How long have you been writing or when did you start?
I started writing back when I was 9. The stories weren’t that good. They lacked good sentence structure, and they kind of ran-on in odd plots that made little sense, but they were creative, and some of those old ideas are still wonderful today. I started writing my main novel series that I’ working on today when I was 16. Again, it kind of ran-on, and some of the plots didn’t make sense, but the ideas, maps, story-world culture, and characters were there. I started writing more professionally about ten years ago. I dredged the 16 year old book back into light and began editing it, turning a 60 page story into four novels that became, ultimately, at this point, part of a 23 novel series.
What is the most difficult part of your writing process?
I’d say the most difficult part of the writing process is the outside world. Some would complain it’s staring a blank page and deciding how to write the first draft. Others might say it’s editing and changing that first draft later on. I suppose others still would say it’s the business end of writing in the sense of advertising and selling the final product, but I think it’s the human world we’re a part of. At any point in the writing process, you’ll face writing blocks. This will happen at the first, second, third, and final draft stage. You’ll face them when you’re first thinking the concept up and when you’re publishing and selling it. These blocks come, for the most part, from the world around us. Work issues, family issues, life issues – these emotional blocks pop up creating hurdles that interfere with the writing process, creating the writing blocks that need to be overcome when writing any novel, novella, or article.
What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
Both? Sometimes, I have an inspiration to write a story about people looking for treasure on an island that’s guarded by snakes or a dragon (not a real example but figurative). This is often the case with my novels. Other times, for my short stories primarily, I’ll start out wanting to write a story about an elderly woman or young man because I haven’t written a story about either yet, and I haven’t written a story about an accountant or a dancer, so the elderly woman is an accountant, and the young man is a dancer. This forces me to expand my writing experience by writing characters I haven’t explored before, so in the case of my short stories, I often start with characters.
What’s your favorite and least favorite part of publishing?
My favourite part would be knowing it’s out there for people to buy. My least favourite part would be the publishing itself. The business end of writing, the publishing, is arduous, frustrating, and just plain aggravating. It’s a process of taking your finely tuned work of literature and making it fit what the publisher wants from it, which means shaping and changing it to some extent, or it means making sure the epub code is just right and that the cover fits the exact measurements required by someone on the other side of the world. It’s very frustrating when you just want to write stories, not do this business end of the work.
How did you come up with the title for your book?
I go through many titles for each book. I brainstorm different ideas on what the book’s about: its main theme, its main plot, its more popular adventures maybe. I write them all down and usually don’t go with them, so I try some very key words spoken in the novel. Or I think on the main characters to see if one of my character names should be part of the title. In the end, most of the time, I go back to the main theme and action and combine this with a key word or character name. In other words, I don’t have a usual way of picking the title. I play around with many ideas before I find one that fits.
What inspired the idea for your book?
For my short stories, I just try to come with a story plot I haven’t tried before, and I write a story about that bit of action (a person mining for gold but finds, something else; a person using a metal detector on an alien planet who uncovers, something dangerous; or two people discover they have … something strange in common and follow that along to learn something wondrous). I just want to see if I can write that story since I haven’t done it before, so I do. For my novels, I just focus my thoughts and mentally try out different ideas to see what’ll work best, to see what inspires me. I might go walks or sit and meditate, or maybe I’ll write different ideas out and see if anything sticks.
What part of the book did you have the hardest time writing?
I wouldn’t say any part of a book is harder than any other. They’re each difficult in their own right. The opening is tricky since it sets the tone for the rest of the novel. The middle of the book needs to carry the action and do that well. And the ending needs to make the journey worth taking, so it carries a heavy weight too. I think the hardest part is likely the part you’re writing now. When you’re done it, you’ll find the new part is now the hardest, until you finish it; then it’ll be the new part. Whatever part you’re currently writing will feel the hardest, but only until you’ve finished it.
What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
This is another fun answer. Sometimes, I need a movie that I know well playing when I’m writing. I’m not watching it. It’s just a bit of distraction for me when I need a break from writing. If I’m on a first draft, I need silence, so no people or movie. I have mostly blank walls where I write to help me at all times. Less visual distraction on the walls allows for a blanker canvas of ideas in that sense, but as for audio and visual extras, I employ music or movies too (as long as it’s not the first draft).
What is your kryptonite as a writer?
Civil wars. I’ve found I can’t write about civil wars. They’re one of those ultimate forms of betrayal of self, and of friends and family, and I’ve found that just can’t write a story on that theme, so I avoid it at all costs.
If your book were made into a movie, which actors would play your characters?
I wouldn’t pretend to know. I see movies as a different version of a book. Movie adaptations usually do hack jobs of their books, so we need to see them as not the same. The book has its universe, and the movie has its own parallel run. As such, it can have any actors it would like, and I’d let anyone act in it. Someone else can decide. This is also the best solution really since I don’t think I’d like any movie adaptation of one of my books. I’d love to see it happen, of course. I just don’t think I’d like it with all the changes they’d likely make, so it’s safest if I’m not involved in the actor selection in the least.
What is the future for the characters? Will there be a sequel?
My main novel series will have 23 novels when I’m done it. I have a second novel series for young adult that currently has 10 books. In each case, characters are continued on. Some die in the 23-book novel series, but they’re still alive in the 10-book series. In fact, I’m thinking of staring an 11th book for that 10-book series where there’s been a time jump. The previous main characters are now twenty years old and mentoring new main characters. In other novels, characters aren’t continued. They have a one-time adventure.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I watch lectures and play video games, when not working for a living. The need for paying, non-writing work unfortunately takes up a fair bit of time, but I manage to fit ample writing in each night, about four hours when I can.
How long have you been writing or when did you start?