It’s all Ryden’s fault. If he hadn’t gotten Meg pregnant, she would have never stopped her chemo treatments and would still be alive. Instead, he’s failing fatherhood one dirty diaper at a time. And it’s not like he’s had time to grieve while struggling to care for their infant daughter, start his senior year, and earn the soccer scholarship he needs to go to college.
The one person who makes Ryden feel like his old self is Joni. She’s fun and energetic—and doesn’t know he has a baby. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to keep his two worlds separate. Finding one of Meg’s journals only stirs up old emotions, and Ryden’s convinced Meg left other notebooks for him to find, some message to help his new life make sense. But how is he going to have a future if he can’t let go of the past?
ASIDE FROM WRITING, WHAT KEEPS YOU BUSY?
I love spending time with my friends, husband, and dog. I also watch a lot of TV and films, and I read a lot, of course—I love getting lost in great storytelling, no matter what form it’s in. I also love to travel whenever I can—I just got back from a trip to Thailand, where I volunteered at an elephant sanctuary!
ARE YOU ALSO A BOOKWORM / WIDE READER?
Yes! I love reading, whether it’s for my day job (I’m an adult romance editor), reading my YA author friends’ books, or reading something by someone I’ve never heard of before. There are so many amazing stories out there!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BOOK AND SERIES?
I have several favorites, for different reasons, but some books/series at the top of my list are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, and the Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin.
How would you define your true friends?
People who really GET who I am, and love me for it. And vice versa.
How did you come up with the idea of What You Left Behind?
The idea for What You Left Behind was actually sparked by an article my husband sent me about a teenage girl who had cancer and was pregnant, and wasn’t allowed to make her own decision of whether she wanted to abort her pregnancy and continue her cancer treatments, or stop the cancer treatments and have the baby. Her parents chose for her (they chose stop cancer treatments and have the baby) and she died a couple days after giving birth, leaving the baby to be raised by her boyfriend. This isn’t exactly what happens in the book, but the issue of choice is one that is very important to me, so I wanted to write about that. And of course I was completely interested in the single teen dad grieving the loss of his girlfriend story. So that’s where Ryden came from.
Are you planning to work on another project?
Yes, I’ve just finished another book that I actually co-wrote with an author friend of mine. I can’t say too much about that one yet, but I will say it’s more fantasy-ish than anything I’ve done before.
If yes, what is it all about?
I know I’m being vague here, but it’s about friendship and love and sacrifice.
Are you planning to go here in the PH in the future?
I would absolutely LOVE to, but unfortunately I don’t have any concrete plans for that just yet. 😦
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