This TAG! today features a very good friend of mine which I met through my favorite site. (Agent Query Connect if you're new here and don't know. :D ). Kendra is fairly new to blogging and could use a few more followers, so check her out (she's such a sweetie). She's in the revision stage on an MS about elemental magic and the concept is awesome. You can find her on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.
1. When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was 9 years old, in third grade.
2. What made you want to write?
I'd just finished the book Kittens in the Kitchen as part of the Animal Ark series. You would not believe how much of a sucker I was for cats. I wondered, "Why can't I make a story of my own?" Thus my journey began.
3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
I wrote short stories after my little 'revelation' in third grade and garnered quite a bit of attention. I'd say it was around the time I started reading Eragon by Christopher Paolini in late sixth grade that I wondered, "Why don't I do the same [as him]?" I was pretty sure by then that writing was my calling, so I definitely needed to make something of it.
4. What genre(s) do you write?
I mainly focus on the realm of urban fantasy and regular fantasy, but I've been exploring dystopian and post-apocalyptic settings.
5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
They're my favorites! It's also being the issue of being a comfort zone I'm reluctant to leave. Anything I read I usually think, "I might write something like that one day." The only genres I've continuously gone back to are fantasy and urban fantasy.
6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
I've been trying to create a new ritual for myself. Currently it works like this: Open Microsoft Word and iTunes, find a song to listen to and open the document, and sit there. Sometimes before I begin I'll recite a prayer I found somewhere. One of the greatest pieces of advice I've gotten (only recently, unfortunately) is to warm up. Writing isn't just to write. It's like art, sports, anything. You have to stretch before you really begin. So I've really been trying to get in the habit of warming up with something else before I begin.
7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
I do have outlines. I just think it's so much easier to keep my ideas and thoughts organized with an outline rather than try to keep everything straight in my head—I butchered one of my stories when I tried to go without one.
8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
Music. Music is my saving grace, my best friend, my writing partner. Every piece of my book has a musical piece to accompany it in my mind, and therefore I have to have it!
9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
I used to write it out before I typed it up, but then a 44,000 word story went to 144,000. So, not really. I do write my outlines out on paper (color-coding for the win!) but I type the entire story up.
10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
Unfortunately the amount of books/short stories I've begun and lost/quit is very high, much higher than my completed list. I've completed nine books/short stories, and two and a half of them had "what the hell?" results, haha!
11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
Some people still do, I believe. Several of my teachers don't understand why I write when they think I have such a great future in politics (But I don't even watch the news!) or science. But the amount of people who have faith in what I do is much greater than those who don't.
12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
I use YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. I used to have MySpace, but it was just a complicated place. I've not really checked out Google+ or Tumblr, anything along those lines. I don't like having too many social media sites, because I tend to forget about them.
13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
"Write what you know." I used to follow this advice to a T, but then I realized if I did that, every single story I wrote was going to be stuck in little towns of only 800 people. You can't just write what you know, or you're never going to learn anything! In some instances, you can stick to this advice. For example, if you want to put a story in South Africa or Afghanistan, but you know nothing about the cultures there or the events that have taken place there, that's not the best idea. It isn't that it's bad advice, but it's advice that can mislead you.
14. What's a Flame Dancer?
A Flame Dancer is something part of a unique 'Mastery Stage' in my book. A 'Dancer' is the first, most inexperienced stage that only signifies vague control over the element. Over time, it would progress to 'Flame Warrior' and, if lucky, the final and most experienced: 'Flame Master'. Since there are other elements with the same stages, it gets diverse—Darkness Warrior, Wind Dancer, Water Master... etc.
15. Would you want to be a Flame Dancer if you could?
Yeah! I've always been a bit of a pyro-lover (not in a BAD way)—I love to watch fire, to watch it grow and shift and shape itself, how it reduces to the soft glow of coals. To be able to touch them and communicate with them? Sign me up!
16. What is your favorite song for each type of scene you're writing? (IE-action, love, arguing, fighting, etc.)
This is going to be my favorite question out of the whole interview.
Action/Fighting - For a normal battle it would be Blinded by Light from the Final Fantasy XIII Soundtrack. For a 'boss', it would be Dismiss from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
Love - Fabula Nova Crystallis from Final Fantasy XIII.
Arguing - Those For the Purge from Final Fantasy XIII.
"Doom" moment - Key of Darkness from Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep.
Travelling - Currently, Run~Full Speed Ahead from Final Fantasy XIII-2.
17. What inspires your writing?
My music more than anything else. Usually I already have the ideas in my head, but music helps me give them shape and set the mood in the writing itself.
18. What's your favorite part about writing? What's your least favorite part?
My favorite part is the experience of writing something for the first time. You're writing, and you've just gotten to a piece you've had planned forever. It's finally here! Your heart pounds, your mind is going 90 miles a minute, and your hands are sometimes shaking from the intensity of the anticipation. I don't know if it's only me that gets that feeling, but I do. Now, my LEAST favorite part is running into a wall. Your writing is going great, then BAM. Something's wrong, and you don't know what. You sit and try and figure it out for AGES, but nothing comes. Then you have to force yourself away from your work and figure it out from there, and sometimes you end up having to butcher the work and put it back together. I don't feel like my characters appreciate this very much.
19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
I read books, walk around town, or play Final Fantasy. I'm a bit of a recluse most of the time, so it's rare that I go to hang out with friends—but it does happen. Sometimes. (;
20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
Follow your dreams and write what you want, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. If you want to write the goriest books, do it. If you want to write the trashiest, do it. Writing is all you and it's no one's place to say otherwise. As for advice, don't be afraid to experiment. Dapple into everything to find what fits for you. Also, don't use adverbs and passive tense! They're a death trap!