TheOneAMPen: Author Robyn Leatherman

Krys Lee

Drifting House

 

      Published by Viking/Penguin, Drifting House was bought at auction after a bidding war between eight major publishing houses. This collection of unforgettable stories takes the reader into the world of North Koreans, South Koreans, and Korean immigrants; we learn about everyday people who have fallen into common situations, but must pay steep prices in order to come out of them.

     It is with great enthusiasm that I present this week's author interview; it is such a privilege to have met with Krys Lee, and I encourage everyone to take a look at her website. She is sure to become the author of many more fabulous books!

      When I asked Krys whether or not she has been keeping  tabs on the reviews of Drifting house (which, by the way, have been mostly 4.5 out of 5 stars), she had this to say:
       "I try not to take these things too      seriously. You have no control over reception. The most important things are to have good conversations with readers …"

     Speaking of conversations, listen in & you'll see why I was honored to have met with this intelligent young woman:

Robyn: To begin, Krys, could you please tell us what you would like the reader to know about Drifting House?
Krys: Drifting House is a collection that reflects my concerns at a certain time of my life, and also reflects the worlds that have influenced me: South Korea, North Korea, and the United States. Many people have commented that there is a novel-like quality to the stories, which has to do with the themes of love, sex, violence, survival, and a search for belonging that resonates from one story to another. It's also a story of a nation of people as much as it is about indivduals.

R: I can say from what I've read myself, Drifitng House is a complex collection of stories; do you think you might write a sequel either to Drifting House or with another book later on?
K: No. I can’t imagine writing one, though that could change if I’m haunted enough by a character.

R: After reading your work, it's hard to imagine you doing anything but writing. But if you weren't a writer, what else would you be doing?
K: I’d probably be a human rights activists or a park ranger. I admire many activists around me for their dedication, their sacrifices, and how they live by the beliefs I value. As for the park ranger, there’s no better feeling than camping in the wild and being reminded daily of your own insignificance by the vast, beautiful landscape around you.

R: Do you have advice for anyone who is just beginning to write?
K: Don’t give up. Find a time you write best in a day and stick to a routine. Learn to sacrifice a little "fun" to make time for the work that matters to you. Last, cut chunks of paragraphs if you need to. The chiseling and cutting that happens in revision can reveal something more exciting than what was originally on the page. Always write towards what feels true. I'm a believer of instinct and emotional truth. When something is scaring or delighting you on the page though you're not sure why, I'd continue to head in that direction.

R: So how long have you been writing?
K: I’ve written poetry for years -since I was a child and throughout university, but I came to fiction around seven years ago.

R: What project are you working on right now, and what inspired this project?
K: I’m working on a novel about the arduous, dangerous journey North Koreans make from their country, through China, to a safe third country. I have many close friends in the defector community that have inspired me by their example; they don’t figure in the novel, as I’m uncomfortable with taking   someone’s life story and using it in fiction, but they have inspired me. The people who take advantage of and wield power over defectors in their journey to safety also figure largely in the novel. My anger towards them originally motivated the novel, but the tenderness I feel for the main characters took over.

R: Is this the only genre you find yourself writing in?
K: As mentioned before, I used to write poetry. I would love to write in that particular genre again someday. Also, I’m a theater fan, and count playwrights such as Anton Chekov, Samuel Beckett, and Martin McDonagh as some of my favorite writers. But I don’t understand the form and can’t imagine myself ever being a good enough fiction writer or poet to attempt learning a new genre again. Then again, that’s exactly what Martin McDonagh did with screenwriting.

R: Krys, I speculate seeing you win many awards for Drifting House. Have you ever won a writing award before?
K: Not since I was in high school and won a thousand dollars for an essay competition! Since then, I’ve been nominated a few times for various honors, but haven’t won.

R: Do you have a favorite author?
K: I have many favorite authors. They’re the reason I began writing in the first place. It depends on what my concerns and interests are at the moment, but writers I consistently return to include Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller for Catch-22, Alice Munro, Denis Johnson for Jesus’ Son, Julie Otsuka for When the Emperor Was Divine, Toni Morrison for Beloved, and poetry. A lot of poetry.

R: I generally always play music while I'm writing. Do you?
K: Sometimes. It depends on where I am in the writing. I listen to classical music, rock, Korean pop, jazz, country, or whatever else feels right for the mood of the scene I’m in.
 
R: If  you have a blog, how often do you post articles?
K: I don’t keep a blog anymore because when life gets interesting, I’m too busy to update the blog though I’m composing blog entries in my head. Some of my friends have fantastic blogs that I read and enjoy regularly, and I admire them for their diligence.

R: How do you feel about what some are saying about authors needing to 'build a social media platform'?
K: I never quite understood this term. I think the less you know about the publishing industry before you actually get a contract, the better. I began my story collection thinking that I would probably never get published, but wrote because I became unhappy if I didn’t. With publishing, other concerns set in, so it’s important when you’re writing to keep it as pure an experience as possible. A platform, I guess, should be whatever already concerned and interested you, so therefore became a part of you. A passionate interest in and concern for the world becomes, by default, your platform.

R: I'd like to end this chat on a fun note. Could you tell us one fun fact about yourself that not many people know about you?
K: I was once a yacht hand from Panama to Columbia. It was the cheapest way to get there via the San Blas Islands, and somehow I still enjoyed it though I was seasick the entire journey.  

A huge round of thanks to Krys for taking the time out of her very busy schedule to speak with us today. Please stop by the following places and get to know her even more, you will be glad you did!

Purchase your copy of Drifting House

kryslee.com  Amazon.com  Twitter


Robyn

 Sabah Ahmed

What do we get when we take a young writer of fantasy with dreams of helping others to become fellow crafters of the penned word?

What happens when this young writer has an imagination that knows no such phrase as 'having limitations' or 'within the boundary'? 


What we find is a writer with a pen full of ink and a mind ready to put it to good use!

Pull up a big fluffy pillow and sit with me as I talk to Sabah Ahmed - you'll be glad you met her!

Robyn: Sabah, thank you for taking time to answer a few questions for me today; I know you've got a busy schedule, as we'll bring out in a minute, so let's get going.

Q: What I'd like to ask you first is maybe a standard question, but I'm always excited to hear the responses! Consider for a moment that you hadn't chosen  to become a writer. Which path might have you chosen instead?
A: I can’t really imagine myself doing
anything other than writing; however, I’ve always enjoyed English Literature a lot and I’ve always thought it would be a fun subject to teach. After all, if I couldn't become a writer, I’d love to be able to help others to do so. Inspiring younger generations would be amazing.

Robyn: That's really a wonderful attitude to take; teaching is such a great gift.

Q: Since you have chosen, though, the path of writing - how long have you actually been on this 'path'?
A: Ever since I can remember. I’d write these silly little stories when I was younger, all completely ridiculous and random, but I didn’t start taking it seriously until I was in my last year of Secondary School. That's when I realized that writing is the only thing I can really see myself doing in the future.
 
Q: So what is the project that you're currently working on?
A: I’m actually attempting my first novel, right now. (Title strategically being witheld at the moment) It’s based in an alternative universe, and focuses on the aftermath of a war between the two main “clans” of the world. The story follows one girl who finds herself a part of the opposing clan, after her mother is assassinated, and the struggles she deals with.
 
Robyn: Storylines like that (the whole alternative universe thing) boggle my mind; I've attempted doing that myself and failed miserably! There are so many things to keep track of, so I've decided that maybe I'll just remain a reader of fantasy books - and not the actual writer of them!
You must read a lot to be able to write in that genre - which leads me into the next logical  question.

Q: About how many books do you read in the typical month, anyway?
A: I remember when I was able to read a whole four books in a month. However, since I started writing seriously and started college, I find that I have a lot less time for leisurely activities, so now I get through maybe two books in a month... And that’s if I’m lucky, too!

Robyn: Four books in a month? Whoah! Slow down, you're making the rest of us look bad over here! :) *Points at self*

I wonder ...
Q: Do you only write fantasy, or are you a multi-genre type of writer?
A: I enjoy writing in many different genres, such as mystery and crime, but fantasy has always been my favourite... I’m allowed to get as carried away as I want!
 
Robyn: I can identify with that - it's so refreshing to dive into a project and let go - that's one thing I appreciate  about your writing style!
Speaking of writing styles ...

Q: Who would you say are your own favorite authors and why do you claim them?
A: I have a bunch! It’s really hard to decide, because every author has their own individual style, and they all appeal to me in differing ways. However, my top three are J.K. Rowling, Libba Bray and Maria V. Snyder. Rowling because she first got me into reading when I was a child and i absolutely adore her series, like many others. Bray because she reminds me of myself – not that I can write as well as her, she’s just wonderfully weird. And Snyder because hers are books that are unique in the sense that you can read them a million times over and still enjoy them, and have the same reactions you had initially. She’s just a brilliant writer; they all are!
 
Robyn: Since you have such  a wide range in taste, tell me something personal about yourself.
Q: What kinds of people do you personally find the most inspiring to you?
A: Well, this will sound corny, but my friends inspire me most. They’re all such amazing people and have all overcome their own personal hardships. I love how they can turn around and smile, even when they’ve had the worst of days. It’s hard to feel comfortable around people sometimes, but they have this amazing way of making me feel right at home when I’m with them. I pray they’ll always be as close to me as my own family. They all make me want to be a better person, and a better writer, so that I’m worthy of them.
 
Robyn: Sabah, after that answer, I have to say that you've just inspired me to be the kind of friend you just described!

Robyn: Changing gears just  a bit and being a huge fan of music myself, I will almost always have music playing as I write. 


Q:What about you?
A: Not many people do listen to music when they write, but I find that it helps me. It allows me to focus on the task at hand. I adore music, of any sort. Books and music are very similar, in my opinion, as they both aim to make the reader or listener feel a certain way, whether that be unbelievably happy or rather sad. Both writing and making music are amazing arts, in their own way. I guess it’s relevant that I was musical when I was younger - so music might have more of an impact on me, as opposed to other writers...
 
Q: Do you have one favorite place you like to write?
A: My bedroom. It’s my haven. I can lock myself away from the rest of the world and just focus on what I’m writing, without having distractions around me. It’s also amazingly comfortable in there, so that helps too.
 
Q: Are you a member of any writing groups?
A:Yes, I am, two in fact. There’s a creative writing group in college that I’m a part of, that I enjoy very much, because it guarantees me an hour a week to write, at least. It’s brilliant having a bunch of other writers around you, whether they’re doodling in their notebooks or scribbling away the whole time, it feels good to know that you share a dream with others in college. The second is one that my penpal is a part of in Canada, and that she suggested I join, where we just talk about writing and how we’re getting along with our writing. I Skype with them monthly, and it's all good fun.
 
Robyn: I don't want to bring this to an end, Sabah, but I know I can't keep you from your other things forever. So the last question I have is -
Q: What is your feeling about the E-book industry? Do you think digital reading material will eventually replace traditional paper books?
A: Well, I do think they’re catching on. My younger cousins prefer e-books such as the Amazon Kindle because it makes reading “cooler”, and they’re convenient for holidays; you can take all your books with you! However, I will always prefer an actual book; there’s something comforting about holding a book in your hand that can’t be replaced.


For anyone else who would like to know more about Sabah, you should follow her on Twitter account at @_SabahK and ask some specific questions about her book!

Robyn

                           Kori Donahue

                              @BlondeEpisodes

Question: What does a frozen yogurt eating, cowboy boot wearing high school teacher do in her spare time?
Answer: She writes books, of course!

Pour yourself a mug of tea, grab a couple of cookies and get comfy for a few minutes, because you're about to meet my new friend, Kori!

Robyn: Before we get into this too far, Kori, I wanted to first ask you what kinds of people you find to be the most inspirational.
Kori: Positive people who never give up.

Robyn: Speaking of inspiration, do you like to listen to music while you're writing?
Kori: I do, for Murder On The Boulevard, I listened to the Changeling soundtrack.

Robyn: You just mentioned your novel, Murder On The Boulevard; what would you like people to know about this book?
Kori:  I put my heart and soul into the novel.  I really love old Hollywood and wanted that to be evident.  I also love true crime and serial killer stories, so I tried to incorporate that as well.  

Robyn: Murder On The Boulevard is already available on Amazon, so what are you working on nowadays?
Kori: I'm working on book #2 which is a continuation of my first novel.

Robyn: So, just how long have you actually been writing?
Kori:  I've been writing seriously for about 3 years.

Robyn: I'd like to know how you go about writing ... do you use an outline?
Kori: No I just sit and write!

Robyn: As a reader, Kori, who are your favorite authors, and how many books do you  typically read in a month?
Kori: I love Charlaine Harris, James Patterson, and right now Deborah Harkness, but my heart lies with J.K. Rowling. I try to read about 2 books a month.

Robyn: Sometimes it's difficult for writers to fit everything into a day; how much time do you  generally spend on Twitter and Facebook each week?
Kori: Too much time, probably 25 hours or more.

Robyn: And how about your blog? How often do you post, and how do you find time to get it done?
Kori:  I try to post every day and don't know how I get the time, I just try to fit it in because I love it.

Robyn: This has been fun! But before we turn you loose, could you tell us something  about yourself that not many people know?
Kori: I'm related to John Wilkes Booth.

Well, there we have it, folks! I want to thank Kori and all of you who have stopped by today!

Be sure to click the links below so you can take a look at everything Kori has going on - and don't forget to stop at Amazon  to buy your own copy of Murder On The Boulevard!


Murder On The Boulevard on Amazon

BlondeEpisodes.com

Facebook Author Page

Facebook Blonde Episodes Page

Twitter


Robyn


 

Craig Stone 

In today’s interview, I feel honored to feature a British author who is fast becoming a blogger’s dream come true; this man has been interviewed or had a review written about him in the past couple of months almost as many times as some teen pop icon. He is the epitome of “go for it” and had the courage to walk away from everything that burdened him in order to free himself.  In Craig Stone’s novel, The Squirrel That Dreamt of Madness, the reader is led through a maze of emotion, ranging from those genuine LOL moments to having to literally walk away from the work to digest the deep sorrow that has just been read. (I have read this book twice.) 

Allow me to turn the floor over to Craig Stone:

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: There has never been a time when I wasn’t writing something; I wrote my first novel when I was 18 called “Just Bee” – a book about a Bee that thought he had to go on a big journey to find happiness but in the end he realises that happiness is where you are, not the location you go to seek it from.

Q: What inspired you to work on The Squirrel That Dreamt of Madness?

A: The Squirrel That Dreamt of Madness (the book out now) was an act of desperation because I quit my life to live in a park believing that desperation would inspire me to write a book that would put my life back on the path I felt it should truly have always been on. Where I have ended up is vindication that I was correct in taking that risk, probably. 

The bridge I am on now is made from old rope and rotting wood but I would rather be crossing a dangerous bridge above a massive drop that leads me to the land I want to live on than stay on the wrong side full of safe roads that lead nowhere.

Misery and desperation inspired me to write The Squirrel that Dreamt of Madness and the inspiration behind Life Knocks is probably similar, only with slightly less desperation and a lot less misery. 

Q: What project are you working on right now?

A: My next book is called “Life Knocks” – one man’s journey from watching a sunset in Hawaii to living under a tree in a park in South East London.

Q: Is there anything specific you would like the reader to know about the "Life Knocks"?

A: Life Knocks is the prequel to The Squirrel That Dreamt of Madness; it’s how I ended up living in a park. I meet the Cambodian Mafia, almost get killed by a mountain, live in Hawaii, travel through Thailand, live with a mental landlord, struggle with drugs and alcohol.

It’s a love story too, but a story to balance the Hollywood version of love; it’s a story about how even when love is right two people can still make a mess of it despite what they feel. 

I don’t write doom and gloom, the message is positive in Life Knocks like it was with the Squirrel That Dreamt of Madness – the book is funny and if anyone has ever found my tweets or last book amusing this book is funnier, sharper and at times a lot deeper.

Q: Do you write in only one genre?

A: I don’t even write in the same voice; I have written a book for kids in Just Bee, a horror called Scorn, a silly picture book telling sheep how to hide from people called How to Hide From Humans, some strange science fiction book with a friend called the Axel Vertex and now the two book series that I am putting out The Squirrel that Dreamt of Madness and Life Knocks which are reality based. 

Q: About how many books do you read in a month? / E-book vs paper book preference? 

A: Although I put my last book out on Kindle I am actually not a Kindle owner because at the moment I can’t afford one! In the past year I think I have read one book because I have been writing so I am not really a reader, more a writer. Spend a lifetime writing and you become a writer with your own voice, spend a lifetime reading and you become a reader trying to emulate someone else’s.

I don’t understand the E-book vs book debate, who cares what you read words on? Books are about the place the words take your mind to, not what is in your hand whilst you are taken to them. 

Q: Do you have a favorite author?

A: I have read a fair bit of Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Roald Dahl when I was younger but I have a favourite author. They all have their strengths and weaknesses; writing is an art form that nobody has mastered, even those who are revered as masters. 

Q: What kind of people inspire you the most? / Turn you off the most?

A: I have a friend that went through the worst as a child and grew up to build a beautiful family of her own and she is the strongest woman I know. She is an inspiration; certainly when compared to others that expel excessive negativity without understanding how utterly beyond complicated it is that they are fortunate to be living a life complaining about the small things like they are the end of the world.

Then again, that same friend beat me at chess so I’m not going to compliment her too much. I guess then I find normal people inspiring. Everyone has their story of what they have overcome in life to become who they are. People that can take the bad moments and not let them become a person that gives bad moments to others – those people are important.

People that use “we” when they mean “you” I find self revolving, but everyone turns out who they are for reasons not entirely within their control. There are many people that turn me off, but they are usually reflections of how they were mistreated when young so it’s hard to throw any stones. 

Q: If you weren't a writer, what else would you be doing?

A: Possibly homeless and in a park; I honestly wouldn’t care. I would most likely have to take some rubbish job that steals my soul and if Life Knocks doesn’t achieve what I hope it does, what I need it to achieve, then I will have no choice but to return to a job.

The last question I've got for you today is ... What is one fun fact about yourself that not many people know about you?

A: I was born with a webbed face. No, really, um, I once citizen arrested a ticket inspector whilst on acid at a train station in London. 

I wouldn’t recommend it. 

Okay, folks. Now it's up to you to do the rest. Buy Craig's book, read it, tweet it, love it!

The Squirrel That Dreamt of Madness is now available at Amazon.com!

Robyn

Melinda McGuire 

 I recently read a southern fiction book entitled Josephine: Red Dirt & Whiskey, written by Melinda McGuire.

In the beginning of this story, Josephine begins married life at a rather young age; the marriage isn't exactly eventful, but the young bride never suspected that she would become a widow at nineteen, either!

What happens to Josephine once her husband dies is the basis of this story ... I had to wonder, as the words hugged my at heart, how many other young ladies this happened to. 

Melinda has captured a glimpse of a young woman's life and allowed us to come along as Josephine struggles for her own self-worth. 

As a Southern Fiction author, Melinda has a lot going on besides spinning tales about Josephine and the others who live in Hefner Falls; let's get to know this great lady, shall we?

Q: How long have you been writing? 

A: Writing has been a part of my life since I was a child, but I started taking it much more seriously in my early 20s.

 Q: What project(s) are you working on right now? 

A: Editing and revising the manuscript I completed in November as part of NaNoWriMo - Nelson and Cora: The Beginning. This is the first story in a trilogy about the people who found Hefner Falls, which is the fictional town where all of my novels are set, and formatting my novel Anne McGinnis for publication.

Q: What was your inspiration for writing about Josephine, Nelson, and Cora? 

Nelson and Cora: The Beginning is the story of the people who come before Josephine - who is the lead character in my first novel - Josephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey. This novel, Nelson and Cora, is the story of how two people came together after the end of the Civil War in Kentucky - one from a Union family and one from a Confederate family. Their story will be a trilogy - The Beginning, The Journey, The Founding.

Q: What would you like the reader to know about Nelson and Cora? 

A: This story has these great characters - Nelson and Cora - and we find out so much about their family backgrounds and what life was like at the end of the Civil War and how their lives were impacted on either side of the war, also the role of women and men during this time, and how people were the same then and also how they are different from now.  

Q: Do you have advice for anyone just starting to write? 

A: Write, write, and keep writing. Write through the junk that comes. Write and write and write. And, read, and then write some more. That's the only way I know to do it. I wish I had some magic equation to follow, but it takes practice to get better. There are no shortcuts, and really, would you want to take them, even if there were?

Q: Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about writing a trilogy? 

A: I am working on book one of a trilogy currently, so I will be better able to answer this in about six months!

Q: Do you write in only one genre? 

A: I am a Southern Historical Fiction writer, but I also have some non-fiction academic writing guides and southern cook and craft books available.

Q: About how many books do you read in a month - and do you have a favorite author? 

A: I usually have four to five books going at once. Non-fiction - Dave Ramsey. Fiction - William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Eudora Welty.

Q: Do you listen to music while writing? 

A: Sometimes. Music really does help me tap into a specific time. For example, I listened to many recordings of Texas radio from the Great Depression while working on Josephine: Red Dirt and Whiskey and the short story "When I Met Crazy in the Morning: Mae's Tale".

Q: Where is your preferred place to write? 

A: Anywhere I can find enough time to get back into the story.

Q: Have you ever won a writing award? 

A: I've won a few short story contests for my short stories "Sugar's Pills" and "We Brave Seven".

Q: If you weren't a writer, what else would you be doing? 

A: I also am an online college instructor and a full-time home schooling mom, but writing is so entwined in all that I do, I cannot imagine not doing it.

Q: What kinds of people inspire you the most? 

A: My husband and children are incredibly inspirational to me. I enjoy being around people who are supportive and encouraging and nurturing (who isn't inspired by that?)

Q: How often do you post to your blog, and how do you make the time to do so? 

A: Not nearly as much as I've wanted to in the past, but I've resolved to post once a week on both of my blogs - Melinda McGuire Writes and Southern Sugar Baby

Q: How do you feel about authors needing to build a social media platform? 

A: I have mixed emotions about this. I do think Twitter (that's one of my social media favorites) is useful in connecting with other writers, which is great. We all need to feel like we aren't in this alone. But, I am not sure how you connect with readers other than let your writing be the best marketing for your writing. If you are using social media to share your writing and your writing connects you with your readers, then social media is an excellent thing. If you are using social media as a time filler/ killer, then I think your time could be better spent WRITING!

Q: What is one fun fact about yourself that not many people know about you? 

A: Fun fact: I can read equally well backwards and forwards. I trained myself to do this when I was a kid and very into code breaking.

I would like to thank Melinda for her time in considering each of these questions, and now that we have all gotten to know her better, here are the places that you can find and connect with her. Please drop her a line to let her know how great she is!

Amazon author's page: http://www.amazon.com/Melinda-McGuire/e/B004V55JA6/ref=sr_tc_ep?qid=1325559344

Smashwords author's page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/melindamcguire

Blog: Melinda McGuire Writes: http://www.melindamcguirewrites.wordpress.com

Robyn

Isabella Hunter 

@ShinriEvanova      worthyofpublishing.com

 

      Have you always wondered what would happen if shape-shifters were hunted down to the point of extinction by humans?

      Then you need to continue reading, because I just may be able to provide the answer for you right here ... or, rather ... I can introduce you to an one author who has been writing about this very subject for the past two years! Talk about a vast experience in the subject!

      Grab a cup of tea and  join me as I settle down to talk with the talented Isabella Hunter; you'll want to keep an eye on this one!


So, Isabella, thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to answer a few questions for all of us. We appreciate your time. The first thing we'd like to know is ...

Q: How long have you been writing on your current piece of work?
A: I’ve been working on my book for two years, this includes a break and total scrapping of it. However, over all I’ve been writing for around  six years taking my work into my primary school teachers.

Q: What writing project are you currently working on?
A: I’m currently working on ‘The Servants of Neara’ which I already have planned out into a trilogy, plus for NaNoWriMo I decided to start writing the back story of a very important character but that’s all under wraps for now.

Q: What inspired you to work on such a big project?
A: I’m not sure what inspired me to write in general; as soon as I could read I started writing, at the age of seven. However the world in my book was slowly built up by me and my best friend in primary school, we created the creatures (they all had drawing, and fact files explaining information on them), we created the map, and finally when we got bored of playing as animals we created the inhabitants of this land. That included the servants of Neara and Lev is related to the first ever character we designed. I’d been planning on writing a story about this world for ages and now I am.

Q: This really sounds like a lot of effort! Do you write in only one genre?
A: All the books I’ve planned/writing are epic fantasy but I’ve written contemporary fantasy, and historical fiction.

Q: After reading the excerpts of your current novel, The Servants of Neara, it's obvious that you are a talented writer. But if you hadn't chosen to follow writing, what else would you be doing?
A: I’d be getting a teaching degree to become an English Teacher, if I’m not a writer I want to be somewhere where I can inspire others to be one. I love helping people write and I feel astounded when people are referred to me to look over their work, so an English Teacher is somewhere I can help people who are starting off like me.

Q: Do you write in only one genre, and who would you say your favorite author is?
A: All the books I’ve planned/writing are epic fantasy but I’ve written contemporary fantasy, and historical fiction. My favorite author is Kelley Armstrong, her books are the ones that pushed me into reading. She has a fantastic writing style and caters for both younger and older audiences. She’s so friendly as well, at a book reading my family handed her he very first chapter of my book (against my embarrassed wishes) and she read and critiqued it. One of the first people to ever believe I could finish this.

Q: Do you have advice for anyone just starting to write?
A: Leave your work to sit for a while. Don’t go back and edit straight away because you might be over critical. (I did this myself and deleted most my work but I feel I’m doing better now anyway)

Q: I've spoken to some people who can only concentrate in certain environments; do you have a preferred place to write?
A: My creative writing group in college is a great place to write, mainly because I feel slightly pressured to [write], but oh well. If I ever started running low on creative juices (I’ve normally been writing for an hour already) my tutor's eyes swivel over to me and I feel I have to write something. This never changed no matter how many times he told us “It’s okay to stare at a blank page for the whole session as long as you have gained something from it.” I also find my frees when I’m alone in college are a good time because it’s totally free from distraction especially when you're in a nice little nook on the top floor. I’m very easily distracted and will take any opportunity to do something else.

Q: Speaking of distractions - are you a person who can listen to music while penning the next few paragraphs in your novel?
A: It distracts me too much, I used to use it to try and get myself in the mood for a particular scene but I’d start singing unless it was an instrumental.

Now let's turn the conversation around a little bit and find out some fun stuff about you.

Q: Can you think of 5 things you won't eat?
A: Egg, caramel, toffee, honey, and fudge all because of a bad experience with a crème caramel I made at the age of seven. It was horrible. Moral of the story if you don’t like a food bin it, don’t try and cover it with things you like.

The last question we have to know the answer to today is ...
Q: What is something that you just cannot live without?
A: My pink book, it’s a notepad filled with all unpolished pure nine chapters I have. It’s falling apart at the seams and has had more operations with cello tape and stapler than any other notepad I’ve owned. It has my chapters, idea, plans, it even has a map of a city I drew during creative writing.

Isabella, thanks so much for your this interview! I'm pretty excited for you to finish The Servant of Neara, so please keep all of up updated on your progress!


Robyn

 

 

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