Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thursday TAG! - Charlee Vale

I know I keep saying this lately about all of my TAG!s, but...This is one I'm SUPER excited about. :D

Charlee Vale is a YA(at the moment) writer, who is absolutely fantastic, helpful, and a great woman and friend. I met her on, well I'm sure y'all could guess :P, AQC. You can find her on her website/blog, Twitter, or AQC if you're there.

1. When did you start writing?
I started writing in my teens, with a close friend of mine. It was one of those things where one of us looked at the other and said ‘Let’s write a story!’ We worked on that story for almost three years. Later it became the basis for my first novel.

2. What made you want to write?
When I started writing, I was in that awkward stage of life where you feel like you belong in a different skin. The story I wrote with my friend was purely fantasy, and the characters were our alter egos. For a long time I wrote because I could write my own adventures and escape the boredom/drama of high school. I put it away for a little while, but after I started writing in college, it morphed from just a stress reliever into something I truly loved. The characters were no longer me, but I still craved to tell their stories. It’s something hard to explain, but I’ve loved it ever since.

3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
It was a kind of natural evolution. I don’t ever remember a moment when I decided, ‘I want to be a published author.’ It came from a lot of people boosting me along. My friends in college, professors, my mentor, they all told me I was a good writer and should go for it. When you have a great support system, it’s only a short step from thinking something is crazy to following your dream!

4. What genre(s) do you write?
Currently I write Young Adult fiction, though I am not opposed to writing in other age levels or genres in the future.

5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
There’s a beautiful immediacy to YA that I really enjoy. I also feel that there is more freedom to be unique within the genre (or rather competition, if you think about it). So many people from so many walks of life read Young Adult literature now that it’s a great time to be a part of the YA Lit movement. Plus, being a young adult myself, I can relate!

6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
No, not really. As many people have said before me, there is no one way to write a book. And each book itself is a different process that kind of dictates itself, according to what that book needs.

7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
I am so NOT an outliner. Typically for me I have a core of an idea, and the story spirals from there. I’m patchwork writer, so I write all the scenes out of order, and then put them together when I’m finished. Though like I said, every book is different. For my latest WIP I actually did write a three page synopsis before I started writing, because the details were flooding into my head so quickly that I was afraid I would lose them all.

8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
TEA. Having hot tea, (especially Awake by Tazo) majorly helps boost my productivity. Also I found that if I’m going to work I must be sitting upright at a desk or a table of some sort.

9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
It’s funny, I used to write exclusively on paper. My first novel was written in black and white composition notebooks. I still have them all. But although I enjoy writing by hand, it takes double the time because you then have to transfer it. So in the interest of time I now type it straight in. I’ve gotten used to it. (Go Scrivener!)

10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
I’m in the process of writing my third novel. I’ve written maybe twenty short stories and probably fifty poems. I’ve also written a few stage plays, and am in the process of writing one for my graduate thesis.

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?
Oh, yes. I think there will always be those people. I still hear stories NYT Bestselling authors who are told kindly that they should ‘keep looking for a real job.’ But you have to know in your heart that it’s your passion, and if you cling to it hard enough, the rest of the world will catch on.

12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
Indeed. Twitter is my main hangout (@charleevale), and my blog/website ( I also have a Facebook fan page, tumblr, and actual Facebook, though I don’t use them nearly as often and are more on the personal side. So your best bet to get in touch with me is on twitter or my site.

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.)
Honestly, I think the worst kind of advice is the kind that is forced on you. Since the writing process is so subjective, it’s your job to be discerning about which advice to take. However, if someone is telling you that something is THE ONLY WAY to do something, it’s probably wrong, or just right for that one person.

14. Since you work for Entangled Publishing, is it easier for you to work on getting published? Or are you going the regular route and querying agents/publishers?
Because I work at Entangled, and have quite a few friends in the industry, I will admit that I am more connected than the average writer. However, I am going the traditional find-an-agent, research my brains out, query, and panic, route.

15. Between a Master's program and reading submissions for Entangled, where do you find time to write?
My sleep suffers. I wish I were kidding. I've been really lucky this Summer. I've had a BUNCH of writing time, which allowed me to finish the first draft of my latest novel. That puts me in a better place for the school year, since revising is easier than drafting in terms of creative brain power. (for me at least)

But to truly answer the question, I believe that if you love something, you will make time for it. I have to fit writing in on lunch breaks, I write in my car on the way to work/school, I always keep a pen and notebook on me. ALWAYS.

16. What is it about a tragic ending that pulls you in?
I wouldn't say I love a completely tragic ending, but more a bittersweet ending. For some reason, happy endings that are wrapped up in a perfect bow have always rung a little false to me. In my experience, there is rarely a happy ending without sacrifice, or loss.

For whatever reason, I'm addicted to that elusive feeling of catharsis that comes with an imperfect ending. You all have been WARNED. I like bittersweet endings, what does that tell you?

17. What do you like about being a non-linear pantser?
It's a very free method of working. I can work on whatever part of the story I feel like, at any time. Some people marvel at how I can put together coherent story if I write out of order AND pantsing, but somehow it works for me.

If I'm stuck, I don't have to work on that scene until I'm banging my head bloody on the keyboard. I just skip somewhere else, write a scene that I've been thinking about, or maybe a Candy Bar Scene. That usually helps me work through plot problems.

18. What scene was your favorite to write for your latest wip? (First, last, middle, etc) And at what point (word count) did you write it?
Oh my goodness, you had to ask this. There were so many scenes that I enjoyed writing. I mean, I have a costume party, battle zones, and future New York. BUT I really think my favorite scene to write was the very last one. I figured out what I wanted the last lines of the book to be, and they struck me so deeply that I knew that I had to write that scene right away.

And I wrote it about 3/4 of the way through the draft. My draft is about 60K, so I guess I wrote it at about 45K? But yeah, writing that scene will stay with me for a long time.

19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
I’m currently getting my Master’s Degree in Theatre Performance and Playwriting, and I’m an Editorial Intern at Entangled Publishing.

20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
Yes, absolutely. FEAR IS A LIAR. There are so many fears that plague us as writers. Will I be good enough? Will people like my stories? Will I ever get an agent? Will I ever be published? Will I be thought of as silly for writing? Am I crazy? And so many more. But we have to remember that these fears are nothing but barriers holding us back from our dreams. There is no excuse for sabotaging yourself. If you don’t believe, no one will, so discard the fear and grab that dream.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Master's in theater and playwriting? You'll work with the oddest bunch of fun and free spirits you've ever met! (Have a cousin in theater.)
Everyone writes so different. If I'd written scene out of order, my first book would still be on my computer and a mess.
Great interview and good luck!

caterina torres said...

ooooo "Fear is a liar." That is so true!

SC Author said...

I love what you said about fear :) Also, I LOVE BITTERSWEET ENDINGS TOO!!! Those are usually my favorite books. It gets you thinking and gets you emotionally compromised, and that is awesome. (Now you know this about me, imagine my MS and WIP....)

Jeannette S. said...

Great interview! Even though I'm busy, I don't know if I'll ever be SO busy that I write while driving to work or school... lol

Thanks for sharing. Even though I don't know you, it's nice to think I know a little bit more of the writerly part of you!

Yolanda Renee said...

I am crazy!

Great blog!