The story of The Blessed sounds very unique and intriguing just from reading the blurb alone! What inspired you to write it?
I came across a book of saint's lives and it occurred to me that the legends of these virgin martyrs, who were barely teens when they died, were actually some of the earliest young adult stories. I was always fascinated with them, their level of commitment and of course, all the art that exists. I started thinking about placing them in a modern context and went from there.
Most people probably know you already from your ghostgirl book series. How did it feel starting writing a whole new series and leaving the ghostgirl world behind for a while?
It was really good actually. The Blessed is gritty and a somewhat violent which is quite a bit different than the ghostgirl books, but they both explore the same universal themes of the search for identity and self-acceptance. It was just a matter of dealing with in a different way.
The book covers (both the UK and US editions) are INCREDIBLE! Do you get much of a say in how they look?
I'm very fortunate to have publishers in the US, UK and around the world that really seek my input. I tend to have a very strong idea of what I'd like a cover to look like and the actual designers have been excellent. It's a real collaboration.
You've worked not only as a writer of books but as a film maker. Do you think that your "visual eye" as a film maker influences how you write and if so how?
Yes. I have a background in film, television, music and music video, so all of those perspectives tend to influence the way I write. but then so do the things and people I see and hear all around me in Brooklyn. In the end though, it's always about the story and characters and keeping a reader's attention, so however you can get there is how you get there.
What books have you been reading recently or would recommend to other readers?
Patti Smith's 'Just Kids.' It's brilliant. So much has been written about her life and music but its fascinating to read it from her point of view. She is an extraordinary story teller and poet.
Thanks so much to Tonya and Hachette for letting me part of this tour and check out Tonya's new book The Blessed here