How does it feel transitioning between writing fantasy, or magical realism, some would say, to contemporary YA? What made you want to take that jump after The Syrena Legacy wrapped up?
Honestly, I didn’t plan to write a contemporary when I signed the deal for it. I didn’t intend to write a standalone either. The idea of writing inside the boundaries of everyday life seemed boring. But one day Carly’s character came to me, and all her struggles. Then Arden popped up, the ultimate anti-Carly. And I knew they both had a story to tell, and that their stories could intertwine—with just as disastrous consequences as any fantasy novel could conjure up.
Where did you get the idea for Joyride? I read it’s comparative to Pretty in Pink and the story of Bonnie and Clyde. What can you tell us about the storyline that you feel will stand out to readers?
I’ve always loved the movie Pretty in Pink because the main characters were brave enough to stand up to society’s predetermined standards. They overcame obstacles that other couples might buckle under. I wanted to write something like that, where the romance isn’t easy, where the characters have to work for it and question if it’s really worth the effort.
The Bonnie & Clyde aspect is how they initially bond, and it cracked me up personally while writing it (their very first prank involves a purse filled with poo!), but I think readers will really appreciate how much Carly and Arden come to realize that they need each other—and how needing someone, and being needed, can heal even the angriest emotional scars.
Diversity has definitely been gaining some momentum in the lit world. As a young Hispanic myself, I love all the variations of cultures being represented in up and coming fiction. What exactly made you want to write about the Latin minority, and what do you want readers to come away with, after reading?
I’m glad that diversity is gaining momentum, but to be honest, I was afraid to write a diverse character at first. All I could think was, “Who do I think I am, a white author writing about a culture I didn’t grow up in? What if I do it wrong? What if I make a mistake and offend someone?” But I quickly realized the biggest mistake I could make would be to NOT give that culture the voice it deserves, especially since I had a story to tell. The thing is, when I was younger, I worked as a waitress at a restaurant and there were several Hispanic immigrants who worked there as well (some documented, some undocumented). Their work ethic was impeccable, and their loyalty to one another and to their families was steadfast. It was something that stuck with me through all these years. I have a HUGE respect for this culture, and while I didn’t want to screw it up (and sincerely hope I didn’t), I also knew I couldn’t be a punk and NOT write it. Writing diversity isn’t just for authors of particular races and cultures. Writing diversity is everyone’s responsibility. So, it’s not shame on me for attempting to write diversity. It’s shame on you if you’re not reading diversity.
I feel like book playlists are essential to a happy life, and seeing as this book has all sorts of Latin spice going on, are there any fun tunes/albums you listened to in the making?
Carly is a strong character, and so there were plenty of girl-power songs I listened to. But for the romantic parts, I played Selena’s I Could Fall In Love over and over again. It’s such the perfect song for Carly and Arden.
Can you tell us what may be next for you? Will we be seeing you try out new genres or sticking to a certain kind?
I’m working on an Egyptian fantasy called NEMESIS and its sequel, ALLY:
A princess who possesses the power to create energy escapes her father, who wishes to weaponize it, only to be captured by another kingdom where she discovers that her powers could be used to fight a terrible plague.
As for sticking to a certain genre, the answer is no. I’m going to write the story that comes naturally to me, whether it’s sci-fi, contemp, or fantasy. The only thing you won’t see me writing is mystery; I can’t even solve Scooby Doo before the episode ends!
Be sure to follow along with the rest of the tour!
Full Blog Tour Schedule
May 7- The Reader Bee<http://www.thereaderbee.com/>
May 8- A Perfection Called Books<http://aperfectioncalledbooks.blogspot.com/>
May 9- The Young Folks<https://www.theyoungfolks.com/>
May 10- Love Is Not a Triangle<http://www.loveisnotatriangle.com/>
May 11- The Eater of Books<http://eaterofbooks.blogspot.com/>
May 12- Xpresso Reads<http://www.xpressoreads.com/>
May 13- WhoRU Blog<http://www.whorublog.com/>
May 14- Bewitched Bookworms<http://bewitchedbookworms.com/>
May 15- A Book and A Latte<http://bookandlatte.com/>
May 16- Green Bean Teen Queen<http://www.greenbeanteenqueen.com/>
May 17- Gone With The Words<http://gonewiththewords.com/>
May 18-Bumbles and Fairytales<http://bumblesandfairytales.blogspot.com/>
May 20-Curling Up With A Good Book<curling-up-with-a-good-book.blogspot.com>
May 21-Swoony Boys Podcast<http://www.swoonyboyspodcast.com/>
May 22-A Reader’s Adventure<http://areadersadventure.com/>
May 23-The Irish Banana<http://theirishbanana.blogspot.com/>
May 24-Exlibris Kate<http://www.exlibriskate.com/>
May 25-Love At First Page<http://www.loveatfirstpage.org/>
May 26-Adventures of a Book Junkie<http://toofondofbooks.com>
May 27-Dana Square<http://danasquare.blogspot.com/>
May 28-Rather Be Reading<http://www.ratherbereadingblog.com/>
May 29-Paper Riot<http://www.paperiot.com/>
May 30-Mundie Moms<http://www.mundiemoms.com/>
May 31-Mary Had A Little Book Blog<http://knoxdiver.blogspot.com/>
June 1-Alice Marvels<http://www.alicemarvels.com/>
June 2- MacTeenBooks Blog<http://www.macteenbooks.com/blog>