I'm a former high school AP English teacher, now writing young adult books. Immortelle (Penguin, 2014) will feature Lafayette Cemetery in New Orleans in the story of a girl who finds mysterious mementoes there and a family that's losing their business and their home. This is Not a Drill (Penguin, 2012) is about two high schoolers who are tutoring first graders when a dad, home from Iraq with PTSD, pulls a gun in the classroom and holds the students hostage. Last Bus Out (2010) is the true story of a Courtney MIles, who stole a bus and drove over 300 people out of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
I love to travel, read, write, and hang out in cafes to people watch. For many years, I took my high school students to Europe in summers. (Oh, the stories! And those experiences made me an exceptionally flexible traveler.) Airbnb has been a great way to meet people and live like a resident instead of a tourist in the cities I visit for book promotion. I've had the most amazing hosts. Those who are willing to share their homes are generous, open-minded, and friendly, I've found. It's a great way to travel!