To begin I'd like to give a big shout out to C. Michael Lorion, author of Scars (Totem #1) for being kind enough to invite me on this blogging journey.
Here are the four questions, and my answers:
What am I working on?
At the moment, I'm working on two different novels. I know - craziness! The main focus is the sequel to my first novel The Shadow Miner. In this installment, Miri and Sara return to the mines to help free Miri's family. I've done the planning, but it is fairly loose at the moment - there are some plans for a magical Bunyip incident (thanks for the idea Ross!). I've I've also got an idea for an Australian coming of age story called 'The Mystery of Boneyard Lagoon'. It's an idea (and title) that has been floating around in my head for a while now. I've got a few basic concepts, but it is still very much in its infancy.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?Probably the biggest difference in my novel is the setting. I read a lot of fantasy, and most of it is has a very European flavour. The characters travel through woods, confront bears and wolves (and the occasional dragon). While I've travelled in the UK, I know Australia best. I thought it would interesting to have my characters live in a land that was inspired by places that I know. There are kangaroos, rainforests, wombats, desserts and boab trees. It is a little weird - a medieval style Australia, but I think (hope) it works.
Why do I write what I do?
First and foremost, I am an English teacher. One of the main reasons I got into teaching was to inspire kids to value and love the written word. For me, my writing is an extension of that. I write for middle grades and young adults because these are the kids I work with each day. I hope that my novels might inspire the next generation of readers - and writers - the way that authors like C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, John Marsden, Rafael Sabatini and a million other authors, inspired me!!
How does my writing process work?
I'm fairly organised in my approach to writing. I like to plan my story in quite a bit of detail. I begin by writing my story as a single sentence. Then, I flesh this out into a paragraph. In turn, each sentence is expanded to another paragraph which gives me a quick four paragraph summary of the plot. From there I like to sit down and write the back story for each character. I think that good characters are central to a good narrative so this is a helpful step. From here each plot point is expanded until I have a three or four page summary of my novel.
That’s when I start writing. The detailed plan means I can really work on the details of the novel because the big picture stuff is already done. It doesn't mean that writing is always easy. Sometimes, I’ll get stuck for days trying to figure out the best way to have a character get from where they are to where I want them to go.
While, I have a plan, I have found that I also need to be flexible. Every now and then, when I reach a point in the story, I find that the characters need to take a different path. In my last novel, I had originally only intended Mikel to be a minor character who was killed off early in the book. But when I got there, I liked him too much to do it! It took me a while to decide what to do with him, but in the end he became a central part of the story. I’m so glad he got to stay!
One the other things I like to do when I’m writing is to visit places which are like the setting I am describing. I find this really helps me to create strong imagery.
So that's me done! The last job I have to do is to introduce the two authors who will be posting their answers to these questions next week on their websites. Make sure you check them out!
E.G. Manetti authors the romantic sci-fi series the Twelve Systems Chronicles, the first two volumes are available now and third is due out in early 2015. Click here to find her blog.
Trisha Sugarek is a published author, playwright and poet. Until recently her writing had focused on stage plays that ranged from prison stories to children’s fables. She has expanded her body of work to include two books of poetry, a group of children’s books and her debut novel, “Women Outside the Walls”. Click here to find her blog.
I hope you enjoyed the read this week. Be sure to tune in next Monday for the next installment. :)