Author Spotlight: Halli Gomez
March 19, 2021
We are pleased to feature author Hali Gomez and her young adult novel, LIST OF TEN (Sterling Teen, Mar. 2021).
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Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.
When I started writing, the voices of teens, and middle grade readers, felt natural. I attribute it to teaching teens and tweens for so many years and listening to them tell stories and ask questions. I also have two teen boys of my own, although they don’t speak as much.
Congrats on your debut young adult, List of Ten! Tell us about the book and what inspired it.
The book is about a teen living with Tourette syndrome and OCD. He plots his suicide with the inadvertent help of a beautiful girl who simultaneously shows him that life might hold more possibilities than he imagined. This is an #ownvoices novel so my inspiration was in part to let other neurodivergent people see they are not alone. Equally as important is to have others see us. Being able to understand the differences in people and still accept them is so important, now more than ever.
Was your road to publication long and winding, short and sweet, or something in between?
My road to publication was just right. Short enough for me not to give up and long enough to get another book written and into a serious revision round, which of course meant I could submit to my agent that much sooner.
Did you have a playlist while writing List of Ten? What is a representative song?
I didn’t have a specific playlist or song, but I was listening to Imagine Dragons a lot during that time (they’re still a favorite!) The lead singer, Dan Reynolds, has been pretty vocal about his struggle with anxiety and depression so that was probably what drew me to their music.
What other projects are you working on?
I am currently writing a young adult thriller, not a companion to the one I wrote while List of Ten was looking for a home, and currently with my agent, but a second one in the same genre. I also have a young adult contemporary fantasy that is waiting impatiently for another revision. Mostly, I am trying to keep more story ideas from forming!
What advice would you give to your younger self? Would you give this advice to aspiring authors?
I agree with the advice to keep writing and reading, but I wish I knew early on how subjective this industry is. One person may hate your novel while another absolutely loves it!
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
My favorite story that most people don’t know (although my husband tells a lot of people) is that I sold Stephen King his own book! I was working at the Miami Book Fair in Florida and he was a speaker. He needed a book for a reading and insisted on buying it. Said he needed the royalties. Ha! He was very nice and autographed a book for me.
Where can people find you online?
I am on Twitter and Instagram a lot. Twitter: @Halli_Gomez Instagram: @halli_gomez_author
My website is halligomez.com. I have a newsletter and frequently do giveaways for subscribers!
Halli Gomez teaches martial arts and writes for children and young adults. She has written several stories with neurodivergent characters including her young adult novel List of Ten. When no one is looking, she sock skates through the house and talks to dogs like they are human. When people are looking, she enjoys reading, outdoors, and breaking out of escape rooms with her family.
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