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Keep reading to learn my answers to the Authortube Newbie Tag and find out how I got into writing, my inspirations and my writing goals.
I’ve been lurking on YouTube for a long timewatching all sorts of videos, from lifestyle and beauty and that sort of thing, to book reviews. Eventually when I embraced my creative side I started watching YouTubers like Joanna Penn, from The Creative Penn, who posts her podcasts here in video format. I also religiously watch Jenna Moreci and Kim Chance. I found out about the AuthorTube Newbie Tag from my Instagram friend Living Within Fiction.
2. What genres do you write in?
My current working progress, EVEREARTH, is a young adult urban fantasy with dystopian elements. It’s set in our world in the not-too-distant future when, due to human activity, all the natural ecosystems have collapsed and all wild animals have become extinct. Cataclysmic events have reshaped the earth and reshaped the nations and corporations are running city-states for profit. The main character, Noah, discovers she has extra-natural abilities which allow her to see the feelings and read the thoughts of other people. She finds herself in a situation that is life and death. When she finds herself away from home in a world she never knew existed she has to discover the true purpose of the Agrigen Corporation and how it is linked to her family’s past and ultimately has to save her sister and save the day.
Read the full synopsis of EVEREARTH here and sign up to my mailing list for updates on the writing and publication process, including your chance to score a free book!
3. What is your preferred writing tense, point of view, and category of story? (Children’s, YA, NA, Adult, etc.)
My favourite writing tense and point of view is third person, past tense. Although I do like to read present tense and first person point of view occasionally, I find the past tense/third person lends itself to a broader world view and I like to get more of a bird’s-eye view of the situation, setting and characters rather than just being limited by one character’s point of view. I prefer to write and often also read in the young adult category as there is a real magic about the potential and intensity of emotion in that age group which makes epic adventures so gripping.
4. Are you a plotter, pantser, or plantser?
I am mostly a plotter. For my current work in progress, EVEREARTH, I plotted the entire story chapter by chapter. I know exactly what is happening each chapter and I know exactly how the ebbs and flows of the action need to work, where the climax is and where we need to be more reflective. But within the actual chapter itself I have only a very loose idea of what needs to happen what I need to do. When I sit down to write, it just flows out of me and sometimes goes in the direction that I didn’t anticipate.
I love that serendipitous aspect of the creative process. As much as you might try to rein in your story or really have everything figured out, your characters will surprise you, your imagination will surprise you, and things will grow in a really organic way that adds to your story in ways that you could never have predicted, but ultimately makes your story better.
5. Are you a self-published, published, or yet-to-be published?
I am yet-to-be published. My goals for 2017 include finishing my first draft of EVEREARTH and doing one revision myself, before I find some alpha and beta readers to give me some feedback. At this point, I think I’m likely to go down the self-publishing route but I will probably try my hand at traditional publishing as well. Part of me wants to see my book on a bookshelf and I do buy books from bookstores, so that still holds some appeal to me.
But I’m definitely not going to be deterred from publishing by rejections. I don’t need anybody’s permission to put out my work, which is something I’ve only realised recently. There are so many tools and avenues available now to empower writers and remove the gatekeepers of the industry. Plus, traditional publishing contracts are often not very favourable to debut authors. So, I will be self-publishing if the traditional publishing route doesn’t pan out to my liking.
6. What publishing company, literary agent, and/or printing company are you represented by or use? If you’re not yet published, what is your dream publishing house and/or literary agent?
I plan to do more in-depth research into which publishing house would be a suitable fit for my book when the time comes. One of my favourite authors who writes in the my genre is Australian author, Isobelle Carmody. She’s published by Penguin, so that would be my ultimate publishing house.
7. What AuthorTube related videos can we expect to find on your channel?
I’m hoping to put out one video a month. having to put out and usually about one video a month. I’m trying to fit in YouTube, Instagram, my website and my writing around full-time work. So I think I can commit to one video a month and that way I don’t disappoint myself and others if I set an unachievable goal.
The kinds of videos but I’m hoping to make will be related to writing and sharing my writing journey. I’m certainly no expert, but I’m happy to share anything that I try and works for me; any resources that I have, any tools that I come across, I will be sharing with writers. So this channel will be for writers.
I’m also going to be sharing about the books that I’m enjoying or not enjoying, doing some reviews and just talking about books. So this channel will also be for readers.
I will probably also share bookshelf tours, and the ways that I decorate with books in my home because I love to collect and display books. So you can expect some lifestyle videos and vlogs as well.
8. When did you start writing?
I’ve been writing all my life. Even before I could write, I was telling stories in my head and orally. As a child, my favourite kind of toys were small plastic animals. I collected a large numbers of them and used them to role play and story tell.
9. What was the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I can remember writing was a ghost story that I wrote in fourth grade. It featured all the story-telling clichés, from really obvious foreshadowing to “and then I woke up and it was all a dream” ending. But I am eternally grateful for my teacher, Mr Boxall, who didn’t crush my little writer’s heart and instead fostered a love of writing and reading and encouraged creativity. He was also the first person to introduce me to the fantasy genre, reading us The Weirdstone of Brisingamen at the end of each school day. Thank you Mr Boxall, you changed the course of my life!
10. What authors have inspired your writing the most?
So many! In terms of my current project, EVEREARTH, I would say it’s Divergent meets the Obernewtyn Chronicles in terms of its dystopian, post-apocalyptic and fantasy elements. So Veronica Roth and Isobelle Carmody have been inspirational in terms of the genre I write in.
I look up to indie authors like J. F. Penn and Jenna Moreci for paving their own path, and not asking for permission to put their books out there. It’s a tough road to take since you have to do everything yourself in the beginning, from cover design and formatting, to marketing and analytics, all the while not letting doubt derail you without any guarantee of success.
Finally, Sarah J. Maas is an author I’ve followed since her fan fiction writing days and I cried along with her when she got THE CALL to say she’d secured a publishing deal. Now she’s a mega best-seller and has the most heart-warming relationship with her readers. It’s motivating to look at what she’s achieved and know that it’s possible, even if you’re not J.K Rowling!
11. Do you schedule your writing sessions or simply get to writing whenever you can find the time?
I try to schedule my writing time. Nanowrimo was great because it got me into a habit of writing daily and getting into that focused state where I tried to avoid distractions and I just eliminated everything from my vicinity. I use Scrivener, which has a handy block-out feature so all I had in front of me was my page of text and everything else was blacked out. I could just put my phone on airplane mode and focus on writing for that period of time. That taught me that I can get a lot done in a short time if I focus, and that I really to silence my inner editor, otherwise I would rewrite the same passage over and over again.
Having said that, the pace of Nanowrimo was a bit much. I didn’t really schedule any breaks from writing so I got a bit fatigued half way through and I didn’t end up winning. It was my first time attempting Nanowrimo, so hopefully this year I will do better. This year I have set myself a more realistic goal: to write 1000 words a day, 3 to 5 days a week.
12. Do you type on a computer, typewriter, write everything out by hand, or use a blend of those? And where do you write in general?
I type on my laptop and I use a program called Scrivener. I also use Evernote to keep notes or manually back up my Scrivener files. Evernote syncs my phone and laptop so when I’m out and about I like to add notes or ideas there. I also use some handwritten notes. Sometimes you just have to write things by hand to get a feel for how they fit together. For example, after I typed up my outline on my laptop, I wrote it on post-it notes and I physically arranged them on the wall so I could see how my main plot points fit together.
I used to write wherever I could and, because I have a laptop, I was quite mobile. Whether it was at home or out at a café, on the couch, in bed, at my dining table, I wrote wherever I felt cozy, but I developed repetitive strain injury (RSI) and now have back and shoulder pain. So, don’t do that, everybody! Set yourself up with an ergonomic writing station, whatever it is, just make sure your back is straight.
I now have a dedicated writing desk with an adjustable chair, so no more slouching for me! I also have a standing desk where I can take regular breaks from sitting. My husband and I upcycled used furniture we found on Gumtree, so it is possible to set yourself up a comfortable writing station and a beautiful, inspiring writing space very cheaply with a little bit of creativity.
13. What are you most looking forward to now that you’re a part of AuthorTube?
I absolutely love social media for connecting with like-minded people. I’ve been on Instagram for about a year and I’ve met the most wonderful people, shared very similar experiences going through things like Nanowrimo together, encouraging each other and seeing how other people deal with the same problems that I have. Being able to ask for advice for advice, being able to offer support or share knowledge has been invaluable. So I’m hoping for a similar experience here on YouTube.
If you’re interested in seeing more videos from me on the topics of books, reading and writing, please subscribe to my channel! If you’d like updates on EVEREARTH, including how you can score a free copy, sign up to my mailing list. Get in touch with any questions, comments or feedback.