1 - Many have said that "The Neighbor Favor" is one of their favorite reads of 2023 so far. Did you know/feel like you were writing something special during your writing process?
That's very flattering to hear, and I'm glad people are enjoying the book! I'm a little biased because my books always feel special to me. During the writing process, I usually tend to think that my books are terrible. It's during revision that I finally see the book take shape. I knew that I enjoyed my book, and I hoped that others might enjoy it too.
2 - You have a true knack for crafting lovable characters, from Lily and Nick to Zyla and Kai. How do you go about character development and what elements, in your opinion, make for compelling characters?
Thank you! This is a question that I'm always asking myself, how do I make my characters compelling and engaging? I always try to make sure that I know my characters' internal and external goals before I start writing. Each character (main and side) should have something that makes them tick.
I like to get to a point where I know what each of my characters would do in any given situation. I like to be able to hear their voices very clearly in my head. To help with this, I use a character questionnaire that I received from my thesis advisor in grad school. The questions range from "What is your name?" to "What is your biggest fear?" to "If you were an ice cream what flavor would you be?" These questions really help in the early stages of creating a character.
3 - Is there any possibility for a sequel to this book? Seems like there's other characters well crafted enough that it at least opens up this world for more stories.
Not necessarily a sequel, but a follow up to The Neighbor Favor will be about Lily's older sister, Violet. It stands alone on its own, so you won't have to have read The Neighbor Favor before reading Violet's book, but it certainly will help if you want to know the fuller picture of the Greene family.
4 - Bookishness (first time we have ever used that in an interview) is at the forefront of “The Neighbor Favor” with Lily often escaping into her favorite fantasy stories. How much do you see yourself in Lily and growing up were you bookish?
There are certain personality traits that Lily and I share. We are both extroverted introverts, and we both have had careers in publishing. Growing up I was a huge reader, but I didn't read much fantasy. I actually went through a phase in middle school where I didn't read much at all. In high school, I rediscovered my love for books and I mostly read contemporary YA. I didn't start reading fantasy until my early twenties.
5 - An all-time book-forward movie, "You've Got Mail" comes to mind when following Lily and Nick's love story. Did that story inspire you at all and if so what about that story did you find so inspiring?
No, I actually have never seen You've Got Mail in its entirety, but I'm familiar with the premise. I was more so inspired by a handful of epistolary historical romance novels that I've read and loved like Love in the Afternoon by Lisa Kleypas and When A Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare.
6 - Overall, what do you hope writers get from this book?
I hope that this book (and all of my books) makes readers feel more hopeful about love and life in general.
7 - What's your best advice for getting over writer's block?
Open your journal and write down why you think you have writer's block. Usually, you'll discover that you've written yourself into a hole or you're burned out. Journaling always helps me get to the bottom of whatever issues I'm facing in a draft.
8 - What's the best book you have read so far this year?
9 - What's the best advice you have ever received on happiness?
That happiness comes from within. Sounds cliche or cheesy but I believe it's true!
10 - Do you plan on writing more books in the future?