Taylor's got a dangerous secret: he's a boy. His compound's been destroyed, and he's been relocated to Section One. Living under the Matriarch means giving up possessions, eating canned food and avoiding all physical contact. Baggy clothes hide his flat chest and skinny legs, but if anyone discovers what lies beneath, he'll be exiled. Maybe even executed.
Mary's never seen a boy—the Matriarch cut the pictures of men from the textbooks—and she doesn't suspect Taylor's secret. If she knew, she might understand the need to stop the girls from teasing him. If she knew, she might realize why she breaks the rules, just to be near him. Then again, she might be frightened to death of him.
Taylor should go. The Matriarch is watching his every move. But running means leaving Mary—and braving the land beyond the compound's boundaries.
Honestly, English was not my best subject in school. When I was younger, I never, ever thought I would someday be writing novels.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I had an idea for a scene for a book or movie, wrote a few pages and stuck it in a drawer. Four years later, while listening to a radio show about books, the ideas started coming, and I HAD to write them
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write at night and on the weekends. Most of us writers have day jobs.
Do you work to an outline or plot, or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I have a very rough idea of a plot and characters and just start writing.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
About a year—a few months for a first draft, and then six to nine months of editing.
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Definitely. It’s a potential reader’s first impression. Of course, it’s the writing that’s going to convince them whether or not to buy the book.
How are you publishing this book and why?
My agent was unable to sell The Only Boy to major publishers (many of them had overfilled their quotas for dystopian novels), so I decided to publish it myself.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing versus being traditionally published?
Advantages: You have more control when you self-publish, and you can get your book out really quickly. Disadvantages: You have to do everything yourself (design, edit, market, etc.), and your chance of success is much, much lower.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Persistence is key. Keep reading, keep writing and keep learning the craft.