Excerpts from the interviews:
“I didn't publish much until Tithe. I kept writing a lot of stories that were either rejected or so bad that even I rejected them before I could send them out. I call Tithe suburban fantasy, as opposed to urban fantasy. It's set on the Jersey Shore and it's got fairies. At one time, people would vacation on the Shore and go to the beach. Atlantic City is still pretty happening, but they just stopped coming to Asbury Park, probably because it's just as easy to get on a plane and go to Florida, so there are all these weird, beautiful boarded-up buildings -- a creepy setting. I love abandoned structures, and that juxtaposition between industrial stuff and something as organic as fairies. In urban fantasy there's this convention about the Seelie Court and the Unseelie Court being 'good' and 'evil.' I've read a lot of folklore, and I wanted to explore the idea that neither group was particularly nice, and how that fact would change the dynamic between them. Tithe is told from the perspective of someone who finds out she's a changeling and has to learn about fairies, rather than a human interacting with fairies.
“The second book, Valiant, is much more classically urban fantasy -- it takes place in New York and has a human character interacting with fairies. It's set in the same world as Tithe, but only peripherally related. It's also a darker book in many ways. These homeless kids bring the fairies a drug that stimulates the glamour that keeps them protected from the city's iron, and then one of the kids realizes that if humans shoot the solution it gives them various different powers. Now I'm working on a third book, Ironside, which is a direct sequel to Tithe.”
“There are a lot of other books I'd like to write, mostly YA (and at some point a book between Spiderwick age and YA). I'd also love to write adult books, but they're very long. Maybe short adult books. The line between YA and adult fiction really has blurred. What is YA? It's what's published by YA publishers -- that's the true definition! Teenagers aren't exclusively going to read in the Young Adult section, but one of the things that section has to offer is diversity. You can read realistic fiction one day, fantasy the next, then science fiction, a mystery, and they're all in the same section. But when you leave YA, it's like you have to choose a genre that you're going to read in when you decided on a section to browse.
“Seriously though, what makes a book YA is that it speaks to the experience of being a teenager. It can be difficult to tell whether a book is going to do that, because everyone is different. A lot of us just started reading adult books at a certain point when we were kids, and we managed to find books that spoke to us. Length used to be a defining factor, but for fantasy that's no longer true. Now we're seeing tomes. Clearly kids do read long books (Tolkien is the classic example). But I actually enjoy the shorter length, since when I read I have trouble stopping. For me, one of the pleasures of sitting down with a YA is being able to read a book and still have time to do other things.”
“The teenage years is the point where many people stop reading, so keeping kids reading and keeping them interested in books is a really great thing to be able to do. With middle-grade and slightly younger books, these are people you're making into readers; they're either going to get bored and say, 'I don't want to read,' or say, 'I love reading because I love these books.'
“They call middle-grade the golden age of reading because that's when kids have a lot of time to read and they can go through an enormous number of books in an extremely short time. That's when they become readers for life. There's a lot of competition for kids' attention -- I'm not knocking it since I watch movies, play games, do all those things too. But there's a lot of pleasure for kids to read books in series because they can read so much. They want the next book, then the next one.”