You Interview Me!
From Victoria Ikpoh Slone (via Facebook):
How did you decide to write in the YA genre? Do you see yourself writing adult fiction at some point?
When I started writing, I had just finished reading the final book in the Harry Potter series. Prior to the Harry Potter, I hadn't read YA much at all. They didn't have much in the way of YA when we were in high school, so I'd pretty much been reading 'adult' books from the age of 12 on. But that series changed it all for me. YA was also an easy choice in terms of material. I enjoyed high school so much that I went on to be a high school teacher, so all of the relationships, drama, and insanely funny stories of high school were with me every day. I think there's a certain element of escape in it as well that I really enjoy. In high school you don't have bills, a house, a car payment, etc. Everything was very exciting and very tumultuous. And although I don't miss the drama, I enjoy reliving the excitement.
I think I might one day write adult fiction, or at least give it a go. I've written a couple pieces of Flash Fiction with adult characters and I did plot out a couple adult novels. I think if I do write something for adults, it will have to be funny though. I won't be writing anything serious.
Do you listen to any music while you write? If so, who?
I listen to a lot of music in the car while I'm plotting out the books in my head. Funny enough, some of my best ideas have come in the car, driving to work. My faves that really get the creativity moving are Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Muse, Mumford and Sons, Paramore, lots of punk. Some of my books/titles were inspired by music. In the Shadows, a song by the Rasmus, inspired Into the Shadows and Plan B's Welcome to Hell inspired a story I've plotted out using the same name. Funny enough, I don't generally listen to music while I write, except right now when I write at lunch at school. I usually have 103.5 (KISS FM) playing for background noise.
What time do you find yourself writing at most? Early morning, late at night?
Right now, I write during my lunch hour at school. My room is free, I close the door, put on the radio and get to it. No one bothers me and it's great. At home, I generally can only get writing done when my daughter is asleep. If it's on the weekend that means in the afternoon while she naps. During the week that means 8 PM after she goes to bed, which is always questionable because IN bed doesn't necessarily mean asleep, so I still get interrupted. I'm no good at writing in the morning. SO not a morning person!
From Traci Leigh Milligan (via Facebook):
When did you start writing? Have you been writing your whole life, or did you discover your passion for it later on?
I was one of those kids that kept notebooks full of story ideas. I also wrote a LOT of extremely lame journal entries and some awful teen-angsty poetry in high school. I wrote a story in grade school for a Young Authors program and was very upset that I didn't win. Funny enough, the story was based on the Led Zepplin song Stairway to Heaven. Apparently the music-writing connection started early. I'd also been an avid reader from a very young age and loved books to pieces. I was always happy to write in school and didn't mind writing research papers. I did write a speech that was chosen for my high school graduation.
Other than papers for school, I never wrote anything creative until I wrote Into the Shadows in 2007. In 2005-2006 I tried to start my own travel website, and realized that I really enjoyed writing. A lot. But then I had a kid and travel stopped due to lack of funds and I was stuck. I was also so upset that Harry Potter was ending and was starting to discover more YA books to fill that void. I decided that I would follow the advice I'd found online and write the book I'd love to read. And that's how I got started!
From Anna Hallock McEvilly (via Facebook):
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I remember writing in like 4th or 5th grade (probably in my Hello Kitty diary, thankyouverymuch) that when I grew up, I wanted to marry Josh Denslow (to whom I am not married), we would both be authors, and we would have two dogs. And then later I wanted to be a veterinarian, and then a singer/musical theater star, a history teacher, and then a German teacher. I'm sure there were probably a few other professions mixed in there as well. I never really thought about being a writer after 4th or 5th grade. I think losing that Young Authors contest killed it for me (hehe). But I do now have two dogs AND I wrote a book. And Josh Denslow is a very nice person and also a writer! Good thing we never got married because I turned out to be taller than him.
From Anonymous (via the blog):
When working in a genre, you have to follow certain conventions and meet certain expectations. What makes your work unique?
I think my work is unique because I have a lot of experience to bring to the table. I travel quite a bit, I read everything from books, to the newspaper, to the back of the cereal box, and I've studied a lot of history, specifically German history. I also teach high school and I've played and coached sports. I think I try to use all of my knowledge to bring a unique twist to the stories I write. In Into the Shadows, I based the plot on the Nazis' rise to power and the McCarthy era in the U.S. I then added different layers and elements to it, to change it into something more modern and relevant. My thought was that the lessons learned from the Holocaust are important, but not every child today can relate to those circumstances. I thought by taking the same themes and wrapping them into something that today's kids can understand and giving it a paranormal twist, that I'd come up with something a little different. I guess we'll see if the readers feel the same way!
Thanks for all of the awesome questions! If you have any more, leave them and I'll answer in the comments section!