Elizabeth Norris briefly taught high school English and history before trading Southern California beaches and sunshine for Manhattan's winters. She harbors dangerous addictions to guacamole, red velvet cupcakes, sushi and Argo Tea, fortunately not all together. Her first novel, Unraveling (Balzer+Bray, April 14, 2012), is a romantic YA thriller about one girl's fight to save her family, her world and the one boy she never saw coming.
On your nightstand now:
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour; Wild Thing by Josh Bazell; an advance copy of Insurgent by Veronica Roth; and the Australian edition of Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta. Each of these novels is one I've been waiting for--not so patiently--since I finished the author's last novel.
Favorite book when you were a child:
It's a tie. I read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle and Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson the same year in school, and I absolutely devoured them. Then I reread them so I could experience the story again. Because of both of these stories, that was the year I really became obsessed with books. I even went through a phase where I was so desperate to know what happened at the end, that my mom started tearing out the last chapter of every book she gave me so I couldn't spoil it for myself.
Your top five authors:
Jane Austen, Melina Marchetta, George R.R. Martin, Jodi Picoult and J.R.R. Tolkein.
Book you've faked reading:
I can't actually remember a book I ever faked reading. For a long time, I refused to read Harry Potter, mostly because when I was in college, children's books were for children. Or at least, that's what I thought. When I finally relented, I swept through the series and was ashamed I'd been such a snob. I also skipped entire sections of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens when I was supposed to be reading it in eighth grade. I just could not force myself to get into it.
Book you're an evangelist for:
I was lucky to have an absolutely brilliant English teacher my sophomore year of high school when I was first introduced to The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I don't think I ever would have truly understood the depth and the beauty of it without her.
Book you've bought for the cover:
There are so many. I'm shamelessly attracted to covers. When I go into a bookstore, I usually have a specific book I want to buy, but I end up picking up at least two more books because the cover catches me and the copy sounds interesting. One of those purchases that turned out really well was The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
Book that changed your life:
Lucky by Alice Sebold is a book that saved my life during a particularly hard year in college. A few years later, amid a deluge of essays and term papers that I needed to grade, I read Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon, and it reintroduced me to fantasy, storytelling and reading for pure enjoyment. It also got me to start writing again in my spare time, so I owe that novel for where I am today.
Favorite line from a book:
"You save yourself or you remain unsaved." --Lucky by Alice Sebold. In one simple line there's so much wisdom that is invaluable for someone working through tragedy or emotional trauma.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I read it for the first time on vacation several years ago, and couldn't think of anything else for days. It's one of those novels that you have to commit to as a reader. In the beginning you're not going to know exactly what's going on, but you follow the characters because you have to, and everything comes together in the end in a way that only the best stories can.