How did you get your books published?
The first step is having a polished manuscript. Then I would suggest focusing on signing with a literary agent. They will be a kind of... lawyer for your career. Negotiating contracts and foreign rights, all of that. They will also be your biggest cheerleader. Agents are the one who contact the publishing houses on your behalf, and try to find that one editor who will buy your book. Here is a popular database for finding them: http://querytracker.net/.
Before you contact the agent, however, you need to have a query. This is generally a three-paragraph summary of your book. Here is a great post that goes further into detail: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/08/how-to-write-query-letter.html. You'll probably want to do a lot more research on this!
Once you have a perfect query, you make a list of agents you like the sound of, and send it off! Agents respond anywhere from a couple hours to a couple months. When they do respond, it will either be a rejection or a partial request. If it's a request, you send them whatever pages they asked for. And again, if they like your writing, they will request for more. If they love the manuscript, they will make you an offer of representation. After that... you begin the process of submitting to editors.
Remember that it isn't about signing with the first person who makes that offer, though! It's about finding the right person.
Your books aren’t available in my country. How can I read them?
As of right now, we've only sold rights in the U.S. and Germany. So I would check out on The Book Depository, a site where you can buy books and have them shipped anywhere in the world for free.
Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?
It's different for each one, really, but I always begin with a half-formed concept. For example, with SOME QUIET PLACE, it was emotions as physical beings. I'd typed something totally cliche, like, "Fear rooted me in place." I sat back, frowning, and wondered how I could make this utterly unique from other moments consumed by fear. Somehow, that fear became a tall, blonde, snarky creature that roams the earth and instills terror into every human being simply by touch. It became Fear, who is now one of my favorite characters.
So once I had this idea I asked myself questions that lead this concept to becoming a story. Who is the main character? What makes her different from all these people the emotions see every day? What is the main conflict? How do the emotions play into it?
And SOME QUIET PLACE was born.
Will you read/critique my work?
I wish I could, and I'm so honored that you would ask! However, my schedule doesn't allow much time for my own writing, much less working on someone else's. There are great resources out there, though, if you're looking for a critique partner. I found one of my own on this site: www.ladieswhocritique.com.
There is also an excellent manuscript critique service offered at the Loft Literary Center.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
It might sound corny, but I'd advise any and all writers to follow their hearts. It's so tempting to follow trends, and be in a hurry to get published. If we’re writing to get published, instead of our love for it, it’s going to be a difficult journey. So let's all take a breath and enjoy the process of those stories unfolding.
I'm a young writer myself. What is the best way for you to improve your writing and get over writer's block?
The best thing you can do to get better at writing is to keep doing it. As a teenager I wrote every single day. It wasn't always the same story or the same amount, but I never faltered. Also, read a lot.
Writer's block is tricky. I think that's the fear or anxiety getting to us, a tiny voice in our heads saying we're not good enough, but we need to ignore it. Push through and write. If that fails, writing prompts are always fun!