It liiiiiiiives! Yes, a fresh new blog post courtesy of the darling Faith McKay, who tagged me for this Liebster Award blog hoppy type thing.
Faith has given me questions which I shall proceed to answer, and then I’m also expected to give you random facts about myself. I suppose I will do this.
What was the first story you ever wrote?
I don’t have distinct memories of stories I wrote as a young child. What I DO remember distinctly is my first attempt at a novel, when I was fourteen. It was a science-fiction romance called FROZEN TO THE FUTURE about a Neptunian princess who, after an attack on her planet from Pluto, was cryogenically frozen and jettisoned into space. She eventually made it to Earth, centuries in the future. It was a trilogy and I was damn serious about it. I had a Writer’s Market book and I was going to query agents. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I actually had, haha.
And of course it was only a year later that I started working on what would eventually become FROM UNDER THE MOUNTAIN, the high fantasy novel I currently have on submission.
What was your favorite book as a child?
According to this article from 1998, I liked The Secret Garden because it “gives parents one of the ways you can make a spoiled, rotten child into a little angel (if you have a pretty garden).” I was nine, and already a fan of the classics.
You get to have dinner with your favorite fictional family. Who’s at the table?
Tough call! I’m going to go ahead and say the Weasleys, though. But like Sorcerer’s Stone-era Weasleys, before EVERYONE DIED. #ripfred
What’s your favorite season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer? (If you’ve never seen it, I’m giving you the look.)
Season 6. Hands down the most emotionally intense season. But also anything and everything having to do with Faith.
Do you prefer drafting or revising? Why?
I prefer revising. I outline pretty thoroughly so I don’t usually make major changes, but I’m able to dig into the nuances and layers in the words and that, to me, is where the magic really happens. You go from sketching out the shapes to going in there with a nice clean pencil and making decisions about the final look.
Do you have a process for naming your characters?
I do, actually, haha. With my fantasy characters, I either choose old-fashioned names (like Desmond or Ephram), or I just yank random letters from the middle of words. For example, I have an Academia Duellatoria flyer on my cork board right now, and that yielded me two names for new characters: Demia and Toria. I also named a governor Iver after the word “diverse.”
When it comes to my paranormal characters, they’re all contemporary people, so I just look for names that fit their feeling. I also try to make sure not to use a lot of names that start with the same letter unless I’m looking to make a direct parallel, like with siblings Lee and Lucinda.
How do you handle telling people you’re a writer? Do you tell them what you write?
“I’m an author. Yeah, I write speculative fiction, paranormal, high fantasy, that kind of thing. I have a couple ebooks out now. You’re not afraid of spiders, are you? Oh? Ah, well, nevermind. For now.”
What do you listen to while you write?
Usually nothing. Sometimes I’ll put music on–instrumental if I’m working on my high fantasy. Very rarely will I attach a particular artist to a project. For example, I listened to almost nothing but Lana Del Rey while writing THE LONGING AND THE LACK because she struck just the right twisted, sexy tone. Ellie Goulding also provided a great soundtrack to a now-drawered sci-fi I pansted in 2013.
Do you prefer to write in the morning, or at night?
My routine now is to write first thing in the morning, before I check my email or anything. That lets me get into it without getting distracted by all the stuff I have to do. I write for 2-3 hours, then exercise, then move onto my other work.
Do you pick favorites with your own characters?
Haha yes. I do. But they all become dear to me in their own way, which is why I have so many companion novels and supplementary stories planned. Often my favorite won’t be the one I thought either. I’ve had throwaway characters rise to serious prominence because I felt something in them that the story needed.
What would your dream writing office look like?
I have a pretty great office set up now, actually. I’ve got my desk, which is actually a shelving unit, so it has my desktop and storage; and then I have the mobile laptop table where my keyboard and mouse are. I have a cork board for handwritten notes and a giant two-month dry erase calendar. And, of course, for decor I have my TARDIS and a sweet wooden trophy-style deer head that I got in Scotland. It’s painted silver and I love it. And I have a bunch of other knickknacks that make me happy. The only thing that would make it better would be a cozy armchair for guests.
ELEVEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME!
- I love owls. Barn owls are my favorite because they’re so creepy. (Go look up the sound a barn owl makes. I’ll wait. ISN’T IT WONDERFUL? THEY SOUND LIKE THE NAZGUL)
- Before I started dating my husband, I had never traveled outside of the East Coast US timezone.
- I have lived in 17 different homes/apartments (18 if you count my college apartments separately, which I did not) and 13 different towns/cities. I am BOSS at moving, but also all I want right now is to stay in one home for more than a year.
- I’m bi- and demi-sexual.
- I will never say no to spaghetti for dinner.
- Despite my love of high fantasy I have read shockingly few of the big-name fantasy authors–but I have read Tamora Pierce’s entire oeuvre and she was incredibly formative for me. But it was a long time ago and I’m desperate to do it again.
- I swore I’d never like coffee. As a young adult I’d drink Mountain Dew morning, noon, and night. Then one of my college friends started working at Starbucks and she basically got me to like coffee.
- Following that, I was a coffee devotee until recently. I’ve switched to tea because of the amount of sugar I was putting in my coffee (SO MUCH SUGAR. But I take my tea straight), and because the taste was beginning to wear on me.
- I dislike nearly all poetry except for Mina Loy, Edgar Allan Poe, and Marilyn Hacker. I do enjoy slam poetry though. I also do write poetry myself occasionally, or at least I did in the past.
- I am a theater nerd and once had serious aspirations toward becoming an actress.
- My dog’s full name is Mockingjay because I adopted him right after I read that book and I actually loved it, unlike some of my friends.
NOW I MUST TAG PEOPLE
Except I’m actually not really into tagging people to participate in this kind of thing. It’s totally bad of me but I get very anxious about singling others out. So if you are an author and blogger consider this your OPEN INVITATION.
Here are your questions.
- What author is inspiring you right now?
- How has your writing changed since you started? As in, has your style or focus shifted from what you originally set out to or thought you’d write?
- What do you do to overcome doubt or insecurity?
- What do you do to celebrate accomplishments big and small?
- Favorite writing beverage?
- Dreamcast: who would play the main character in the movie version of your novel?
- What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched for a manuscript?
- Who is your favorite Doctor? (You know what kind of Doctor I mean.)
- How do you prioritize your to-be-read pile?
- If you could go on a swanky writers’ retreat, where would it be? (Mountains? Tropical island? Historic city?)
- Would you rather live in a post-apocalyptic anarchic world a la The Walking Dead, or work for the Alliance (Firefly–but you knew that of course)?