If you're a writer, you know that it helps to have an over-active imagination. If you can take the smallest thing and turn it into something wild and crazy, then you've accomplished more than most.
When I interviewed this next Indie author, and she told me about a few of her stories that she'd written as a young girl, I knew she was one of those few people with wild imaginations. Read her interview below and find out why.
AJ: Tell us a little about your background that led you to become a writer.
N.A.C.: I remember at the age of eight, or thereabouts, sitting in front of a typewriter which I still own. I wanted to write a story. I don't know why, I just did. So I tried. I had no idea how. I wrote, "A woman bought a red dress." It was at that time I told myself, "You may not know all the story, and that's OK. Expand from there." Here I was eight and already employing the snowflake method! I haven't tried that method since. I don't know why.
I tried to make it bigger. How much did she pay for the dress? What did she need it for? At the time, she paid 80¢ (or maybe $80?) and wanted it for a party. That was when my mother told me to stop for some reason and do something else. Who knows what! Later, in fifth grade, I wrote a story about vampiric squirrels. I thought it was awesome. No one else liked it from what I can tell, and looking back, it was pretty silly. But I was 10!! Reading some of the kids' books today, I wonder if should try and find it and turn it into something.
After college, I got bored. I was single and working and needed something to do. I researched and tried to plot a sci-fi. I'm actually glad I didn't, because the internet is now full with people who follow the plot I had thought of as an actual religion (apparently I wasn't the only one thinking the story!). It would bother me to think I could have inspired something like that. When I became a mother, I once again tried to write. This time, it was screen plays. And once again, sci-fi. I never could finish a book or a play. I would always have a premise and a beginning, but never could get past that. Today I still struggle with endings, but I do them.
Years later, I finally finished my first book. It was a picture book about children's teeth. The teeth were afraid to come out. It was terrible. Then I wrote another picture book, this time a new concept, a serial picture book. It was cute, and could be turned into something, but it would take a lot of work. Finally, a few years ago, while I was struggling with health issues and life, I wrote my first novel. I struggled greatly with that part, once again, past the beginning. I was 25,000 words in when I found the 8-point story arc. It allowed me to finish my first one. Since then, they haven't been a piece of cake, but they've been SO much easier than that first novel. Oh the tears!
AJ: How many books have you written? And, in what genre would you classify your works?
N.A.C.: I really don't know, and it would depend on if you count stories or not. Suffice it to say, I have published four books. I will soon publish a fifth and query a sixth. So far, mine have all been children's from PB to YA. My fifth is a NF, What Does Spider Poop Look Like? It's about all the different kinds of animal poop with pictures and odd facts. It's had a lot of interest. It's also the first one I would recommend getting the e-version of, because I include so many links to videos and educational pages. I do have a Sci-fi series planned, but the characters will be mostly, if not all, adult. Think Sliders/Dr. Who/Star Trek.
AJ: What inspired you to write your first book?
N.A.C.: I'm going to go with Anya and the Secrets of Cupola on this one. It wasn't my first, but my first published. I had severe anxiety issues. I turned them into a book. I'm not going to say it cured me, but it most certainly helped! Every book I write, just about, teaches me. Some even heal me. I think that's wonderful. Turned out to be vitamin deficiencies, diet, and thyroid, but I can't say writing that book didn't do me a world of good. I will also say that I wrote because I was starving for creative stories. I had lived where there was at least a new good book every month at the library. I moved to where there were none. It could also have to do that I moved just after the crash of '09, and publishing took a bullet to its heart. I was starving for a new book, a book like Of Giants and Ice by Shelby Bach, like The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau, and Anya and the Secrets of Cupola did just that. It told the story I needed to hear the way I needed to hear it, and it combined elements of both of those other worlds.
AJ: What are your current projects?
N.A.C.: I am currently finishing up What Does Spider Poop Look Like? as mentioned earlier. I plan to release it December 2017. I worked with Zoo Knoxville on that one and am very proud of it. I am also working on a YA Sci-fi completely different in style from my other books, but many of my readers like the samples I have posted. Unlike The Cupolian Series, which are fun books in third person limited POV, Inhabitants is a serious book in third person omniscient. The Earth is tormented by quakes that are only growing in intensity and frequency. I'm really excited about it.
AJ: Do you enjoy reading, as well? If so, whose books do you read for inspiration?
N.A.C.: I do enjoy reading, but not as much as I used to. It's really sad, but I'm sure happens to us all. As we learn to analyze our own writing, we start analyzing what we read, ruining that magical moment of being completely absorbed into someone else's world. I am currently reading the Tunnels series as homework for Inhabitants. It is also written in third person omniscient and about the Earth. I'm listening to and reading others, but that book is part of my research. I also read Legend by Marie Lu for help with what I should include with this new YA.
AJ: What’s your favorite book by your favorite author? And, why?
N.A.C.: I can't really answer this question because I don't really know. There are a few I own and cherish, but there's not one I hold above all the others. I used to love the Harry Potter series. I don't know why I'm not as into it as I was, but I'm not.
AJ: What is your goal, or mission, as a writer?
N.A.C.: This changes all the time. At first I wanted to make money. Now, I do it because I have to. I am always plotting and have a vivid imagination, and if I don't have an outlet for that imagination, I will literally go crazy. It's happened before. It's not pretty. It's like exercising. If I don't do it regularly, I ache and feel bad. Not writing for very long makes me anxious and irritable. I would love to make money at it, to tour around signing books and such, but right now, I have to be content with the letters I get from readers who say I have inspired them to write. What a privilege to be an inspiration for someone!! I don't even try to market my books like I used to anymore. That's not what it's about for me anymore.
AJ: What has been the toughest criticism you’ve received as an author? And the best compliment?
N.A.C.: I get a lot of the same criticism, but it's always from the same group of people too, so I've just learned to ignore that particular section of negativity. The best compliment I've had was from a twelve year old boy who owns the complete Cupolian series and has read them several times each. You can't beat that!
AJ: Have you been able to travel for your writing? If so, what was the most exciting place you visited? If not, what would be one place you would choose to visit and write about?
N.A.C.: LOL! I did go to a writing convention in KY once. But as far as visiting for location, the only place would probably be Zoo Knoxville for my poop book. That was a blast! I have no idea where I would visit to write about if given the chance. Since I'm so into fantasy and Sci-fi, those locations would be hard to book. Lol!
AJ: How can readers discover more about you?
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