Before the interview, here's some info about her from her website:
Wendy Mass is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen novels for young people (which have been translated into 20 languages and nominated for 76 state book awards), including A Mango-Shaped Space (which was awarded the Schneider Family Book Award by the American Library Association), Leap Day, the Twice Upon a Time fairy tale series, Every Soul a Star, 11 Birthdays, Heaven Looks a Lot Like the Mall, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, and Finally, The Candymakers, and 13 Gifts. Her latest books are The Last Present, Pi in the Sky, and a new early reader series called Space Taxi. Wendy wrote the storyline for an episode of the television show Monk, entitled “Mr. Monk Goes to the Theatre,” which aired during the show’s second season. She tells people her hobbies are hiking and photography, but really they’re collecting candy bar wrappers and searching for buried treasure with her metal detector. She lives with her family in New Jersey.
WM: I think it’s fun to try different genres, so I wind up switching it up. I think realistic fiction with a touch of fantasy is my favorite. Then again, I had a lot of fun writing science fiction with PI IN THE SKY.
KBR: In your books, many of the main characters have a goal or dream they want to achieve. For example, Ally from Every Soul a Star wants to find a comet. Is there a career you wanted to do before writing that reflects that of the characters in your books?
WM: I wanted to be an astronaut, which is probably why I write about outer space a lot, and why I give that interest to so many characters.
KBR: What was your very first story about?
WM: It was about my cat, Muffin, who turned into a goat and broke into our neighbor’s house. ;o)
KBR: Reading about Mia’s synesthesia was fascinating. Have you ever met someone with synesthesia, like in a Mango-Shaped Space? If not, how did you conceive this character?
WM: I hadn’t met anyone with it whenI began researching the book, but quickly found many people who were very willing to share their experiences with it. A lot of their stories became fictionalized in the book.
KBR: If you could visit any of the stories you’ve written, what one would it be, and why?
WM: It would have to be life in a candy factory in The Candymakers. If for nothing else but the constant amazing smells!
KBR: All of the characters in your books connect strongly with the reader. Do you have a favorite character in any of your books, or one that you enjoy writing the most?
WM: I feel a closeness to Amanda from the Willow Falls series. She was in all five books, so I got to age her from 11 to 13 1/2, and really see her grow up. I miss her! ;o)
KBR: Was the setting for any of your books inspired by your childhood?
WM: I grew up in the suburbs, so in the beginning I tried hard to set the books in different places—rural, city, outer space! It felt like cheating if I set it in the burbs.
KBR: Are there any obstacles you overcame as a writer, and if so, how did you overcome them?
WM: Just having the tenacity not to give up in the first place. It’s so competitive to get your first book published—I have the loooong list of rejection letters to prove it. I just kept writing, and kept sending stuff out and finally a book clicked with the right editor. It took years, though.
KBR: If you could go back in time and give yourself advice as a young writer, what would it be?
WM: Hmm, maybe make sure you write down every idea as soon as it comes or else you’ll forget it. Don’t compare yourself with others, pay more attention in English class. ;o)
KBR: You’re such a creative and talented writer. What is one question you would write yourself, and could you please answer it?
WM: Q: Do you read your own books after they’re published?
A: For the longest time I didn’t. I was afraid I’d find mistakes, or things I wish I’d done differently. Now I’ll read them if I’m writing a sequel, to put myself back in the setting/characters/tone of the story. It’s usually been so long that it feels like someone else wrote it, and I find I can enjoy it, which has been a nice surprise.