18-year-old author of Halo
When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I was thirteen when I wrote my first novel, and I never expected it to get picked up so quickly. When my Australian publisher contacted me and asked if I was interested in turning my book into a trilogy, I realized that people were actually taking me seriously. After that, I started treating writing as my profession and I’ve been doing it for five years now.
What’s the best advice you have ever received about writing?
There’s always room for improvement. Everybody is going to have an opinion to offer and suggestions to make and it’s important to take advice on board, because each person is a reader you want to engage.
Where did you find your inspiration for Halo?
I studied religion in high school. Everybody hated it, but I thought it was fascinating. We looked at the concept of God and the Holy Trinity, plus ideas like salvation and redemption. That was where the idea for Halo was born. In terms of actually writing the book, I was inspired by listening to old country music—where there are lots of references to God, and each song tells a powerful story.
Which of your characters is most like you?
Aside from being an angel, the character of Bethany is based on me and my own experiences with high school, family, boys, and the world of adolescence. I didn’t have to imagine what Bethany was going through, being a teenager thrown into all these social situations—I’ve lived it! I hope teenage girls are able to identify with her because all the experiences and emotions she describes are real.
How do you balance your social life and school while writing books?
A lot of people think that being a writer just means twiddling your thumbs and waiting for inspiration to hit, but it’s a lot of work that includes touring, conferences, and media promotions, as well as the actual writing/editing process. I wrote Halo while I was doing my final year of high school, which was a big challenge. Now that I’ve graduated, I’m free to focus on my career.