I was a political refugee living in Venezuela. I had a job that was twelve hours a day, no money. It was a hard time.
I have travelled all over the world and one thing that amazes me is that I can communicate with people. My story may be different but emotionally we are all the same.
Kids are smart: don't underestimate their bull detector. Contemporary kids have access to a lot of information, so don't even try to fool them. I have never been more nervous about my research than when writing for young adults because they pick up every single error.
I never try to give a message in my books. It's about living with characters long enough to hear their voices and let them tell me the story. Sometimes I would love to have a happy ending, and it doesn't happen because the character or the story leads me in another direction.