She interviewed herself a while back, and I was so intrigued, I asked if she could make a few questions for me! Here is the interview. Enjoy!
1. Q: When did you start writing? and/or What inspired you to start writing?
A: I was always writing little stories or making up stories in my head. However, I did not write my first project until I was eleven when I had a vivid dream about twin girls who were magical. Somehow, I just knew they were goddesses and that twins were rare among them. I wrote in a purple notebook the first chapter of my story, originally thinking they were half-goddess and half-witch. After speaking with my best friend Sarah at school and letting her read what I had, I found a writing partner. Together, over the course of a year, we filled three notebooks with utter crap and fun ideas. It culminated at about 500 pages. Considering how well The Percy Jackson series turned out, The Goddess Realm just may have done well, provided we acquired decent spelling and writing skills. Lol! In case you’re wondering, the story was about twin goddesses attending a camp to learn magic. With Sarah as the Earth goddess and Emily as the water goddess, they make, quite obviously, the Earth Twins. The rest of the story revolves around them learning about their parents— Artemis and Apollo— and their strife with the god of the Underworld. Enter Furies, magic, sub-plots, and Realms and we’ve got a badly written story! :D
2. Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A: I’m not sure. Likely when we finished our first draft of TGR, or maybe when another writer called Persephone Hellcat from Yahoo Answers told me she was proud of how much my second draft improved in terms of writing. We added so much depth to the story at thirteen. That’s when, if ever, I first considered myself a born writer.
3. Q: How would you describe your writing style?
A: Honestly, it depends greatly on the character. Their voice is the driving force behind any story. When it comes to my novel Sleep, Sarah has described my writing as very cold, hard and refined like a diamond. Lewis, a main character, displays this trait most prominently. My other main character Liz, however, is more straightforward, more sarcastic in her wording. Yet my antagonist, Evangeline, is tentative and fragile, often repeating herself in the prose. Her schizophrenia plays a large part in her POV, though it is minimal in comparison to Liz and Lewis’s narration. With her, sentences frequently trail off, repeat, or break entirely. It is likely the most difficult point of view I have ever attempted. Yet another example is Jin from my NaNoWriMo novel Golden; her wording is simple, almost devoid of metaphor as I am trying to give it the immediacy of an eleven year-old’s oral account.
4. Q: How do you come up with titles?
A: Titles? Oh gosh, that’s though. I wish I had a ground-breaking answer to help novices everywhere. Instead, I can only say my titles usually come during or before the writing process. Sleep started out as a working title because I needed to give the first eight chapters to Sarah for her birthday. Yes, I wrote her a novel— I’m an awesome best friend! The title grew on me; now I could not imagine a better one! Golden is also a working title, which references to the main character’s hair. As for the uncompleted Her Fear of Heights, I was largely influenced by His Dark Materials and Her Fearful Symmetry. Sarah came up with the brilliant title for our first novel.
5. Q: What are your favorite books and/or authors?
A: I love Richelle Mead. She’s an amazing novelist and an interesting speaker. Her Vampire Academy series never ceases to amaze me, as does the fact I own several signed books. Succubus Blues was wonderful as well and I’m going to read more of her adult series fairly soon, including Dark Swan. I also love Julie Anne Peters; her novel Keeping You a Secret made me cry! I love Ellen Hopkins, especially Impulse, and Amelia Atwater-Rhodes intrigues me. I fell in love with the amazing Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and have read her books since ninth grade. Some other favorites include: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause, The Series of Unfortunate Events by the ever-awe-inspiring Lemony Snicket, Harry Potter, The Host by Stephenie Meyer, Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan, The Halfway to the Grave series by Jeanine Frost, Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden series, and The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner. I love Kristin Cashore and Vikas Swarup very much. Some Girls: My Life in a Harem was the first memoir I read, and extremely well written and interesting. I love the Manga The Last Airbender Prequel: Zuko’s Story as well. As you can see, I read a lot.
6. Q: What book are you reading now?
A: Two: Love Bites: A Vampire Kisses Novel and the Night World Book One by L.J. Smith. I hope to read The Hunger Games soon, as well as Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. That’s a very thick book, though! :D
7. Q: Tell us about something (or everything) you're currently writing.
A: Sleep— a romance-thriller centered around the relationship between a human girl and a Manipulator boy whose affinity is putting her to sleep. Makes touching very difficult, if you can imagine.
Children of the Sun— a FanFiction set in the Avatar: The Last Airbender world. Prince Zuko rescues a Courtesan from burning to death. But will he come to regret this decision when Areida knows nothing about the Avatar? Or will they embrace a budding romance and have enough luck to escape both their pasts together?
Colder— a short story I may post sometimes centering around main character Mia as she explores her own dark thoughts, written for a contest promoting mental disorder awareness. I chose clinical depression and anxiety, as well as the more uncommon exploration of the accompanying mania and numbness.
Golden— an upcoming novel I felt was worth putting here. Set in fictional China and India, the fantasy creates a new spin on the One Child Policy as it follows an eleven-year-old circus performer named Jin.
8. Q: What do you think makes a good book?
A: Characters. A novel is literally nothing without them. So, this means no Mary Sues. A character must be always believable, sometimes relatable, and never flat.
9. Q: What do you want people to learn and/or experience from your writing?
A: If they could gain information or walk away with some sort of emotional attachment, be it love or hate. Should they take away something from what they read, I’ll be happy.
10. Q: What's the best part about writing? What's the worst part about writing?
A: Again, characters have so much to do with it. I love hearing what they have to say and watching them evolve throughout the story. It is such a reward! However, they can lie to me at times, or refuse to accept a certain outcome. They are rebellious and uncertain when it comes to my wishes. In the end, no one listens to me and my novels are better because of it. The hardest thing about writing, to expand on that, is probably . . . writing itself? No, really, my ipod and email distract me. Seriously, though, I think the most difficult thing about writing novels is ignoring my inner-editor, the forgetting absence of my muse, and getting over my fear of offending someone or getting an important fact dead wrong. The last one comes into play with Evangeline and the setting of Golden.
11. Q: What's your writing schedule like? How do you find time to write? When/Where do you like to write?
A: It depends on how busy I am, but I tend to write every day after school. For some reason, I get lazy during the summer, although I’ll sometimes makes up for it by writing all day long. I force myself to write all the time because the craft is about 50% sweat; I make time myself rather than find it. I have a laptop in my room. For some reason, I find I write best/most often at night. Especially during NaNoWriMo, I make deals with myself. “Once I’m done with this chapter, I can take a shower.” Lol!
12. Q: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
A: I read, of course, listen to music, perform in any play I can, hang out with my lovable, crazy friends, watch Disney movies like Mullan and Aladin, encourage my OCD by rearranging the books on my bookshelf . . . they somehow always manage to end up in the same places.
13. Q: What genres do you like to write?
A: My writing tends to be more fantasy and romance or a combination thereof.
14. Q: Would you like to have a career involving writing?
A: More than anything I hope to write novels as a profession.
15. Q: What are your characters like? Do you have any favorites?
A: I have too many and I love all of them . . . I love Liz, an independent, self-assured, selfish girl about sixteen. Amit is one of my human characters, an Indian boy about fourteen and Jin’s lovable best friend; he’s so energetic and cute. He’s the type of guy who can do anything. Evangeline is also wonderful to write with. She’s intelligent and supremely sweet, living a full immortal life despite her condition. Plus, her past is probably the most interesting out of most of the Sleep characters.
16. Q: What advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
A: This may seem simple, but all I have to say is, “Just write.” Do not put it off one more minute if you want to write. If you have any idea at all, use it. Don’t worry about what other people might think. Another piece of advice I have is to ignore your inner-editor. I’m one to talk, but you really need to focus on getting down your first draft and editing afterward. Don’t compare yourself to other writers— you are unique and have your own style. Don’t focus on publishing because the wagon goes AFTER the horse, not before it. The last bit of random advice I have is likely the most significant: Listen to your characters.
I hear many budding writers fretting over what to name their characters and how to make them believable and well-rounded. I say don’t worry about this. Your characters will tell you their names sooner or later— would you let a nurse name your baby? Likely not. Don’t tell someone tell name your characters or decide their traits. If you’re worried about Mary Sues, you cannot avoid learning your characters inside and out. Once you know them well enough, take the Mary Sue Litmus Test or just The Mary Sue Test. The results are not always accurate, but the points are really good to ponder if you’re worried about Mary Sue qualities.
17. Q: Have you had any particular experiences that have affected/inspired your writing?
A: Well, Colder stemmed from my own experiences, while Golden was inspired by Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nothing really affects my writing directly though, aside from inspiration. Also, I usually create play lists for my novels so I can listen to music as I write.
18. Q: What (if any) music inspires you? and/or Do any of your books/characters have theme songs?
A: Music changes for each book, both because of the differences and because I write them at different times when I have different music playing. Sleep has a ton of Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance, as well as Flyleaf, Red, Evanescence, Three Days Grace, Within Temptation, Paramore, and Eyes Set to Kill. For my FanFiction, Children of the Sun, I’m listening to a lot of Three Days Grace, Disturbed, and M.I.A. For Golden, I have a lot of Hindi songs on the play list as well as songs like Great DJ by the Ting Tings, Hoppipolla, Famous Last Words by My Chemical Romance, and Stand in the Rain by Superchick. Less heavy, for the most part, slightly less dark. Music is a huge part of the writing process for me.
19. Q: Anything else you want people to know about you?
A: I am random and silly, yet also thoughtful. Some tell me I am mature for my age, but I’ve no clue what ‘mature’ means right now. Books are the most important things in the world. My favorite foods are chocolate, pickles, popcorn, and pizza. As far as drinks go, I like Coke, Dr. Pepper, and Sprite. I am obsessed with YouTube and FanFiction. I love Dev Patel, Mae Whitman, Kristen Stewart, and Dante Basco for being so inspiring to me for both acting and writing. I used to think blogging was nerdy, but secretly wanted one. My ipod travels with me and I feel terrible without at least one book in my purse. :D
A big thanks to the readers and a bigger thanks to the amazing Brigid for having the grace to interview me!! Thank you!!