Well, I don’t quite have the accolades that my dear friend Amanda over at The Spotted Writer has, but I’ve been dutifully plugging away at this blog consistently since January of 2013, and off and on since 2008. I have no awards save my NaNoWriMo winner sheets, and haven’t done much in the way of surveys to let people know who I am. (Though I do hope the type of thing I talk about has given you some insight! Maybe I should work on that…) But since Amanda gave me such an amazing shoutout on her blog (goodness, I’m blushing) I felt I should tag along off of her Blog Hop and write about my process.
Amanda and I met back when I started this blog, in 2013 at my first semester of graduate school. From the first, she has been a stalwart companion, pushing me to believe both in myself and in my writing and has always pushed me to keep writing, no matter what the topic. She’s interesting in everything I write, and specifically expressed interest in my answers to this blog, so I certainly can’t deny her. I hope she, as well as all of you reading out in the blogosphere, get something interesting out of all of this. (Because honestly, I’m not sure I know what I’m going to say!)
What am I working on?
Too many things at once, if I’m completely honest. Hah! At the forefront, as it has been since I started it in 2009, is the manuscript I hope to earn my MFA degree in. That would be Son of the Revolution, an urban fantasy piece which looks at the concept of marginalization and discrimination from the more fantastical view of vampires and werewolves. (My 10-second version is usually “vampires and the potential end of the world.” I think it suits.) Its protagonist, Alistair Clarimond, is a snarky reluctant hero who would really love nothing more than if the world stopped being so annoyingly high-maintenance and let him go back to hating his life. Over the course of the book, he gets himself right shaken up, and finds himself a whole new person by the end. I’m massively proud of it, and am looking forward to seeing it through to completion.
Also, I’m regularly posting a more high-fantasy serial over on my main webpage called The Quest to Karantiri, which I think I determined I’ve been working on since something like ninth grade. I like to call it “the story of the could-be princess,” a young girl named Celita who has dreams of traveling the world and learning all about the different cultures and creatures that the people of her kingdom have only grow to consider legend. Little does she know that at her coming-of-age at 16, she will learn that she is in fact the heir to her kingdom’s throne, particularly after the still unsolved disappearance of the crown prince some years earlier. It’s only a few chapters in by this point, if you’re interested in picking it up. I post a chapter every Friday. Celita is wonderfully oblivious to the clues around her that she’s Not Quite Normal, and as she progresses into the world, we meet some of my favorite characters I’ve ever written.
On the side of all of THAT (yes I know, I told you I’m working on too much) I have several side projects, the newest of which being a piece I’ve tentatively called The Other Side, which is a YA book about two worlds, bound together by the changing of day into night, and how one side is the only help that might save the other from destruction. It’s still very early on in its first draft, so I won’t go into many details, but I’m looking into branching into a new market which I think might be very interesting and potentially cool for me. And if I go into anything on all of my other projects, I’ll never move on from this question.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Oh goodness, I don’t know. Despite the fact that I learned from my high school art teacher that nothing is truly original anymore (and I still believe in that, Mr. Johnson…) I don’t really think that any two authors are really the same. I write fantasy, but I don’t think I’m anything like Tolkien or Martin or Jordan, or even Hogarth or any of the newer authors. I write dystopian fiction of a sort, but it’s nothing like Roth or Collins. I’m writing from my perspective, whatever the genre. I take the dreams I had as a child for Celita and bring them to life. I take my frustration with society and who I am and how I fit in, and translate them for Alistair. I battle with my own inner duality for Elise and Selene in Other Side. I bring myself to my work, and that’s going to make it different from anyone else in any genre I write in. Shouldn’t every author strive for that?
Why do I write what I do?
Because the characters asked me to.
And I know that sounds schizophrenic and you’re all backing away now, but the truth of the matter is that I, like many author before me, believe that my works have a live beyond myself and my brain. They come into my mind and my world because they believe that I am the best outlet for them. I am the scribe of their world (or worlds) to mine, and that gives me a sense of duty to share their world with you all. And those characters awaken a passion in me like nothing else ever has. If a story doesn’t excite me somehow, I struggle to write it. When I was younger, I wrote to express feelings and frustrations I couldn’t deal with reasonably in my “real world.” I wrote to punch people in the face when I didn’t actually want to deal with the repercussions of punching a classmate in the face. I wrote to be in love when no one seemed to want to love me. I wrote to have adventure when I felt stuck in my small rural town.
And I still do. I write to escape, I write to share, I write because I have to. Some people say money burns a hole in their pocket. I write because the stories burn a hole in my soul.
How does my writing process work?
Rather erratically, hah. I try to write something at least a little every day, and very often I fail. I don’t read as much as I should. I’m very easily distracted and Facebook and Tumblr are just sirens to productivity. But when I do manage to get myself writing, I can usually write incredibly rapidly. (See November and the National Novel Writing Month, where as Amanda mentioned, last year I wrote over 100,000 words between two projects. Now if only I could keep that up all year round…) I have found it’s very difficult to write if I’m not on my desktop computer at my desk. (Or really, just at my desktop. I have a laptop, and I can write on it, but it’s much harder, particularly if it’s on my novel-length works, which I use Scrivener for. Something about the size of the screen combined with the format of the Windows Scrivener program and my mind just locks up. But other than that, it’s just a matter of sitting down and doing the writing.
I’ll often listen to music (or try) when I’m writing as well. Son of the Revolution was written almost entirely to the band Hinder; Alistair wouldn’t talk to me if it wasn’t playing. Other Side seems to lean toward Celtic music. Rather Large Puddle changes from time to time, but I often lean toward the kind of music I listened to in high school: My Chemical Romance, Linkin Park, All-American Rejects, that kind of thing. But I’ve also had projects which could not be written with music. Karantiri is very finicky and will only co-exist with music occasionally. It’s so particular to the project, it’s hard to predict anything. But I rather like my work that way. It’s more fun if I don’t know what’s coming. (Which is why I never, never outline. Never. Once it’s outlined, it may as well go to the graveyard and die. I can’t write from an outline. Never could.)
Oh goodness. Well, I’ll tag a couple writers, and those who have time can do it. I’d love to see…
Denise Drespling: A wonderful friend of mine and a fabulously talented author. If I learn to wrangle social media as effectively as her, I’ll be a happy camper. Not only does she write a fabulous blog, she’s also a whiz at nail art! One of the only people I’d allowed to paint my nails, and I was most pleased with how they turned out. (Even if I may never make a habit of it. Sorry, Denise.) Fellow MFA student and all around great person.
Lyn Thorne-Alder: One of the few authors I know who may have more balls in the air than I do, and also the writer in whose attic I live! Lyn is fabulously talented and does not get the attention she deserves. She’s currently working on two serials, Edally Academy and Inner Circle, both of which are pretty cool. (I will warn you, I think that Circles does/will get a little NSFW, so read at your own discretion. Edally is much more YA and steampunk based.) She’s also the author of the Addergoole series, part of her Fae Apoc universe. You can read Year 5 (the first serial) here and Year 9 here, though do note: in the coming future, Year 5 will be getting a serious overhaul and Kickstarter, so keep your eyes peeled.
M.C.A. Hogarth: If you’re on this blog and you’ve read anything I’ve posted, you know Micah. A good friend, a brilliant writer, a talented artist, and so much more. Also if you heard any of the snafu between Games Workshop and the author writing about space marines? Yup, that’s her. Here’s her website which you should all check out and buy all of her books because honestly…well, haven’t I told her enough, at least? Brilliant science fiction, space opera, fantasy…everything. Yes. Books. Do this thing.
Kyell Gold: An author I’ve only just become familiar with, but one who I’m very interested in. I own one of his books and started reading a snippet of something else online and got absolutely sucked in. He’s best known for writing male homosexual romance in the furry sphere, so if you check out his website, you’d best be okay with that (and over 18, as the warning will tell you). Lovely written prose, excellent imagery, and a really nice guy on top of it. He and two friends walked me to my car late one night after a convention. I am eternally grateful.
I think that’s enough (and goodness this post is long), so I’ll let my other authors take it from here!