I have always been a writer. I wrote my first novel at the age of eleven between classes. Although that text will never see the light of day, I continued experimenting with stories throughout my school years. I was often teased for being off in my own world a bit, but I have never hesitated to invite others along on the adventure I was weaving. My college studies of history and anthropology play a major role in the worldbuilding in my stories, particularly this debut novel. It is always my goal to create a world that readers want to step into, a world where they can breathe in the air and feel the wind on their skin as they stroll through a market or a city center. I also run the internationally-read website, Fluff About Fantasy, a place for young writers to learn the genre-specific craft of writing fantasy and be inspired by what they can accomplish. It is important to me to get more young people writing and creating. I know that there are a lot of talented middle school, high school, and college students who just need a little push to get them started.
What inspires you to write?
I am inspired by the books I love and the writers who have created them. My writing style and the way I like to approach fantasy is inspired by some of my favorite authors: Sarah J. Maas, Cassandra Clare, Julie Kagawa. I also get really inspired by the music that I listen to while I write. I love to find songs that capture the emotion or the tension in a scene or chapter and use those to help guide my writing. Much of my debut novel, Chasing Fae, was inspired by the music of Lindsey Stirling. I also love to listen to Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, and Maroon 5.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am definitely an outliner. I use this really interesting spreadsheet tool that I found online that allows me to start with an idea and end up with an entire book broken down scene by scene. It really helps me find the direction I want to go with the story. I tend to work with character interviews or profiles to get deep inside the head of my character before starting a book. When I do sit down to draft, I try to draft quickly and keep myself from self-editing. (It’s a bit of an uphill battle!) Revising is actually my favorite part of the whole process, mostly because I love to see it get better and better with each pass.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I absolutely listen to my characters. Once I’ve gone through my character building process, I try to speak in the voice of the character in my head while I’m writing. Sometimes I’ll even talk to myself out loud to make sure the words flow. I was so happy when I first found out that I wasn’t the only writer who did that!
Who are your favorite authors?
Sarah J. Maas, Cassandra Clare, Julie Kagawa, Victoria Aveyard, Amanda Joy, Rick Riordan. I could honestly go on and on. Sarah J. Maas is my favorite author of all time; I love her Court of Thorns and Roses series. Rick Riordan is also amazing. I grew up reading the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus books. All of these authors are wonderful, and I know there are at least a dozen others I could include.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I originally wanted to publish traditionally. I was convinced that it was the best option for me. When I started working with New Degree Press on a nonfiction book (still working on that one!), I realized that hybrid publishing was something unique and unexpected that I had never encountered before and was a much better fit. I had the opportunity to retain all rights to my book, be involved in every aspect of the creative process, and really learn about the publishing process with mentors who were invested in me and my work. I absolutely loved my experience with them.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think there is a shift coming. I think once more authors learn about hybrid publishing and places with a presale method, there will be a rush towards these newer publishers. I loved that New Degree Press was still highly selective similar to a traditional publisher, but allowed me to have much more control over aspects like the cover that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
What genres do you write?
Young Adult, Fantasy
What formats are your books in?
All information is provided by the author and is presented as it was submitted so you the reader get to hear the author’s own “voice” in their interview.