Greetings and salutations! (Wait, aren’t those the same things?) For a little over a week I’ve been off at lands afar, partaking in grand adventures. And by that I mean I’ve been out of town staying with my bestie, but it is always an adventure when we’re together. But all good things must come to an end; goodbyes were said and I have returned. Though the comfort of home is never unwelcome.
But I digress.
Now that I am back and settling into things once more, I’m excitedly (or excitedingly like I accidentally first typed up. . .I think I like that better) I’m excitedingly taking part of this month’s BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE. *confetti* Yes, Beautiful People is back after its 3 month hiatus where our benevolent hosts, Sky and Cait, put up a NaNoWriMo themed linkup called Beautiful Books instead. (Which was FABULOUS. Thanks so much, you two!) Oh, but it gets better. This is a special edition of BP. Instead of answering questions about our choice of character, all questions are centered on. . .the AUTHOR. Yes, us. Pretty awesome, right? Obviously you don’t want to miss this one. I know you don’t. So head on over to Sky's post or Cait's, snag the questions, and link up. Our characters don’t always have to take the spotlight. . .even if they think they do.
So off we go to answer questions about. . .me. *winces* Scary thought, I know. Hopefully everyone’s sanity will still be intact by the end. (But is sanity all that important anyway?)
1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?
I first started writing 13 years ago when I was a wee thing of 9, with nary a clue of what I was doing. (Okay, I still don’t know. Living life obliviously is how I roll.) Since then I always claimed I loved to write, but I guess I didn’t really make it my life until after my first NaNoWriMo in 2010. That’s when I realized how passionate I really was about the writing life and from then on started taking it seriously.
2. How/why did you start writing?
Stories have always been a part of me. I was reading books since I was four and imagined fairies dancing in the trees out my window every night. But it never occurred to me that I could write out my own stories until someone in my homeschool group passed out sheets for a contest to write a short story. I have no memory what that contest was for, but when I saw it I knew I wanted to write something.
I snagged a notebook and pencil, headed outside, settled barefoot in the grass, and started writing. What was supposed to be a short story became much longer, but I didn’t care. The contest went far from my mind. I had discovered something. I was creating. And I couldn’t stop, I didn’t want to. And so I didn’t.
A year later when I discovered the world of Tolkien, I knew that the life of a fantasy writer was the one for me. I’ve since delved into some other genres, but whatever I write always holds some element of the unrealistic. Whether it be fantasy, time travel, or people who can read memories or have wings—realistic fiction isn’t the one for me.
Because I still like to think fairies dance out my window each night.
3. What’s your favorite part of writing?
THE CHARACTERS. Without a doubt. And that covers all aspects of character. Whether it’s creating them, fleshing them out, writing about them, listening to them argue in my head (what? I know I’m not the only one), or anything in between. I write because there are people in my head demanding I tell their story. I love people. I love studying different personality types. Learning how people tick. Thinking up silly quirks. I just love the characters.
4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?
Oh goodness, there’s just so many! XD I guess keeping my stories at an acceptable length. Good gravy, do I write ridiculously long novels! Condensing my stories is something I’m really trying to work on here lately. Short stories and I just never seem to get on. . .
5. Do you write best at night or day?
Definitely at night. Although I actually do most of my writing during the day. I like to have my nights to read or watch TV and just not worry about working on anything. But when I do take the time to write at night, I get my best stuff out. Which means I should do that more. . . There’s something about the darkness and the house being quiet that really gets my muse flowing.
6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!)
7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?
That’s changed a lot through the years. Used to I’d take eternity (aka a few years) to finish anything. But ever since I began taking my writing seriously. . .erm. . .4 to 6 months maybe? But that’s why I love NaNoWriMo so much because it makes me finish something in just a month or two.
8. How many projects do you work on at once?
I usually can only focus on one thing at a time. If I try to do multiple things I end up favoring one and abandoning the other. I always have so many idea and things I want to work on, but I know if I just jumped from one project to the next I’d never finish any of them. It’s quite sad. So instead I force myself to finish one before I can start another. That way I get it done and it keeps me motivated to actually do it.
But I have worked on a couple of projects at once before. One year I was writing the first draft of one story while rewriting another. And this year I did NaNo while polishing up my Beauty and the Beast novella (that was a bit chaotic. . .). But for all other projects I kept them each my sole focus.
9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?
I’ve always been a firm believer in happy endings. You can torture characters left and right at beginnings and middles, but I want endings to make me smile. All that said though, I have become more open minded. I’d rather not super heartbreaking endings, but the bittersweet ones can really make an impact. After all, life isn’t all about happily ever afters. A touch of sadness can be laced into the ending as long as the reader is left with satisfaction for the most part. Overall, I love writing happy endings, but on occasion I’ll end it on a bittersweet note.
10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.
J.R.R. Tolkien is absolutely the biggest influence of writing I’ve ever had. I write what I do because of him. But there have definitely been countless others that have helped shape my style and stories. C. S. Lewis, Bryan Davis, Jill Williamson, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Donita K. Paul, Diana Wynne Jones—just to name a few.
11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?
For years and years and years I never let anyone take a peek at my writing. The idea terrified my beyond belief. I mean, someone seeing one of my silly stories? *crawls under blanket* The self-conscious problems were strong. Not to mention everything I had were first drafts, and my first drafts are akin to pigsties. But just a couple of years ago when I finally took the initiative to actually edit something and I befriended some wonderful writing buddies in the land of the internets, I tentatively allowed mortal eyes to see my creations. And. . .it wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was almost nice. I still get a bit nervous, but I’ve gotten more used to it and am learning to be brave. I also loooove having feedback because I’m always on a quest to make my stories better, so having suggestions is a wonderful thing!
12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?
As any writer, it has always been my dream to have my stories out in the published world. But my ultimate goal is to use the gift and passion God has given me to glorify His kingdom. Whether that be by touching the lives of a few close friends or having my stories out in the world, I want it all for Him.
13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?
Don’t. . .don’t write? *sputtering noises* Cannot. . .compute. I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question. This is a joke, right?
All right, all right. I have always had a heart for troubled girls. Ever since I was pretty young, I had a longing to be a part of or found my own home for girls who need help and have nowhere else to go. Or even just on a smaller scale by lending an ear to those in need. I don’t know where God wants me to go with this longing really, but I’ve always felt as if He’s preparing me for something. It’s definitely something I want to pursue. Or who knows, maybe my stories can help me connect with girls in need. I don’t know. Basically I want to follow whatever is God’s plan for me.
14. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet?
I do have one story idea that I really love. It came to me probably a year ago and stays in the back of my mind. It’s an Arthurian Legend story that switches back and forth from King Arthur’s time to modern day, connecting the two stories. But I want it set in England, and to really have that England feel. To have real places and real streets and the real culture of England. But, ya know, I’ve never been in England. I know people write stories set in places they’ve never been to all the time, that’s what research (and Google maps) is for after all. But. . .I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like it’s the right time for this story. I’d love more than anything to visit England myself and then write the story. Who knows if that will ever happen, but happen or not, I just know now isn’t the time for this story. It’s going to be far bigger a project than anything I’ve ever written and I really want to make it right.
15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go?
There’s a special place in my heart for every single story I’ve ever written. Each time I write one I think it’s my favorite story. Asking this is like asking a mother to choose a favorite of her children. With each story I’ve smiled, I’ve struggled. I’ve laughed and had the time of my life and learned something new. They’re each an adventure I’d never want to let go of or forget. Even the ones I’ll never revise. With each book I write I grow more and more. So, to answer your question, they all have my heart.