How much of the book is realistic? Untethered is YA paranormal, with astral projection being the supernatural edge. I enjoy paranormal novels because they involve an escape from reality. However, my goal is to create an escape from reality that somehow amplifies reality. The book is set in the real world and Sylvie experiences real-world problems. From family issues to questioning friendships to a complete lack of self-confidence, the main thrust of conflict in the novel comes from everyday events that just happen to get even more complicated by the paranormal.
Who is your favorite character in Untethered? Nelson – which is funny because he wasn’t even in the early drafts of the novel. But it was kind of hard to show how likeable Sylvie could be if no one liked her. So Nelson went from not being in, to just making appearances, to being one of the main characters.
Have you included your life experiences in the plot? Yes. While the novel is fiction from A-Z, I plunged into my experiences, emotions, and memories to make the story come as alive as possible. Some of the things I pulled from my own life and/or others’ lives are: Like Cassie, my best friend when I was young had the most awesome head of hair and, like Sylvie and Cassie, we almost drown in Lake Michigan. My mom had an out-of-body experience when giving birth to my oldest brother. I swear I astral projected once when falling down a flight of stairs. Someone really pulled that “Will you hook up with me?” cruel prank on a girl when I was in high school. I don’t have the exact same issues as Sylvie does, but, like her, I have always struggled to be comfortable in my own body.
Will you write other YA paranormal novels? Despite publishers saying the paranormal bubble has burst, or that people want realistic fiction now, weirdness tends to creep into my novels. It’s what I like to read, so it’s what I like to write. I’m writing a novel at the moment that involves the devil.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing? I am the youngest of six children. I don’t know how my parents did it. My mom worked non-stop around the house all day. But in the evenings, my mom would sit in her recliner with a bowl of popcorn and a book. No matter how much noise was around her, no matter what kind of chaos we’d create, she was lost to the world in her novel. She always looked so interested – enraptured even – that I needed to try out reading novels for myself. The reading right away took me into writing. Authors were (and still are) my rock stars.
What is your favorite quality about yourself? My sense of humor is probably what I like best about myself. I’m not a comedian, but I love to laugh and I don’t take offense too easily.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself? I know this kind of goes against what I said was my best quality, but hate how fully and deeply I can hold a grudge. It takes a lot to get me so hurt and angry that I do hold a grudge, but if I get there, watch out – it’ll last years.
Genre – YA Paranormal / Coming of Age
Rating – PG13