- When did you first start writing?
I began writing when I was 13, after finishing Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, and finding myself completely unready to be finished with it.
- What was your favorite book growing up?
Funnily, I refused to even touch books until they were forced upon me at age 12. But after that… picking a favourite is so hard.
It would have to be either Demon in My View, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (which I must’ve read at least 7 times by now!) or The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith. Those are the most memorable, but there were so many.
- Are you an avid reader?
Very much so! As a teenager, I wouldn’t leave my room without a book on hand. Unfortunately, I found the amount I read dwindling after High School, but have recently made new efforts to fit in more reading time.
- Have you ever thrown a book across the room?
Only half a dozen times.
- Did you take writing courses in school/college?
I am currently studying Creative Writing as one of my majors at Massey University. I’ve also attended a number of young writer’s workshops at the public library.
- Have you read any writing-advice books?
I believe I picked up a few in High School… Not sure I ever finished them though! Definitely some value in there somewhere, but mostly if I’m looking for advice I go straight to google to hear from my fav authors.
- Have you ever been part of a critique group?
Group critique is part of my writing studies at uni, but not outside of the class room, no.
- What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever gotten?
“Hurry up and finish writing this so I can read it!”
I can be very shy about who reads my writing. I’m actually more comfortable with strangers reading it than friends and family – those are the people whose opinions matter, haha.
- What’s the worst piece of feedback you’ve ever gotten?
Very early on, I once gave the FIRST DRAFT of Forbidden (my first novel) to my English teacher. His response was, “well I mean, it’s very impressive that you’ve even written an entire book to begin with…” but that was about as far as the praise went!
Don’t listen to your teachers, kids – not if they’re dicks.
- What’s your biggest writer pet-peeve?
Hmmm… Either having the desire to write without the words to put down, or maybe “but are you really a writer if you aren’t published?” Or perhaps, “that’s a cool hobby; but what do you really want to do with your life?”
- What’s your favorite book cover?
Now that’s a truly impossible pick! Anything with some gothic romantic theme, or a badass woman front and center.
- Who is your favorite author?
Again with the favourites! I’m currently obsessed with Sarah J. Maas, but Laurel K. Hamilton and Keri Arthur are close follows.
- What’s your favorite writing quote?
I don’t know that I have one of those… Let me come back to this one day.
- What’s your favorite writing blog?
- What would you say has inspired you the most?
Amelia Atwater-Rhodes I guess has been the biggest inspiration. Aside from her writing being what led me down this path, I was always so amazed and encouraged by the fact that she was published so young – when she was only… 14 or 15?
- How do you feel about movies based on books?
There are so few that actually do a good job and get the details right that I cringe when I hear about adaptations. I’m always really excited to see how they turn out though, and there certainly are some really good ones out there (Harry Potter of course!). On the other hand, they seriously botched City of Glass by Cassandra Claire.
- Would you like your books to be turned into TV shows, movies, video games, or none?
If they could do it right, I would just adore it. I have a preference for movie adaptations, because I hate how far t.v. shows end up deviating from the original story (cough, cough, vampire diaries).
- How do you feel about love triangles?
I used to adore them, and I certainly don’t mind reading them now, but I don’t know that I’d write them myself.
- Do you prefer writing on a computer or longhand?
Preference is typing it out, by a long shot, but I will write on whatever I can get my hands on. I rarely leave the house without a book or refill paper + pens on hand. I used to write all during school, I got in so much trouble for it! And I would come home with pages and pages and pages of hand-written stuff. I still have three workbooks and two clear-files just full of hand-written bits and pieces, some of it from years ago.
- What’s your favorite writing program?
Not sure about “writing programs” per-say, but I’m a huge fan of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – look it up!), even if I’ve never managed to reach the goal myself.
- Do you outline?
Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Mostly I kind of come up with a vague plot line and just start writing, letting it take its own form from there. I’ve found if I plan too thoroughly, I can get really blocked because I’ve already played it all out in my head and actually writing it becomes boring. I love when I’m so fully engrossed in my books that I don’t even know what’s going to happen next, but the words just fly onto the page and I discover it as I go. Truly surreal experience.
But at the same time, I’ve found if I don’t know enough details – especially important ones, like exactly just who the killer is, then I freeze up.
- Do you start with characters or plot?
Again, sometimes one, sometimes the other. I once started an entire book based on this one guy I saw on a bus across the country once. Tall, thin, and pale with long blond hair; circular black sunglasses and a purple velvet suit! His whole look just seemed to scream vampire at me and thus, I had Antonio of Condemned.
And sometimes I’ll start reading a book (or watching a TV show or movie), and I’ll get the impression of a certain story line and then it will veer off in a different direction and I’m left wanting to read whatever concept my mind created out of thin air, and I’ll adapt from there.
- What’s your favorite & least favorite part of making characters?
I think I struggle sometimes to diversify the casts of my stories… Sometimes it’s easier than others, but defining characteristic differences between two imaginary people can trip me up. After all, it’s said that every character resembles a small piece of yourself (or else, how do you write them?), so they’re all different versions of you. I have to work to put in traits and things that don’t come naturally to me – for example, trying to keep a character who doesn’t swear.
My favourite thing is when they more or less pop up fully formed, back-story and everything. Sometimes they’re a little too formed though; I recently found myself writing a scene I’d planned out in my head, but once I tried to put the words to paper, the words tumbling from Olivia’s mouth kept driving it in a completely different direction!
- What’s your favorite & least favorite part of plotting?
As mentioned before, plotting needs to be a delicate balance of knowing enough, but not too much. Sussing most of the book before hand doesn’t work for me, because I have to put the story down for months before I’m unblocked enough to come back to it. Though I also quite enjoy thinking a story will go one way, and realizing half way through that it can’t possibly end that way. It makes me feel like I’ve done some really good character development.
- What advice would you give to young writers?
Don’t listen to your English teacher! At least, not if they’re a dick. Don’t let anyone’s negative comments bring you down – if writing’s what you love, then it’s something you’ve gotta do with or without public approval. There’s a market for everything out there, and you’ll never please everyone anyway.
Most of all, write for yourself. The biggest mojo killer is thinking about how your intended audience will receive your stories. That doesn’t matter – there’s a market for everything, remember?
And also read. You’ll see this so, so often and that’s because it’s really the only way you can write with any real fluency or inspiration. It took me a really long time to realize that the reason I went months between being able to write anything was because I wasn’t reading anything.
- Which do you enjoy reading the most: physical, ebook, or both?
As much as I’d love to preach about the environment and all, nothing will ever beat having a physical book in your possession. I am fanatical with everything about them – the smell of them, the glossy covers, the beautiful cover art, the site of all my dozens of books on the shelves, the satisfaction of collecting a series all in the same cover edition… It’s my drug addiction.
- Which is your favorite genre to write?
I’ve found over the years that reading and writing alike hold two rules for me. First, it’s gotta have a romance plot. I live and breathe for that sexual tension. Second, ain’t no book getting done cover to cover – read or written – that doesn’t take place in some paranormal / fantasy reality. Vampires, and werewolves, and faeries – oh my!
- Which do you find hardest: the beginning, the middle, or the end?
This can vary between stories, but actually the middles are what throw me. I can set a book up and know where it’s going to end, but getting from A to B sometimes is a real bitch.
- Which do you find easiest: writing or editing?
Writing for sure. It’s free, it’s flowing, it’s intoxicating. Editing requires you to slow down and pay attention to your sentence structure, to your details, and it loses the magic of being in another world.
- Have you ever written fan-fiction?
While I don’t think I ever pursued it intentionally, I came to the realization that my first book, the original draft of Forbidden, was technically a fanfiction of Demon in My View. I wasn’t ready to be done with the story yet, it couldn’t just end there – so I wrote it myself. It’s take a lot of work and rewrites to get that story to the point where I consider it my own original piece.
- Have you ever been published?
Not a novel, no, but I used to write for Tearaway Magazine – book reviews mostly, and I put together an interview for Rochelle Mead. But it’s certainly the ‘one-day’ dream.
- How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?
As I’ve said above, I can feel really shy and self-conscious about people I know reading my stuff – especially anything with sex in it. I care much more what they think, and have to interact with them afterwards too, so it’s scary. I know it’ll have to happen one day, but I usually put a piece through rigorous editing before letting someone see it. I’m not sure my mother has even seen anything I’ve written yet.
- Are you interested in having your work published?
Abso-fucking-lutely. I’ve dreamt of it for years and years – and I don’t even care about making money off it (though of course it would be more than a little satisfactory!). The idea of seeing MY book, printed and bound and on a library or bookstore shelf… it makes me wish I could write endlessly, shut myself away for an entire week and write non-stop until I finish something that I can put out there.
- Describe your writing space.
I write anywhere and everywhere. I know that’s not ‘proper practice’ or whatever, and I kind of which I had a Potter-cupboard, a lil room under the stairs or something that I could cozy up in and write. For now though, I write in bed, I write sitting on the couch, I write on my lap in the car or at my desk in classes.
- What’s your favorite time of day for writing?
I think I have a tendency to write most at night. Back when I could get away with it without consequences, I would stay up all night at my desk, sit down at 5pm and go non-stop until 3 or 4 or even 5 in the morning before going to bed. Oh, the good old days! Now I write when there’s time, and also sometimes when there’s not.
- Do you listen to music when you write?
Usually, yes. I end up with playlists that change every couple of months, just a short list of songs that have a certain mood, and that just plays in the background. Songs I’m familiar enough with that I don’t feel inclined to stop and pay attention to the lyrics.
- What’s your oldest WIP?
In a way, I consider all of my writing a work in progress. My first novel, that I started at age 13, is still a work in progress. I’ve rewritten that book 4 or so times by now, but somethings always different by the end – either my writing style, or something else, and I’m never satisfied.
- What’s your current WIP?
My current focus is Tiger’s Eye. I’m really hoping to get the book finished by the end of the year and move onto the sequel next year.
- What’s the weirdest story idea you’ve ever had?
I… I’m not sure… I just consulted my list of novel-outlines I’ve put aside to maybe pick up in the future and none of them really stick out to me as bizarre, but you could definitely say there a huge variation of stuff in there. Ghosts, goddesses, and shapeshifters; post-apocalyptic, historical, and complete fantasy world settings; there’s a little bit of everything that falls under romance and paranormal I guess.
- Which is your favorite original character, and why?
My “favourite” character is subject to change depending on what I’m inspired about at any given moment. Currently, I suppose I’m enamored with Olivia, my tiger-shape-shifting assassin. Tiger’s Eye is aiming to be a real psychological mind-fuck, bringing up some really out there concepts that theoretically make the reader question their views of that which society usually shuns. Thus, she’s quite a complex character with a lot of emotional baggage and I wouldn’t say she’s fun to write, but I find her exciting to engage with.
- What do you do when characters don’t follow the outline?
That depends how set I am on having it in there. I’m usually willing to flip things up if my original ending doesn’t quite pan out, but I found myself trying to force Olivia back on track a couple times in very specific scenes I’ve planned out.
- Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?
Maybe… *evil chuckling to myself*.
I actually struggle to write without the suffering, I guess? I mean how else do you explain creating a character raised to kill people, tortured from childhood to become the ultimate psychopath (which didn’t quite work; instead she’s just really, really fucked up). Isn’t it wonderful?
- Have you ever killed a main character?
I don’t think so, actually… I’ve killed people off early on in stories, in order to set events in motion, but I have yet to kill off someone really central – though I’ve certainly considered it on occasion, and there’ve been plenty of near-death experiences.
- What’s the weirdest character concept you’ve ever come up with?
Did I tell you about Olivia?
Actually, I’m starting to wonder what I would consider ‘weird’. After another scan of my story list, there’s no one that really seems odd to me; at least no one beyond the usual fantasy realms. I suppose Aiden is a hunky faerie who goes berserk whenever he uses his magic? And there’s this one book concept involving a genie playing games with high school students…
- What’s your favorite character name?
I have a thing for very particular names, things that look and/or sound exotic or unusual… Irish names really do it for me I guess… I like names with A’s and S’s and O’s and C’s. Amelie, Sebastian, Olivia, Celeste, Aiden, Sandra, Osiris, Ciara.
- Describe your perfect writing space.
A little Potter-cupboard under the stairs with a been bag and and entire floor of cushions; the tallest wall would be a book shelf, there would be pretty earthy decorations and some candles; a bright ceiling light, but also a small lamp so I can write in the dark if I feel the urge…
- If you could steal one character from another author and make then yours, who would it be and why?
That’s a really hard question and I’m not really sure on the answer… I’m quite enamored with Damon from Vampire Diaries, and Dorian from Throne of Glass. Also, *drools* Aubrey from Demon in My View.
- If you could write the next book of any series, which one would it be, and what would you make the book about?
These are getting really tricky! I don’t think I’d actually like to take over anyone else’s books; I don’t think I’d be able to do the characters justice, and part of the fun of it is that I don’t have to do the writing part in order to read it, haha. But there are perhaps a few books out there that I wouldn’t mind writing a spin-off for – not that I can name any right now.
- If you could write a collaboration with another author, who would it be and what would you write about?
I’m inclined to say Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, or maybe Laurel K. Hamilton or Keri Arthur. I feel that they’re the biggest influences on my own writing style, I think our writings would mesh reasonable well; plus I read like everything they write, and it would be a dream to collaborate with one of them. And it would undoubtedly involve vampires.
- If you could live in any fictional world, which would it be?
Jessica’s world from Demon in My View? Sabriel’s world by Garth Nix? Again, I can’t choose!
If you’re still here after all that then you deserve a box of chocolates. There we have it, 50 writing questions I’ve always wanted an excuse to fill out!
Thanks for sticking around this long and I hope you’ve gained something from the experience.