I think if I hadn't been a writer, I'd have been a teacher like my dad. He was a college professor, and one of my greatest regrets is that he passed away before I was able to prove to him that I wasn't going to be stuck working at Rax Roast Beef for the rest of my life!
Growing up, I mostly read comic books and sci-fi. Then I discovered the book 'Jane Eyre' by Jane Austen. It introduced me to the world of romance, which I have since never left. Also, the world of the first-person narrative.
I wish I had taken Spanish instead of French in high school. I could eavesdrop on a lot more conversations on the subway if I knew Spanish.
In high school, I wanted to be an actress. Until I got to college and took some creative writing courses. Then I decided I wanted to become a novelist.
We can all agree that first loves can be a scary thing, and that growing up is hard to do.
I was the kind of kid who couldn't really stop making up stories during class. I didn't do very well academically because I was always drawing these little doodles in the margins of my notebooks and I wasn't bringing home the best grades.
There's nothing secret about it. Everyone knows that I am waiting for my real parents, the king and queen, to come restore me to my rightful throne.
When I was a kid, I had a couple of really good friends, like some really good best friends, but I was really shy other than that.
One of the reasons that I think I do love to write is because I did have a difficult childhood and not so great teenage years. It always helped me escape from my problems.
I was an unhappy child, and that puts me off having a child of my own.
I think you get so wrapped up in the book you're currently writing, it's hard to think about anything else. But I know as soon as I'm done with this book, I'll move on to something else.
We were a very funny family. Humour was the tool with which my brother and I tried to get attention. We were always trying to be the funniest.
Sometimes I just want to write a really intense love scene. But I can't do that in my books for teens, or parents will complain - believe me, I've tried.
Usually writer's block arises when something is wrong internally with the story.
Writing used to be my hobby, but now that it's my job, I have no hobby - except watching TV and laying around the pool reading 'U.S. Weekly.' I have tried many hobbies, such as knitting, Pilates, ballet, yoga, and guitar, but none of them have taken.
One of the biggest motivations for me with writing my books is to offer girls some escapism, especially girls who really need it, like I did.
I used to draw and illustrate, but I don't do that anymore because I just like to write. I like to leave the illustrations to actual professional illustrators.
All of my characters are a little bit based on people I know in real life. You know when you do that you have to change the character a little bit in case your friend or your relative reads the book, because you don't want them to know you wrote about them... They might get mad.
No matter how nice the company one might be with, however, it is never pleasant to have a rifle pointed at one's back.
Save your rejections so that later when you are famous you can show them to people and laugh.
I like to think of my books and the movies of my books living in two separate universes. Each is very nice, but only one is correct - the book. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the other versions, and I always do.
Pretty isn't the only thing that matters - being smart and kind matters more, of course - but all daughters should hear from their moms that they look pretty once in a while.
I actually love writing for teens best. I had such an awful time in my own teen years - I love having the chance to relive them through my fiction.
My family, they're story tellers. My mom is Irish, and my dad is Italian. In my family, we weren't allowed to watch TV while we ate - we had to sit around the table and tell stories about our day.
I was too lazy to start a whole new story, so I just stuck a princess into the story I was working on... and The Princess Diaries was born!
I really wanted to be veterinarian, but I got a 410 on my math SATs.
I don't have kids, but in many ways I feel I've had them already. I don't want to say I raised my brothers - that sounds too strong - but actually I do feel like that a bit.
My original inspiration was my mom: a few years after the death of my dad, she started dating one my teachers!
For each book, I do end up making a kind of playlist to fit the characters.
Strong female characters - even if they don't necessarily make the same decisions that we might - make such great narrative material, especially when there's an equally strong male character in the mix.
I love jezebel.com for the latest on fashion, style, and celebrity gossip. I also love gawker.com for New York celebrity sightings, and galleycat.com and trashionista.com for book news.
In high school, I was very active in extracurricular activities such as art, theatre, and choir. I also wrote for the school newspaper, but not regularly, because I never liked writing non-fiction very much.
My favorite book of all time is Cold Comfort Farm, by Stella Gibbons.
This is how many people become artists, musicians, writers, computer programmers, record-holding athletes, scientists... by spending time alone practicing what they love.
Even though I loved to write, I never liked English lit. class very much. I think it ruins books when you dissect them too much. I liked my art classes best.
If you're writing a screenplay, you need to be prepared to let go: there's a good chance the words you write aren't going to be the ones that end up on screen.
When I did see the story of Persephone, I was really drawn to it. Persephone, the goddess of spring, was kept from Olympus by her mother, Demeter, because Demeter was very worried that the gods of Olympus would do something terrible to her.
I really liked drama and being in plays, so when I was playing a character onstage and I could act like somebody else, then I wasn't scared or nervous, but I didn't like meeting new people when I had to be myself. That was scary.
Writing is a workout, just like going for a run!
Screenwriting is a much more collaborative effort. When you write a novel, it's just you, with input from your editor.
I don't give books as gifts. Books are extremely personal, and I would hate to give someone a book that they don't like or want, because it would break my heart if they didn't read it.
Remember, if you don't feel passionate about the characters and subject of your story, your readers won't either.
Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.
When you feel like an outsider - for whatever reason - you spend a lot of time alone.