A: Only one? How about one each instead? Living – J. K. Rowling. Dead – Jane Austen.
A: Watching HGTV shows and seeing beige and subway tiles used in design. I can’t stand either one. I can’t stand beige because it’s so bland that there is nothing inspiring about it. Beige (and denim blue carpet) reads government building to me. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have worked and gone to school in beige environments. I don’t want it at home. Give me gray as a neutral any day of the week. I think it’s prettier. I loathe subway tiles because they are the exact same material as the tiles being replaced (because they feel old and outdated… so why get the same look again?) The only difference I can see is shape and color – from square to rectangle, from beige to white. Both trends read old and dirty to me… and government building. Don’t deny it. Now that I’ve pointed it out you feel the same, right?
A: Probably wherever the story gets really clever. For instance, two moments that stick out to me in book one are when Zaria and her friends are imprisoned in Trolgar and what happens when Zaria, Olaf, and the Wild Hunt are on the scene for the delivery of the quest object. In the first, I had to answer how do they escape? It came by realizing how the room was already described. The solution was right there! For the second moment, I always knew there had to be a reason the mountain-trolls and the river-troll didn’t get along but would keep their distance. It couldn’t be just magic. I was reading the news when the idea of politics came to me as the solution. Sometimes the answer is in your face, you simply must step back and give your work a little space. Writer’s block to me is the inability to see the forest for the trees or the trees for the forest. Some space and a fresh look can make the big and small pictures appear.
A: For Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest I was about halfway through the first draft when it became clear to me I needed to utilize a timeline. I stopped writing immediately and opened a new document and then I read from the beginning. I sorted out the days and events I had already done and then kept the document handy for future events. That time I hadn’t made a mistake, but I could have, and it became a real time-saver later.
A: Yes, give yourself a deadline or end goal. You’re going to want to meet it and possibly exceed it. There’s lots of wonderful stories about writers who have finished a book in mere days, or completed massive amounts of prose for the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.) What works for you?
A: I was looking for troll art on Google Image Search. It started with John Bauer and then I thought I saw someone emulate his style on Deviant Art.
When I got to Deviant Art I did not find the piece that I remembered, but I did find a few artists that I liked better with their own drawing styles. From there, I scoured multiple profile pages, Etsy accounts, blogs, personal websites, Facebook, and more to learn more about these artists and their work.
Then I reached out to the few I liked best to see if they were open about commission work. Of the artists I reached out to I really hoped Eoghan Kerrigan would be interested in working with me. He was! And I am so thrilled with every sketch he’s shared with me. It’s so much fun to see the book come alive. I am truly grateful to have such a talented artist illustrate my book.
A: I’m not usually a big quote person. There are quotes that I love from many sources, especially books which make a book memorable for me. But, I think you’re looking to know if I live by any of these quotes. So, in that vein, a Chinese fortune cookie was my daily motivation to keep going on Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest. It said, “You should be able to undertake and complete anything.”
A: How you write it. Do you think it through? Look for the ways to enhance a story or world? Do you research? Do you plot? Do you allow for spontaneity? Writing is personal and it is fluid. What works for you is not what works for someone else be it either in the telling or the reading of it. Faults aren’t always bad. You can embrace them and run amok and produce something very fine indeed. Not everyone will get it, but some will love you for it. A perfectly engineered book is also delightful. When every thread is wrapped up to perfection and an author makes it appear effortless (which it can be…sometimes…) it is beautiful and deeply satisfying. Just be passionate about your topic or story and the rest will follow.
A: I queue my book playlist, and find a song to start the day or hit shuffle. Sometimes I reread the last scene, but if I do reread, I only allow myself to make nominal changes to it before continuing. Editing, as I’ve heard, is the biggest time suck to your writing process if you let it rule you before its time comes. I’m careful to not do too much of it until the book’s first draft is done.
A: I write until I reach a stopping point, which is usually three to four hours into the process. If I deviate from writing to do research, social media, e-mail, or blog then I stay at the computer longer and try to get in those solid writing hours.
A: I sit on the loveseat in the office and write on my laptop, or I sit on the leather couch in the family room and look out the window, or I sit on the balcony and write with the breeze rifling through my hair, or I sit at the bar height dining room table and prop my feet on the swivel chair rungs. That’s the great thing about a laptop you can write nearly everywhere.
A: After work on weekdays, middle of the afternoon on weekends.