5 Questions & 1 Confession with Cortney Pearson

For Blog Me MAYbe Thursdays I decided to do a series of interviews with some of my closest writing friends, which I'm calling 5 Questions & 1 Confession. If this goes well, maybe we'll extend this series past May and feature lots of different writers!

Today I'd like to introduce you to Cortney Pearson, one of my critique partners and good friends. We met at the March 2011 Big Sur Writing Workshop and have kept in touch ever since. She's just finished up a YA Horror novel called Phobic, which I've read and loved. She's on Team Cupid for The Writer's Voice, so make sure you root for her!

Where did you get the idea for your book?

I've always wanted to write a creepy story just because I'm into the dark stuff like that. Except since I got married I'm a total wuss and I can't watch scary movies anymore, lol! But last Halloween several random ideas sort of came together to form what is now Phobic. Most of them came from my great aunt's super spooky house down in Utah, the same one built by her father in the early 1900's or something, and there were definitely some otherworldly happenings going on there! My brother slept in the basement one night and got the most horrible feelings and heard creepy voices. I think he even saw flashes of light. And one night my mom and I were driving from California and got to Aunt Vay's super late. Mom couldn't find her key, but the door opened ON ITS OWN. When I checked the knob, it was still locked. No joke. I'm also super intrigued by the Winchester Mansion, which was supposedly built to accommodate the ghosts haunting Sarah Winchester, so the staircase leading to the ceiling and the floating door idea in my story came from that. 

Where do you do most of your writing?

There's a desk in the dining room of my in-law's house (which we are house-sitting for them) and I've staked my claim on that. It's nice because it's out in the open where my kids play, so I can be near them while writing. Here's a pic of my writing space, and no it's not always that clean, lol!!!

What movie or tv show do you wish you could adapt into a YA or MG book?

I'll go with one of my faves. Empire Records, a semi-oldie but goodie, would make a great YA book. A day in the life of a record store with all the hoodlum teenagers who work there and their various problems? Yes! That's one I used to quote all the time, ha ha. Gilmore Girls would also make a fun YA book.

What advice do you have for new writers?

I'd say read! Read books and study the writing, see what works and what doesn't, how they generate emotion and structure their characters and stories. Read self-help writing books to learn your craft even more. And also, get online and meet bloggers or go to conferences. I think I've learned the most from going to conferences and associating with other writers. Conferences are also how I found my awesome critique partners. 

What were you like as a teenager?

I used this picture even though it's a little blurry because it's the only one I could find of me and all three of my best friends. We're decked out in our Concert Choir dresses. As a teenager, I was ALWAYS with my friends, listening to music, watching movies, taking long drives out in the country to hang out in spud cellars. (Shh, don't tell the farmers, lol). We were constantly quoting Wayne's World ("Garth, that was a haiku."). My BFF Arielle's car was even dubbed *the mirthmobile*. I was also majorly crazy for my friend's brother, and I was a band nerd who spent oodles of time practicing my clarinet. Oh, and on Wednesday nights you were sure to find me watching the latest Buffy episode. I LOVED Buffy!!

Tell us something geeky about yourself:

Yikes, what ELSE is geeky about me? I love the funky, patterned socks. Polka dots, Powerpuff Girls, stripes, Christmas patterns, I even have bright orange socks with black Halloween cats all over them. My husband is always teasing me about my dorky socks. I'm also a sucker for big band jazz and professional drum lines and I'd love to see Harry Connick, Jr. or Michael Buble in concert someday.

Thanks Cortney! I'm going to have to check out these socks when you come to the SCBWI Summer Conference!