A: In 1st grade, Mrs. White encouraged her class to use the computer to type up stories. They were usually short, frequently misspelled, and each page was a sentence long with room enough to spare for illustrations. I had fifty or more of these books which were bound in construction paper and lovingly stored away by my mother for many years. I think my hope of one day being a published writer started there. In 2nd grade I wrote a series of picture books about Sprinkle who was a fairy godmother/Cinderella combo, her marriage to Prince Tom, and their seventeen children and pets whose names all began with ‘S’ or ‘T.’ As I grew up my writing progressed from poetry onto fanfiction and then onto blogging. I’ve always had a creative outlet.
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A: Yes. I excelled in English and Reading in grade school. In high school I got A’s in English and I was president of the Writer’s Guild Club. We met on Fridays after school got over. (I can hear you all cringe at the idea of staying late after school on a Friday. Oooo.) The club focused mostly on poetry where the challenge would be to write something that met a bunch of crazy parameters. We concluded our meetings at a Dunkin’ Donuts / Baskin Robins combo. My best friends were in the club and we’d get together after everyone left and chill out for the weekend. It was great. It should be no surprise that in college I got an A in my poetry class. 🙂
A: Peanut butter pie! I’ll even share my recipe. Trust me you’ll be thanking me later. It’s that good.
- 1 ½ sleeves of Oreos (standard package)
- 2-4 tablespoons of butter
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Scrape filling out of Oreos into a microwave safe bowl.
- Place scraped Oreo cookies into a plastic Ziploc bag and crush until cookies are powdery (a rolling pin works great).
- Place 2 tablespoons of butter with the filling and microwave. If the mixture looks too solid add another 2 tablespoons of butter. Microwave again until everything is melted.
- Stir and pour butter mixture into plastic bag.
- Mix cookies and butter mixture together until all the crumbles are moist.
- Pour Oreo cookie crumbles into a pie pan and flatten (I find it is easier to use another pie plate than your hands, less messy.)
- Place in oven and bake until the bubbles stop forming in the crust. Takes about 10-15 minutes depending on the oven.
- Cool crust in the fridge before you put your filling in it.
- 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I use Jiff)
- 3-4 oz. of cream cheese (roughly half the package)
- 1 ½ cups of powder sugar (I use less because I don’t fully fill the measuring cup)
- Let the cream cheese and Cool Whip thaw to about room temperature.
- Mix all the wet ingredients together.
- Then mix in powder sugar a ½ cup at a time. If you don’t, you will have powder sugar all over your kitchen.
- Pour into pie crust and use a spatula to smooth it out.
- Put it back in fridge for twenty minutes or eat right away your choice!
Previously I was asked if I listened to music while writing. I do, and here is a playlist featuring songs I listened to while writing Zaria Fierce the Secret of Gloomwood Forest. What music came to mind for you when you read the book?
A: Write. Write anything. Write a poem. Write a short story. Write a fanfic. Write a novel. Write a play. Write a song. Journal. Dream diary. Write. Just write. If you don’t write you won’t have anything to share. And read. Read a lot. Read what you want to write about. Read about stuff that inspires you. Read. When you read pay attention to the thoughts you are thinking – How would you have handled that scene? How would the story be different if this or that happened?
A: Starting. I had several rough starts for the first book in the Zaria Fierce trilogy. I believe this was because I wasn’t fully invested in those first few ideas. The best part of each rough start was the description of Zaria Fierce. I honed her as a character and abandoned those early drafts. I wrote the prologue that would start Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest in May 2014. I didn’t pick it up again until late September. When I did Zaria’s story was at my fingertips and the rest was easy.
A: When I was world building for Zaria Fierce, I started a document to contain all of my ideas such as titles, plot bunnies, characters, places, and more. This document was centered around a now abandoned plot for Zaria, but the titles within were gold to me. Even as I abandoned the overall plot I kept returning to the titles and the titles spun little intricate webs until they gathered into a cohesive whole and inspired the current plot for the trilogy. As pulled from this original world building document, other possible titles that Zaria Fierce and the Secret of Gloomwood Forest could have been, include:
- Zaria Fierce and the Mystery of Gloomwood Forest
- Zaria Fierce and the Hart of Frostwood Forest
- Zaria Fierce and the Glasswood Quest
- Zaria Fierce and the Thornwood Torch
- Zaria Fierce and the Banished Knights of Banewood Forest
Do you have a favorite?
A: There’s no right or wrong answer to this question because there are multiple ways to get unblocked. For me, I stop writing and put the story away. For the rest of the day I do anything else. The problem of what to do next is revealed and I can start writing again the next day feeling fresh and inspired to keep going.
A: Yes, I do! Almost always. The music I listen to when I write is generally free of lyrics such as classical music or instrumentals. I like listening to lyric-free music because it is not distracting and can enhance a mood of a scene. I imagine sometimes that the track I’m listening to would play in the background of a movie-version of Zaria Fierce.
You have to love mothers! They are the first to show up in your cheering section and always got your back. Look at the wonderful present mine got me to celebrate finishing the first book in the Zaria Fierce Trilogy:
If the text is hard to read it says, “And though she be but little she is fierce.” The quote is from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Thanks, Mom! I love it!
A: I have three. The first is when Zaria and Geirr meet Norwick for the first time. I like it because Zaria is undaunted by a ferocious mythical wild animal. The second is when the children escape from their cell in Trolgar. It’s a favorite because it was a part of the story where I felt blocked. The answer ending up being a fresh twist on a cliché. The third is Zaria’s escape on the elk through the forest. It’s magical to me.