Describe Trafficked in 140 characters (the size of a tweet).
A seventeen-year-old girl from Moldova is forced to work as a slave for a family in LA; the only person who can help her is the boy next door, who barely knows she exists.
How much research did you do for Trafficked?
I traveled to Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe, to research this book because it has one of the most severe trafficking problems in Europe. There, I interviewed girls who would be at risk, especially girls whose parents were out of the country working, and girls whose own mothers might have been trafficked, but didn’t know for sure. I interviewed regular girls in the city with dreams and ambitions and girls in the villages who were shy and vulnerable in their own way. Talking to all these different girls helped me form the main character, Hannah. I also interviewed people at anti-trafficking organizations both in Moldova and in America. Finally, I talk to many Russians and Moldovans living here in America, including ones who’d worked as nannies and housekeepers and who’d been mistreated here in America. I interviewed at least thirty people for the book and I read many accounts of modern-day slaves here in America and Great Britain.
Wow, that is awesome. Do you mind sharing about your writing process? Do you follow an outline? Fly by the seat of your pants? Flesh out the characters first, or focus on the plot?
When I write the first draft, I let the characters speak to me, surprise me a little. It’s an exploration of plot and character. I love this phase of my writing because the characters come alive in my mind and tell me the story. Then, I look at the draft and see what I like and what works. I make an outline at that point. In the second draft, I rewrite from scratch, looking at the chapters I liked and then rewriting them with more tension and detail. If this second draft is strong, I keep it and edit sections of it as needed. Otherwise, I rewrite from scratch again. This in theory, of course. In reality, in the three books I’ve written so far, I’ve needed to rewrite each one from scratch at least four times. TRAFFICKED took me about twenty drafts, which is shocking at this point. I’m hoping I’ll get a little faster in the future.
What hobbies or activities do you enjoy? Writing doesn’t count!
I love to do yoga and run. I love being on water, swimming, boating, waterskiing, whatever as long as it’s on the water.
If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go and why?
I would love to go to Central America, especially Nicaragua. I went there when I’d just graduated from college and it’s probably my favorite country I’ve ever visited, both the west and east coasts, which have entirely different cultures. One side speaks Spanish; the other side speaks English. It’s beautiful and the people are really amazing.
Oooh, I’ve never been to Central America, but it’s on my list of places to visit. What is on your summer reading list?
I have a very long summer reading list, probably at the top of it is A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, Insurgent by Veronica Roth, I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga, Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne and How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr.
All of those books are on my TBR too! Are you working on any new projects? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
The novel I’m just finishing is about an awkward, funny girl who’s getting bullied at school. When her life feels like it can’t get any worse, her biological father, a dangerous criminal, shows up. He’s charming and makes her feel good about herself, but when he pushes her to get revenge, she has to decide between what’s right and what’s wrong, and learn to stand up for herself, even against him.
Your next book sounds amazing, I’m already intrigued by the main character! Just for fun, what is your favorite:
- Place to write? My sunroom/office
- TV show and/or movie? The Walking Dead
- Genre of music? R & B
- Book? I love so many books, but if I must choose, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
I love The Walking Dead – the TV show and the graphic novels! They were the first graphic novels I ever read, and they’re awesome :). I really need to re-read To Kill Mockingbird now that I’m an adult. I’ve always loved it, but it’s been so long since I’ve read it.
Thanks Kim for taking the time to answer my questions!