1. So… you’ve won a Figment contest and had your work commented on by a published author (Jennifer Knight). How does that feel?
It feels amazing! I was thrilled to hear that I won the contest on Figment. The challenge of writing a romance backwards was great for me as a writer. Writing a romance alone is a challenge, since my stories tend to lean towards the “dark” side. Jennifer’s feedback was incredible. Not only did she point out the things that she liked about Fire & Ice, but she gave me constructive criticism. She pointed out parts that I could have made stronger by adding or removing certain things. I couldn’t be more grateful to her for that.
2. In each of your works there is a darkness and a sense of danger or despair that your character must face, even if it ends in eventual death (Reticence, The Rose Garden, No Regrets). How do you mentally prepare yourself to write something dark or “violent”? What inspires it?
Can I just say first off that I’m really excited you read some of my stories?! My answer for this, sadly, will be rather lame. I don’t prepare for writing any of my stories. I just sit down at the computer and start typing. My characters always take on a life of their own and make decisions of their own. I simply write them out. When I do sit down to write with intent, the story usually careens far from it. “The Rose Garden,” for instance, was intended to be a love story. I wrote it for Valentine’s Day. However, the story unwound itself in quite a different way. My inspiration for that story, obviously, was roses. A simple image or sometimes even word can inspire a whole story for me in a flash. “Reticence” was inspired by its own title. Reticence was emailed to me by Merriam Webster as word of the day. And the story unfurled in my mind before I knew what hit me.
3. Your blog, Word Lust, has quite a following. How does it feel to be a YA blogger and what’s the biggest challenge of having a YA blog? Any advice for others starting a blog of their own?
My blog has quite a following? Really?! lol Honestly, it took a great deal of networking for it to get there. Twitter, Facebook, weekly events on other blogs, contest, blog hops. There are so many ways to generate new followers to your blog, and it all takes time and work. That, really, is the hardest part of blogging for me. Finding followers.
I always had a confidence in my writing that I can’t explain. From the very first story I wrote, I drove everyone around me nuts, just begging for them to read it. But with each person that read it, I was still incredibly nervous. I don’t think you ever get past that either. Well-known published authors I’ve met have said just that. But you do learn how to handle it. The best way to start is by just biting the bullet and throwing yourself out there. Know that some people will not like your work, and some people will love it. I mean, just look at my story, Fire & Ice, which this is all about. The first comment on that story on my Figment page is that this particular reader didn’t like some aspects of it. Was I upset? Yes. But I thanked her for it, and then others left positive comments that made her critique worthwhile.
5. If you were trapped in Figment headquarters, what would you do??
Okay. You’re probably going to think I’m horrible, but… I would feature all of my favorite stories on the main page of Figment. Not all of them would be my own writing. There are some pieces by fellow Figmenters that I’ve stumbled across and would love to feature, but I would definitely put some of mine up.
6. What is your favorite book, and what book are you most excited about being released?
My favorite book right now is Chime by Franny Billingsley. Franny is utterly brilliant. Her writing is poetic and lyrical and I tend to completely lose myself within her words. The book I’m most highly anticipating right now is Forever by Maggie Stiefvater. I cannot wait to know how the Wolves of Mercy Falls end their story. Please, please, please let Sam and Grace be together!
7. You’re in the middle of writing a poem or story, and you suddenly hit a snag – what do you do to overcome this?
Some writers would probably scream at me for saying this, but it’s just what works for me. I. Walk. Away. Sometimes, a little distance is all I need to find perspective and get back on track with my story. The very thing happened with Fire & Ice. I couldn’t quite get “The Beginning” figured out. So I left it alone for two days. When I went back to it, I wrote the whole section within about five minutes. Sometimes you just have to clear your head.
Thanks Amy, and congratulations!!