’m in college.” I told the director, tell your young scholars that it means a lot to me that I got it right for the most part. It was interesting because they invited me to teach an online course to them.

When and where did you get Peepy?

I cannot remember. I think that either someone sent her to me, or I got it at Target, where all things come from. It would probably be one of those two. Along time she was just sitting on my desk, and then I let her travel with me.

Which authors have inspired you the most?

Uh… that’s hard. Well of course I loved To Kill a Mockingbird, and everybody says that. There’s actually a passage from that that I keep on my desk where Scout is talking about Boo Radley and things that he’s given them, like two dolls, and our lives. I’m just like looking at that and when I was writing Millicent, I read Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. I love that book. Ann Lamott was really helpful because I read Bird by Bird and I loved that. Now I teach writing, I tell a person that’s the book you need to get, even if you don’t write. I’m constantly amazed at the talent that is out there. I try to read a lot and learn.

I read on readergirlz that you write your books in acts. Can you explain that?
I out line and I almost write it like a play. I always have three parts. I’ll have act 1, 2 and 3, and an epilogue. That’s my format for my outline. I write my endings first so I know how a book is going to end. I don’t always keep the same ending, but it gives me something to work toward. Act 1 is setting up the characters, and getting to know them. Act 1 is generally shorter. Act 2 is longest, where the conflict is. Everyone is intertwined. Act 3 is the resolution, like a play. So I do that for every book. My first outline was 28 pages long. Now my outlines are a couple pages. I don’t need to do that anymore, but I still like to.

Your young adult book, what’s the new title?

It’s definitely, maybe. Originally, it was a funny middle grade fiction, and they got an edgy YA, which was a surprise to them, because nobody saw the book until I finished. My agent looked at it, and said, “I love it… but you have to tell them. This is not what we expected.” It’s about a girl named Maybelline, the mascara. Her mother runs a charm school in Florida. Maybe is very Goth, and she doesn’t want anything to do with beauty pageants. Her mother is a serial marrier. She loves weddings, but not being married. Something really bad happens between her fiancĂ© and Maybe, and maybe Maybe realizes that she needs to run away from home. She does, and goes to Hollywood to look for her father who doesn’t even know she exists. That’s what the book is about, and she takes a road trip with two of her friends, Tad and Hollywood. It’s the three of them trying to find their way in LA, and in the process trying to find out about her.

What started your “obsession” with peeps?
I love NPR, and I listen all the time. I heard a segment on blowing up Peeps. I used to be obsessed with Mentos and Coke blowing up. It doesn’t work if you put it in your mouth. Anyway, I was doing that for the longest time, and then I heard about the Peep thing. My son and I tried it, actually I did it on my own, and I was screaming. My son was thrilled and my daughter was like “Oh gosh”.

Did it make a huge mess?
Yeah, it did, but now I’m good. I have a paper plate, and I know how many peeps.

Do you eat them?

Sometimes, they’re like roasted marshmallows. We do it all them. I photograph them, and I blog the pictures of them. It’s like a meringue. They get large and then shrink. Sometimes I freeze or dip them. And it all started with NPR. I just heard that the president of Just Born has been reading my blog, and is going to send me some things. You never know who reads your blog.

Have you met or written the girl on Millicent Min?
I don’t know who she is, and I haven’t heard from her. I don’t know her, but I know Stanford. The original model for Stanford got in a fight over his cell phone in New York, so he couldn’t be on the cover. They had to run out and find someone else. This kid was just at school this day. They took Polaroid’s and narrowed it down to two boys, and brought them to the studio. They shot two covers, and picked him. He’s just some random kid who happened to be at school that day. I’ve heard from Emily Ebers, who is a Tommy Hilfiger model, and the Ivy girl, who is also a model.

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