Q: Where did the idea for Touching the Surface come from?
A: Touching the Surface had its roots in my dad’s death. I needed to imagine where he might have gone and I pictured him in the Obmil. If he was there, then in my mind, he had a place and a purpose and that made me feel better. Surface also came about because of a teenage girl in my area who did something “unforgivable.” I’ve never met her and I don’t even have her name. I just know that I’ve never been able to get her out of my mind. What if it had been me? What happens when good people do bad things? That’s what go me thinking.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the romance if any in your novel?
A: There are two guys that Elliot loves. Trevor and Oliver. They’re complete opposites, making it hard because she gets very different things from each of them. It’s not easy for her to figure out what she should do. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can tell you that I wouldn’t be able to choose between the two of them. :o)
Q: What type of mistakes does Elliot make and how will she learn from them?
A: I can’t tell you the big mistake that Elliot makes, but I can tell you that it’s one that can’t be undone and it has severe ramifications for her and the people around her. Elliot very quickly learns that good people can do horrible things. Now it’s up to her to figure out if she can live with that knowledge. The question becomes, can she separate who she is from what she is?
Q: Which character do you relate to the most?
A: There is so much of me in each and every character in this book that it would be hard for me to pick just one. I think that I obviously have a huge connection with Elliot because we’ve spent so much time together. But I can just as easily recognize pieces of myself in everyone--even the hardest to love character—David. I can relate to his need to always be right and his desire to rub salt in other people’s wounds when he’s feeling vulnerable. I’d like to think that I don’t allow my insecurities take hold the same way that David’s do. But I also know that I could be him if I let myself go there. Scary--but if I’m honest--it’s the truth. Damn. Now you’re giving me funny looks. Was that too much information? You still love me, right? Can we edit this?
Q: What was it like building the world in your novel?
A: This was one of the harder things I had to do. I think I improved along the way, but I don’t know if I’m anywhere near the skill level that I would like to be. Consider me a work-in-progress at world building. What I did love about it was the ability to just let my imagination take the lead. It felt very magical to be able to manipulate my own reality. But I was also overwhelmed at times, trying to remember the ramifications for the decisions I was making. I guess I’m going to have to leave it to the readers to decide if I did an okay job.
Q: What message do you want people to take away from your novel?
A: This is going to sound strange, but I don’t want to send the reader away with a specific message. I’d like them to walk away having found something about themselves within the pages of my book. I’m the author and still, that’s exactly how it happened for me. The best way I can explain this is to tell you about what happened when my husband read Surface. He got to the end of book—a book about teens, best friends and boys—he looked at me and said, “this was a love letter to your dad.” No one would know that unless I spoke of it. There is no real story about a father and daughter. But when I was done typing the last word, I knew I had found what I needed, hidden within the story. I hope I left enough room on the pages for everyone to find their heart and soul there too.
Q: What plans do you have for the future?
A: I would like to continue to explore stories that teach me about myself. I want to write books that I’m proud of and that make me feel like a better person for having written them. I want to write with bravery. I may not be courageous by other people’s standards, but I want to challenge myself. I want to be more. And I never want to lose the feeling that I’m living my dream. If I do those things—I’m a better mom, wife, daughter and friend. So it works out pretty good for everyone. I’d also like to eat a lot of chocolate ice cream.