AUTOFOCUS Release, Orlando Love

Today is Friday. This past Tuesday, AUTOFOCUS officially released into the wild. Then, on Thursday, I celebrated the one year anniversary of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES being published. It’s a crazy experience, knowing something I wrote – something I imagined – is out in the world. That people from all over are reading it. That they’re discussing it online, and having favorite characters and quotes. Writing is such a personal experience that when the book is finally published, it’s…crazy. And terribly exciting.

All that said, the week has been overshadowed by a lot of sadness. I’m devastated by what happened in Orlando, Florida. I’m devastated that I live in a time where people are still full of so much hatred. I’m proud to say the city is rebuilding, and that there’s so much love being passed around. People from all over are coming here to show their support. There are so many beautiful rainbow flags flying over the interstate. The city is united, and while I love it, I hate that a terrible situation caused it.

I love Orlando.

Here’s what I wrote on my Facebook page:

For those who don’t know, I live in Orlando; it’s been my home for so long. It’s why all my books take place, at lease in part, here. Last night I was discussing the scene in TNWSY where Ella says she feels safe in Orlando–that the only thing she fears is bad ex-boyfriends. That’s kind of how I felt when I was in high school. I was in this small bubble where nothing could go wrong. Though times have changed, and it’s completely idealistic, I want to raise my daughter like that. Not to fear, but to love. And love and love and love. So, I dedicated my second book to her–and I’m celebrating that love today. Thank you all for your love, and for reading. xo

This Tiny Perfect World

I was shy in school. Really shy. I moved from New York to Florida for 8th grade, made a few friends, and then was thrown into high school where my friends found other friends and while some of us stuck together, others were lost to the sea of adolescence. I don’t blame them, it happens to us all.

When I moved, it was my goal to become someone who had a voice–someone who could voice their opinions and not just fade into the background. And I did, eventually. It didn’t happen all at once. One moment didn’t snap me into a new and wonderful person. But little things contributed. Great friends. New environment. And, well, theatre.

I joined theatre because it seemed amazing–it seemed like something I wouldn’t do. So I made myself do it. I made myself audition for plays, sing in front of people, and talk to strangers. I made myself try. And I loved it. I loved being on stage. I loved finding like-minded people. I loved knowing that I found this small, perfect home within the high school walls. Each day I looked forward to my time there.

High school is a small spec in a larger world. And a drama club is an even smaller point. But when you’re part of it, it feels so big.

And that feeling–that feeling of being big in somewhere so small–is what led me to write THIS TINY PERFECT WORLD. My third book, which will be out in 2017 with HarperTeen / HarperCollins. (!!!)

this tiny perfect world

I’m so excited to share this tiny new world with you.