"Tell us a little more about Fin and your book," asked Alice Pope in her interview with me.
For the past two years, I've been secretly writing as my main character, fifteen-year-old Fin, in a Diaryland blog called "Sunshine State." I didn't want to write about myself (What I ate for breakfast. Or: What I bought at the grocery store). There's a lot of pressure on authors to blog as a way of reaching out to their readers. I'm a big fan of Megan McCafferty's "retro blog," in which she posts hilarious snippets of her high-school diary. Sarah Dessen's Livejournal features her favorite TV obsessions. I also love Blake Nelson's minimalist musings on his subway encounters with Prada-clad rock bands or the Zenlike nature of cows, etc. But I'm too shy to reveal large chunks of my private self: so I've kept an online journal under my real name, which is mostly about my publishing journey (because I'm obsessive and I like to keep track of things). At the same time, I've been blogging as Fin as my alter-ego in cyberspace. Fin is like one of my "invisible friends" from childhood. At the same time, she is my alter ego in cyberspace. Her thoughts and dreams are based on my own, though disguised in the form of fiction.
At first, I shunned the idea of blogging. I shrugged it off as a distraction. Then, as Fin's readers began to respond to the stories, drawings and pictures I posted online, I realized that it is a valuable experience. Instead of sitting in my room, pecking away on a keyboard, I was connecting to people in an interactive universe. Writers live a very solitary life. For once, I didn't feel so alone.