For spring break, sixteen-year-old Maya travels from Vancouver to Palm Springs to visit her grandparents, soak up the sun and play some tennis. When they surprise her with tickets to the Indian Wells tennis tournament, she can’t believe her luck. This is going to be the best vacation ever. But on the way back from the match they get into a fender bender. The other driver suggests they just square up and not involve the police or insurance companies. That seems odd to Maya, especially since the passenger of the other vehicle is visibly pregnant. But because Maya was driving, her grandfather is worried about repercussions and agrees to the deal. Later, Maya and her new friend Ruby discover that similar incidents have happened to others in her grandparents’ gated community. They start to investigate, and when they spot the woman from the crash working in a clothing store, and clearly not pregnant, they know they are onto something.
What planning and research did you do for you book?
Desert Slam is based on my own experience. I was 21 and living in California. A woman bumped into me at a parking spot and later sued me for damages. With a friend, I followed her and took pictures. She was perfectly fine, but she saw out of country license plates and got a lot of money from my insurance company. I read about a crash-for-cash scheme and it brought back the memories, inspiring Desert Slam.
What is your ideal writing environment?
My favorite spot is my home office, but I’ll write anywhere. From coffee shops to airplanes, as long as I have a pen and paper I am good to go.
How do you decide on names for your characters?
From IMDB. I’ll choose a movie and use character or actor names.
Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to overcome it?
Never. I’ve been writing every day since I was 15.
What was the last novel you read?
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.
Do you remember your dreams? Do they ever become inspiration for your writing?
I always remember my dreams. I’m not sure if they directly inspire a story but I always have a notepad and pen beside my bed to flush out ideas before I sleep. So maybe it’s the other way around!
In an alternate universe, what would your dream career be, other than a writer?
Pilot. I used to fly and I am still passionate about all aspects of that world. I still have a disturbed fantasy where the pilots become ill and I have to land the Boeing 777.
What types of conversations do you hope will come out of your book?
I hope that anyone reading this book will see the importance of following a hunch and also sticking up for yourself. Always listen and trust the voice inside your head and learn not to take things at face value.
Desert Slam is available now!