Describe your book in 4 words. Go!
Billy Taylor: A spine tingling thriller.
Thieving Weasels was your first foray into YA books. What was it like transitioning from adult books to YA?
“It wasn’t that hard actually. The hardest part was getting the dialogue for a younger character. You’re in his head so much and I’m obviously in my own head and I tend to speak like an older person. So I had to go through again and take out a lot of Billy Taylor-isms and put in a young character. I also had to make the adults sound a little more character-y than I normally would so they would seem a little more villainous.”
What was the first story you remember writing?
“The first story I remember writing was when I was eight years old, in second grade, and as a writing prompt my teacher help up picture of a head of lettuce with a metal lock on it. It was an ad campaign for tupperware which was locking in flavor. So I wrote a story about locking up lettuce, and I put all these ridiculous adjectives in it. Even though every word was spelled wrong, the teacher said it was fantastic. It was the first time I ever was really praised for writing something.”
So, was that the moment you decided you wanted to be an author?
So Thieving Weasels is such a creative and fun book. What was the inspiration behind it?
“A couple different things. The mother came from my aunt. One night she was sitting down to dinner and heard a knock on her door. She went to answer it, and there were two police detectives to arrest her for passing bad checks in Atlantic City. She explained to the police that she had never been to Atlantic City. So they pulled out their file and asked if she was Linda Taylor.She said “Yes I am.” They asked if she lived there and she said yes. So they pulled out the surveillance photo and the woman looked nothing like my aunt. So the police officers left, but it was a photo of her next door neighbor Barbara. So after the cops were gone she went next door and asked Barbara, “why would you use my name in Atlantic City?” Barbara replied “you didn’t expect me to use my own name when I was passing bad checks, did you?” So that was king of the inspiration for the mom. But the basic thing was I had my identity stolen seven years ago, and I was thinking what kind of people would do something like that. Then I started to think about all the different kinds of people I’d met who were criminals. It was actually an easy assembly from there.”
If you were not an author, what would your dream job be?
“I’m in awe of visual artists, so I guess it would be that. I could just sit there and see people drawing a picture and sketching and think that it’s so cool. So I would say that because it’s something I can’t do.”