Q: Your resume includes a long list of talents: singer, actress, designer, and producer. What inspired you to write young adult books?
A: I really just had the itch for a new challenge. I knew that my main character would be a strong female on a quest or adventure. I naturally wanted to write a script and turn it into a more detailed story. Instead, I decided to write the book first, since it was something I hadn’t done before. I met the right people, and with their help, Elixir was born.
Q: In Elixir, Clea often finds herself the focus of international attention, especially when she is trying to run away from it. Did you draw from your own experiences of growing up in the spotlight?
A: I like to think of Clea as a totally unrelated character, but I guess subconsciously, authors inject pieces of their personality and experiences into the story. In a way, Clea’s challenge of dealing with fame relates to my personal experience and really adds to the story, but it differs in that Clea’s parents were famous, and she wants to break that mold she has been set in.
Q: What inspired you to add the paranormal aspect to Elixir?
A: I have always been interested in the paranormal and afterlife, everything from ghosts to angels. I think that everyone has that curiosity of the great unknown. It is fun to add the paranormal element because there aren’t any limits to what you can do.
Q: How did the writing process for Elixir differ from your other artistic endeavors?
A: The best thing about the book-writing process is that I was able to write in my living room and in my pajamas! Although I didn’t have to learn lines or get ready to sing in front of thousands of people, I found that this was probably the most challenging project. People are complex and have a lot of different attributes, everyone has a story. The hard part is making sure the characters share that same unique quality and leaving no unanswered questions.
Q: As a Youth Ambassador of Columbia, did your travels abroad there inspire you to bring Clea and Ben to South America?
A: Traveling to Bogota with my charity, Blessings in a Backpack, was one of the most inspiring and emotional experiences of my life. It was a real eye-opener. Helping people and raising awareness is a big part of my life, and I wanted to find a way to include that into my book, and Grant Raymond was the perfect character for this.
Q: What do you think of the dual nature of Sage? Are readers supposed to love him or hate him?
A: I want readers to love him. He is sexy and sweet yet mysterious and damaged. I don’t know about every girl, but these qualities always draw me in. Throughout the book he confuses Clea, and gives mixed signals, so we can be mad at him. . . but not for too long!
Q: What message do you hope to give young adults reading Elixir?
A: To believe in love, take chances, and live for the moment. Find adventure and always dream big.
Q: The first book has quite the cliffhanger. Can you give us a sneak peek into what's next for Clea?
A: My wonderful coauthor Elise Allen and I have been playing around with a lot of juicy ideas but nothing is set in stone. Clea has been on an emotional rollercoaster, so that is probably where the next book will start. Clea will need to find a way to pick herself up and put the pieces of her life back together. Who knows how long that could take? And what her next move will be? Hopefully her dreams will guide her. IF she can dream. . . .