The Kitchen Table
Looks like I just missed you, but please, help yourself to a cinnamon roll and a cup of tea – everything’s on the sideboard over there.
I know you said you had some questions for me and I’m sorry I’m not there to answer them for you right now. I’ve gotten plenty of questions before, so I’ve answered some of the most common and most interesting here.
Hopefully this collection will satisfy most of your curiosity.
About My Writing
We’ll assume this means the first book I wrote, rather than the first book I ever read, which I don’t remember. Aside from some school projects (which I don’t really count), the first book I ever wrote was The Book in the Attic. I know – nothing like jumping in at the deep end, right?
Nope. As odd as it may sound, my characters are distinct people in my mind, and therefore can’t possibly “be” anyone that actually exists in real life. The one and only thing I’ve ever based on a real person is a very small quirk of a very minor character – the teaching assistant who says “Fantastic!” all the time in class. I had a teacher who did this, and it always struck me as amusing for some reason, probably because it happened over and over and over again. Other than that one small trait, any similarities are entirely coincidental and not at all intentional.
A little of both, I guess. The more characters there are, the harder it is to keep them all straight and keep track of how they all fit together. On the other hand, more characters means more interactions between characters, and that makes the story more interesting and therefore easier to develop new twists and turns.
I have two favorite things about being an author. One is, of course, the writing. I absolutely love to write, and sometimes it’s hard to believe that I actually get to do this as a “job”. It’s not work if you love what you do, and I’m so grateful that this is true for me.
My other favorite ‘thing’ about being an author is actually ‘things’: you guys, my readers. I love all of you, your interest in and enthusiasm for my writing. I’m honored that you’ve taken your time to read my stories and allowed my characters into your lives. I love hearing from you guys, reading your words about how my writing has impacted your lives or changed the way you look at the world. To hear that my stories have touched people in so many ways is such an amazing thing, and all of you have made that happen.
Oh, so many things, but one thing that jumps to the top of my thoughts about this is freedom. I love that when I sit down to write, I have no boundaries, no restrictions, no limitations. I can just let my imagination fly, and that’s a fantastic feeling. I also love creating characters and getting to know them, imagining where their story has been and where it might go in the future.
Additionally, the more I write, the more I find I truly enjoy the actual process of writing, crafting with words to communicate an idea. Finding just the right words to convey the ideas in my head is a challenge, but a compelling one for me. Writing isn’t always easy, but I have an enjoyment of the “work” aspects of it, a sense of satisfaction when I wrestle with a difficult section and finally work through it. I love that there’s always something I can learn, something I can improve about my writing. I hope I keep improving, and maybe once I’ve published a hundred books or so, I’ll be a little bit better at it.
About Celia's Journey
It all started with something I’d read a while ago that said something about how reading books opened up new worlds for you to discover. I started thinking about what it might be like if that actually happened, if opening a book really did open up a new world for you to explore, and that’s how the idea for Celia’s Journey began.
I seem to have two options for selecting names when I write. One is that the name has a meaning, even if it doesn’t really have much impact on the plot of the story. Those names are carefully researched and crafted to be exactly what they are. The other option is that the name doesn’t have any particular meaning and just is what it is. These names aren’t researched at all, and either the name appears with the character or it just “fits”. As you can see, one option is very methodical, very scientific, and the other is… not. Amusingly, this probably describes me very well.
Celia’s name, both first and last, was the second option. I didn’t research it or even consider other options, just sat down, wrote the name, and never looked back.
Yes, I knew how it would end when I started, at least in a general sense. I made a rough outline of the series at the beginning, but I don’t generally work from a very detailed outline, so while I always knew the major things, all of the smaller details emerged along the way.
We all use slang, abbreviations, etc., so I knew the demesne would be no different, and the younger generation is more likely to use slang terms, which meant that kids at a school absolutely had to have a slang of their own. Since the demesne is part of the rest of the world but not really, they needed their own slang, unique to the demesne, rather than the words you and I would use now.
Slang is an interesting thing, the development of it and how it morphs and evolves over time, but I had to create my own for my characters, which is harder than it sounds. It really came down to choosing words or making up words that sounded “right”. My only criteria was that I didn’t want anything that was crude or offensive, because while I know that sort of language is quite common these days, it’s not how I speak, and so therefore it’s not how my characters speak either. From there, I picked words or made them up and then used them in the story for a bit to see if they felt like something those characters might say. If it sounded right, it stayed, and thus demesne slang appeared.
There are no current plans to make my books into movies. Seeing a movie version of my stories would be fantastic, but I’m a writer, not a filmmaker, and no one has contacted me about using my stories in movies.
About Neeghan's Journey
*sigh* See, you really don’t want me to give you any spoilers. I know you think you do, but you really don’t. And while I’m thrilled you’re all so excited about finding out what happens next or what happens in the end or what happens in the future, I’m still not saying anything that might even possibly be a spoiler. My lips are sealed, no matter how hard you try.
Ooh! Ooh! I get to give the most annoying answer to this question ever:
I am writing as fast as I can, which is not as fast as I’d like nor nearly as fast as you would like, I know. Writing a book isn’t one of those things that you can just snap your fingers and it’s done, and while sometimes a book shows up quickly and easily, other times it’s a slower process. Rest assured, I know you want the next book – I want you to read it, too! And as soon as I have something to tell you, I will let you know.
About Through The Door
It all started with some castle ruins and a girl…
I’ve always had an interest in history, and anytime I see ruins of any sort, my mind generally starts to imagine what it was like for the people who lived there in its heyday, when whatever location was bustling with activity. I suppose that could have taken me in a time-travel direction, but I didn’t want the restrictions of the actual time period and I did want the juxtaposition of a medieval castle with a whole bunch of technology, which led me to the idea of a doorway that allowed Erin to step from one world to the other.
As for the girl, she may have actually popped into my mind before the castle. I had a very clear image of how she looked and a crystal clear sense of her personality, including some rather surprising quirks for someone in her position, which I somehow knew right from the start was the princess of her kingdom. Of course, you now know her as Ariyet, and she fits into her castle as if it was made for her – and perhaps it was.
I am still working on them, and the next book is currently in progress, though Erin can be a bit… stubborn, and she hasn’t been cooperating as much as I’d prefer lately. I’m sure, when she gets back in the mood to work with me, I’ll get the next book finished and then you can read it.
Nope. Not at all. I wrote things for school assignments, but that was it. I’ve always loved to read, but for some reason, I just never thought about being a writer as an actual career option. I didn’t actually want to be a writer until I decided to write The Book in the Attic.
I don’t remember for sure when I was very young, but I probably wanted to be a dancer – I did ballet, tap, and clogging (not the wooden shoes!) for many years. When I was a little older, well, I ran through a whole bunch of options, which led to me looking like either a very ambitious college student or a very confused one. Unless, of course, every political science major has aerospace engineering classes as their electives.
No. I eat, sleep, and breathe writing every minute of every day.
My hobbies sound remarkably boring when I list them out, but here they are: Of course I read. A lot. Lots of different genres, fiction, nonfiction, whatever catches my interest, and a lot of different things catch my interest, so I have a lot of books and e-books around. I almost always have music playing, and it’s one of the few things I can have on while I’m writing without it being a distraction. I find languages fascinating, so even though I can’t actually carry on a conversation in anything other than English, I am trying (the key word here being “trying”) to learn a few new ones. I’ve recently taught myself to knit, so I’m practicing that, and then in whatever free time I might have left… I probably read some more.
Yes. Yes, I do. In fact, I burn more easily than that, if you can believe it.