R.J. Garcia has been writing short stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels. As our Author of the Day, Garcia talks about her latest book, Nocturnal Meetings Misplaced, and reveals how her work experience with troubled kids influences her writing.
Please give us a short introduction to what Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced is about.
Nocturnal Meetings is about a fifteen-year-old boy, Tommy Walker who gets sent to live with relatives he’s never met after his mom’s arrest. While he makes new friends, he also begins to unravel old secrets. Secrets involving a cold case kidnapping and murder.
What inspired you to write a book featuring a group of teenagers meeting in the woods?
There is something so intriguing about the woods at night. I never did anything that cool as a teen. When I was twelve, some friends and I snuck out and hung out in a little neighbor boy’s tree without any adults knowing, and it felt very dangerous.
You have worked as a social worker. How much have your experiences influenced your writing?
I think every writer’s experiences influence their writing. And since I have worked with kids that come from difficult backgrounds, it’s made me want to give them a voice.
Tell us more about Tommy. What makes him tick?
A lot has been put on Tommy from a young age. He grew up with a mother who is not only an addict but a kid herself in many ways. He wants to be cool and tough even reckless, but he knows better. He looks out for those he loves. It is how he was conditioned.
The book contains a couple of twists. Did you plan them out before you started writing?
The main twists, yes, but other scenes not at all. I didn’t plan the love story that happened in the book but felt two characters being drawn to one another.
Which one of your characters do you think you would get along with the most? What about the least?
As an adult, I could get along with all of them. If I was a kid again, Silence might find me too nice and be a little hard on me like she is with Annie. I think Finn would be the most fun to hang out with.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
This too shall pass. It helps me get through tough times and makes me appreciate the good ones.
Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer? Do you have a schedule that you stick to, or is it more in the moment?
Recently, I have been working full time plus the mom thing, so I sneak writing in.
What are you working on right now?
I have finished a second novel. It is about an American girl who gets sent to an English boarding school and wakes up knowing the name of an infamous serial killer still at large. I have a couple of new ideas for other books. I really gravitate toward coming of age suspense.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
On my blog writersandwallflowers.com I share and post other people’s short stories (teens or writers who write YA.) I love to connect with other writers.