Those who missed the week long facebook party missed a lot of games and fun. One of the games we played was “Ask ANY Character a Question” – I shared the resultant questions and answers in a pair of blogs earlier. Another game we played was “Ask the Author”. I got a LOT of really good questions, and some of the answers might be interesting so I shared part I the other day, and here is Part II!
What are the most valuable lessons you learned as a writer. (Could be related to the craft of storytelling, publishing, or the business end of being a writer.)
Learning to take criticism, actually. I used to be really bad about it. If someone criticised my writing I’d think “Ha! They just don’t understand!” Then I had a friend who started critiquing my first book (she is awesome by the way!) And my first reaction to each “edit” was “Bah!” So I thought “I’ll show them!” So I made changes and read both versions back to back to hubby. Every time he liked the edited version better, until I finally realized that, yes, she was right. It needed editing. That ability to take criticism and view it as positive has been helpful in many aspects, not just writing.
What inspired you to write?
My mother is a writer and poet (she has some free poetry collections on Smashwords, B&N, etc.) So I just grew up with the idea that writing was normal. As for writing this series, Jorick was actually an original character in an RP group I was writing in at the time, named Drenkan, though when I changed his name some of his personality changed.
Do you drink coffee or tea out of your Amaranthine mug?
I like both- though actually right now I am drinking a Baja Blast.
What is your most favorite thing in the world to do? (besides writing)?
I’d say spending time with hubby, but that’s probably cheating, so instead I’ll say that it changes depending on my mood. It bounces between drawing, watching anime, taking pictures, and playing with my Super Poke Pet
How do you like being an author?
It’s a lot of fun – and more work than people portray it. Still, the challenge of making scenes and characters work is exhilarating – there’s a certain “aha!” moment when things come together. The best part is the readers; being able to share the universe with others and hear how they see things, because so often then have insights that I missed (forest and trees and all that).
Are you an only child?
I actually have a younger brother – Chris Harris – he’s an artist and writer too, though he’s such a perfectionist it’s hard to get him to do any of it. He has a couple of books rough drafted (one is a vampire) and we’re working on a fantasy novel together. He’s quite a character and his imagination is waaaaay out there!
Who is your favorite and least favorite character to write?
As writing goes, Malick is one of my favorites – he can fill up pages all by himself and I can just put my feet up and transcribe it. Verchiel and Micah are the same to a lesser extent. If I’m ever stuck I just tap one of them on the shoulder and they’ll get things moving – though I cringe at Micah’s language, and some of the stuff he says makes me want to smack him – if I thought he really believed it.
Katelina is actually hard to write sometimes because we’re not the same, so I have a diffucult time with the decisions she makes. Xandria is also hard because I don’t have a total grasp on her character – and Etsuko and the other Japanese vampires are so formal! Maeko was easy to write, but then I had to back track and rephrase everything into the way that she would actually say it. Troy is my ultimate least favorite to write. though, because he is just a sick bas**** and I don’t like being inside his head. I censored him down a lot when I wrote his short story and I censored him down in the Patrick prequel (not released yet) because I think he could easily be one of those crazy serial rapist/murderers and I don’t know if I’m comfortable with the things he’d do. He will never get a book of his own, and I’m not planning any more stories for him, either.
What author do you look up to and enjoy?
J.R.R Tolkien. He created such a massive, massive world with so many layers and pieces to it – he could have written a million books and never mined it all – and each civilization and race had their own language and art and everything – just amazing! Also I loved how VC Andrews could make the most mundane things sinister. (The real VC Andres, not the one who took over after she died – he just doesn’t have that ability). There’s a children’s room in the book My Sweet Audrina that was shut up after their first daughter “died” and there’s a shelf of stuffed animals, and she makes them seem melancholy and creepy all at the same time, with their black button eyes staring out at you… It just made such an impression on me! That whole book has this creepy sinister vibe running underneath it. It’s my favorite of hers.
Where do you get inspiration for writing, characters?
Sometimes it’s from anime/manga. Verchiel actually comes from a character in Kingdom Hearts 2 – Axel. He was supposed to die, so I thought what the heck, I won’t have to explain any of it… and then he didn’t… Kai and his chain are from a manga cover I passed in Barnes and Noble for Loveless (I’ve still never read it) – I tend to imagine the characters as anime characters in fact, and try to emulate the anime/manga pacing to a degree.
How did you get started writing?
I always enjoyed writing – we used to write and illustrate children’s books when I was a kid – but the first novel length was when I was 12. It was called The Devil’s Niece (the title came from Madd Magazine – ha!), about the niece of Satan who is sent to earth to help usher in the end of the world… but the story got too adult and I got embarrassed and threw it away.
How do you keep everything straight? (I’m picturing a big corkboard, note cards, push pins and string
I have a biiiiiiiiig document named Notes that’s about 300 pages (literally) and then I often have to look stuff up on the previous books because I forget about a lot of the little things I poke in and about last minute changes… Someone asked me yesterday if Katelina knew that Jorick had used his power to get her to come inside and I can’t remember!
If you could trade books with Stephanie Meyer and have the claim to Twilight; would you?
Even if I got to edit it (ha ha!), I think I still would have to keep mine instead because I like them. But it would be fun rewriting Twilight! (maybe that’s why Meyers keeps doing it?)
What gave you the ideal of this series?
I wrote the first (and part of the second) book for NaNOWriMo waaaaaay back. Jorick was actually based on an original character I was writing in a Role Play/Writing group, and it went from there. Chapter two of the first book was really the original chapter one, and as I wrote it, I had no idea what was going on! Luckily from there I have figured a few things out.
How long does it take you to write a book? Do you still do NanoWriMo?
It ends up taking me a year, but a lot of that is because I don’t work on it the whole time. If I make myself really do it I can write it in three months and edit in two but I like some time in between to let ideas simmer. I actually did NaNoWriMo for book five and six and might do it to finish this one.
What do you do to get into the mood to write when you just don’t feel it but you know you should write, anyway?
Music is usually the best way – Don McClean’s American Pie album works for more poetic writing, or sometimes Rasmus or HIM or whatever song is driving me nuts (“Evans Blue “Cold” does that a lot!)
Do you have a question that wasn’t asked? if so, leave it in the comments below!