Every month Cait and Sky host a wonderful linkup for writers to help them get to know and introduce their characters. This time however, they are asking questions about the writers themselves. (EEK, that means me!) Without further ado:
1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t write in some form or another. The dark beneath my bed is home to dozens of filled notebooks and diaries. I think the oldest one dates to when I was 8 years old. I’ve been journaling at least semi-consistently since then.
There have been a few fleeting moments in which I fancied myself a writer. I was published in TeenInk magazine when I was 16. I became a contributor for KidSpirit magazine in 10th grade. I won a Scholastic Art and Writing award somewhere in the midst of high school. And yet those moments always faded. Even in the past month I’ve struggled to identify as a writer. I know writing is what I love to do, but I am not sure that qualifies me for that most honored appellation.
2. How/why did you start writing?
As a kiddo, I spent a good deal of time imagining other worlds and fantastic adventures. My backyard daily transformed itself from deserted island to wild western town to medieval castle and beyond. I suppose that it was only natural for me to eventually switch from playing out fantastical stories in my backyard to writing them out on my computer. Just kidding, I still act them out sometimes.
3. What’s your favorite part of writing?
Once in a while a few words will spill out in just the right way. There, on a physical page, lies a perfect manifestation of the feelings of my heart. There is nothing so exhilarating as that. It happens very rarely, mind you.
4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?
Editing. I’ve finished hashing out two novels now, but I suppose I just won’t ever know when they are ready for any eyes but my own. I know they could be better, but I don’t know quite how and where to improve.
5. Do you write best at night or day?
I am a day creature. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever written extensively at night. Perhaps a few desperate poems about adolescent struggles in the middle of high school insomnia, nothing more.
6. What does your writing space look like?
Having seven siblings (only four live at home) has bred flexibility in my creative space choices. I write in the library, on my bed, at my desk, on the floor, in the garage, and sometimes in the local graveyard. Wherever I can find peace and quiet.
7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?
It depends on the type of story and how much I am focusing on it. My historical fiction novel took about two and a half years to complete, just because there was so much research involved. I wrote a fantasy novel in one month for NaNoWriMo.
8. How many projects do you work on at once?
I like to have one project that I focus on, although I usually have a couple of side drafts sitting around in case I need a change of pace. Sometimes I just have to spend some time developing random stories that call to me, but I try to return to my focus project as soon as possible.
9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?
My older brother and role model has been impressing me with the loveliness of bitter sweet endings since I was a tiny tot. I never really thought about it before, but looking back I see that almost all my stories have bittersweet (but mostly sweet) endings.
10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.
Oh so many. I can’t claim to have learned much from these geniuses (yet), but I can say that they have inspired me: Karen Cushman, E.L. Konigsburg, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Muad Hart Lovelace, Charles Dickens, Khaled Hossieni, Eleanore Estes, Katherine Patterson, and so many more. Obviously, I love children’s literature.
11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?
I really struggle with this. So far I have allowed a few of my closest family members access to my novel. I know I need critique, but I just don’t want people to judge me because they think my stories stink. I prefer feedback from strangers who I feel can be more objective anyway. So I enjoy posting my writing on websites like Figment, Wattpad, and TeenInk.
12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?
I would like to publish a the few Middle Grade novels that are running through my mind. I would like to publish something that inspires someone. I will admit, the thought of receiving a Newberry Award or Newberry honor has crossed my dreamy consciousness.
13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?
Become Carmen Sandiego, obviously.
No but seriously, don’t get me started. I would like to travel the world. I would like to work as a diplomat, preferably in a field that would allow me to stand up for human rights around the world. I would also like to be a History teacher. Hotel clerk, marine biologist, spy, translator, missionary, t.v. actress, secretary, international lawyer, professor, archaeologist, detective, physical therapist, architect and cook at a research station in the South Pole are just a few of the careers that I have seriously considered.
14. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet?
I have novel ideas that have been stewing in my mind since I was a little girl, however I still don’t have the craftsmanship needed to write them the way I want them to be written.
15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go?
Too Close To Say Goodbye:
Her parents named her NOBODY to ward of the evil spirits who killed her older brother. But Nobody doesn’t want to be nobody anymore. She wants to led her horse, Bukaa, to become the “Leader of 10,000” at the upcoming Nadaam festival.
When two strangers appear lost on the steppes she calls home, she is thrilled with the excitement they bring to her life. You see, until they came, Nobody had thought that life was like the Mongolian sky: vast, beautiful, and unchanging. But far away in the city filled with monstrous factories and many other new evils, the communist government doesn’t want Nobody and her family to live like they always have. Maybe that is why even her solemn papa seems to be changing. Maybe that is why he is weary of her visitors, though he has never before turned down hospitality. Maybe that is why she sees fear in his eyes that was never there before.
When Nobody’s family traditions are tested by the communist’s new laws and threats, she must find courage to fight for her ways. Even if that means leaving the only land she knows to chase down evil soldiers with only a hawk, a tiny boy, and hopefully some good luck to help her. She’ll fight the change, whatever the cost, because losing her customs could mean losing her papa.