If you’re reading this page, it’s probably because you love young adult novels (either that, or your Google search has gone horribly awry). And it probably won’t surprise you to know that I, too, love YA. Always have. See how much we already have in common?!

Anyway, a lot of things led me from being a 12-year-old voracious reader in Portage, Michigan to writing full time in Los Angeles. Goals, school, support from friends and family, coffee, and more than a couple of U-Hauls. But what I want to focus on here are the stories that helped me get from point A to point Z. Because stories are my first love, and they’re way more interesting than the details of my life anyway. So, in no particular order, here are the stories that shaped me, the ones that got me here and the ones that keep me going:

The Babysitter’s Club Books: For teaching me the basics of character archetypes and for letting me believe it was completely feasible for a 12-year-old to have a means of employment (though my own attempt to start a babysitter’s club crashed and burned pretty spectacularly). 

Back to the Future: For being the first time travel story to suck me in, but not the last.

American Girl Books: For teaching me how to put my hair up in Swedish-style braids, and also for allowing me to love books and dolls at the same time. Later in life, people sometimes try to make you think it’s impossible to like girly things and be smart and worthwhile. Sometimes you have to go all the way back to the things you loved as a kid to remember why those people are so very wrong.

Clueless: See above life lesson, times it by a million.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: For putting ordinary kids in an extraordinary world. This book had me at go and helped develop a lifelong love of portal stories.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: For everything, really. For taking the action adventure stories I loved and showing me that a GIRL could be the star of them. For making me scared, making me excited, and thrilling me every week. For smart dialogue and characters that make you laugh and cry...and cry...and cry. For being the first television show I hated to miss, taped on VCR, and watched over and over again.

Veronica Mars: Because once Buffy opened the floodgates, badass girls kept piling up in fiction. This one was the coolest of them all, the one that made me want to learn how to write for TV so I could not just watch worlds like Veronica’s, but create them. The one that made me want to move to LA.

Dawson’s Creek: For Pacey, mostly.

Freaks and Geeks: For putting kids who talked like me and looked like me and lived like me up on TV, even if just for a short time. Also for being hilarious.

Jane Austen novels: I was an English major, come on. Some cliches are true.

Sixteen Candles: For classic wish fulfillment (sometimes the awkward girls get the Jake Ryans), and for being the chicken noodle soup of movies -- perfect for a sick day.

Game of Thrones: For Danerys Targaryen, Arya Stark, Brienne of Tarth, Sansa Stark, and Margaery Tyrell.