When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
Knowing I wanted to be a writer is completely different from thinking it would be fun to write. I love Joss Whedon. I think he is a GENIUS. After a couple of friends discovered the brilliance of the show Firefly, I enticed them with another Joss Whedon series– Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After they watched all 200+ episodes of Buffy and also Angel, I figured it would be fun to write them into a story set in that world and give it to them as a gift. 40,000 words later, I found out that fun didn’t even begin to cover it! I was still sitting in the “It’d be fun to write” mind set, though.
I read MG books to my kids every night, and have for a whole lot of years. But when I read them the story I wrote, it was beyond anything I had ever experienced before. I knew at that moment I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing books, and that I was willing to learn and grow and work hard and persevere and do what it took to be published.
Is it bad to admit that I've never seen an episode of Buffy? *hides* And I think it's awesome that you can write middle grade. I cannot do it. I really want to once day though.
Do you have a writing schedule, or do you just sit down whenever you get a spare moment?
During this summer, I set 7:00-10:00 am as my writing time, and treated it as sacred. Actually, I treated it the same as I treat sleep at 3:00 am. Can I wake up and do something at 3am if it’s really important? Of course! But usually sleep is the most important thing at that time. Writing was the most important thing from 7-10. Now that school has started and I’m back at work, writing time takes a lot more creativity to find.
I wish I had three straight hours to just write! That would be awesome. Someday...
Could you tell us a little about yourself? Random facts? Hidden talents?
Random facts... Because of torn ligaments, my limbs aren't fully attached. All four of them. Sorta like they are tied on with a rope and the rope is fraying to varying degrees, depending on the limb. If I lived in medieval times and the king ordered me quartered, it wouldn't take four of his best horses. He could probably use bunnies or something.
LOL! Bunnies. :)
Hidden talents... I can do an impressively long hand stand. Oh, wait. That was the cause of two of my limbs not currently being fully attached. I guess we better leave it at I USED to be able to do an impressively long hand stand.
I wish I could have timed you! Do you know you're record time?
If you were stranded on a desert island, what is one thing you couldn't live without? (Besides your family and a laptop of course.)
Can I say Internet connection, or is that totally cheating? I mean, if I’ve got the laptop with me...
Uh ... maybe it can be an island that has wi-fi. ;)
What is one book you could read over and over and over?
That's hard! There are way too many books in the world to keep reading the same ones. :) I’ve read Harry Potter and the Eragon series myself, and have loved reading them again to my kids. I also loved reading the Deltora Quest series and the Gregor the Overlander series to my kids multiple times. As far as just myself? I’m going to go with Shannon Hale’s books of Bayern (Goose Girl & companions), because the language in them is SO BEAUTIFUL.
I LOVE Shannon Hale's books! Love. And Harry Potter. And Eragon.:)
What book are you dying to read this year?
Divergent and Possession. Two books I still can’t even believe I haven’t read yet.
Ditto! I have both of them on my shelves and haven't gotten to them yet!
What genre do you write and why?
I write middle grade, mostly adventure tinged with science fiction to make it feel a bit like fantasy. My latest is post-apocalyptic.
Why? Three reasons, really.
1. Because 3rd - 7th graders rock the world.
2. Because I blush writing kissing scenes, and MG rarely has them.
3. Because not every kid is willing to pick up a fantasy book, yet there’s so much room to play with fantasy! But really, the technology we have now seemed like magic 100 years ago. I found that if you give something a little bit of science fiction, it opens up a LOT of room to play.
Fantasy rocks. Seriously. And you're totally missing out on writing kissing scenes. ;) That's one reason I can't write middle grade. I have to have my romance!! :D
Do you have any writing rituals? Music, silence, eating, etc.
Silence usually, eating occasionally, headphones with Pandora when the room around me is way too chatty. When I am editing, I work on my desktop because I love the big screen and the bigger keyboard. When I’m drafting, I use my mini laptop and go somewhere. The park, a place that has a similar feel to the book, a café, or even my kitchen table. I write best when I’m not at my desk.
I wish I could go somewhere else to write sometimes. Alas, I'm usually home in front of my desk top. Or I have my mini laptop on my lap while the hubby is watching a movie next to me.
Where do you come up with your ideas? Dreams, while driving, etc?
I have a reinforced steel wall in my brain, behind which all ideas, plot, scenes, and answers lie. I beat and beat and beat on that wall until I punch a hole. I pull out everything I can reach, then start punching a new hole. It’s probably not the easiest way.
As far as the first thing that sparks an idea for a book? For my first book, it came from a location in my childhood. The book I’m querying came from flying in an airplane over clouds. The one I’m drafting came from the last four seconds of a dream in the wee hours of the night before a child burst into my room saying they were sick. Apparently, sometimes four seconds is all you need. :)
Oh, I love those nights when a child comes in my room after they've thrown up in their bed. Best. Nights. Ever.
Any advice for other aspiring authors?
Oh, you mean besides sit and stare at this blog because it’s the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen?
Convince yourself that you are good at this! That you have what it takes to persevere. That you have the ability to beat odds that most people can’t beat. You’ll need to fall back on that A LOT.
Ha ha! You are so cute! :) And great advice. You really do have to have a good attitude about everything or rejection will eat you alive.
Random Writing Question: If you could put your current main character in a fantasy world from a different book, what would you choose and why?
That’s a hard question! My MC, Hope, is bold, capable, physical, daring, impulsive and smart. I’m going to have to go with Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. If you haven’t read it and like fantasy even a smidgeon, read it! It’s mind blowing. The magic system is based on metals, and they use it in ways that if it were ever made into a movie, it’d be the most visually stunning ever. I’d love to put Hope in there and see what new kinds of things she could do with their magic, and what kinds of trouble she’d get herself in. It’d be epic.
Another person recommending Mistborn. Now I HAVE to read it! It sounds fantastic. :) Thank you so much for being here today, Peggy! You are SO much fun!