FAQ

Everytime someone learns that I’m a writer, they ask me the same series of questions and give them the same series of answers. I can only imagine how often I’ll be asked “so what made you want to become a writer?” once I’m actually published! And even though I love to talk about my writing, I’m hoping that this FAQ will eliminate some of the tedious questions. So here goes:

 

What made you want to become a writer?

There is one specific day I remember back when I was 12 year old. It was a day that completely altered the course of my future and pointed me in the “write” direction. My 7th grade teacher assigned a novel study, letting us to choose our own book. At the time, I liked books, or rather I liked the idea of books. My parents had to pay me to read and I definitely took advantage of that. But I was intimidated by anything with more substance (and more pages) than Sweet Valley Twins. Unfortunately (which later became fortunately), the Twins weren’t going to cut it. Not for my age.

So my mother brought me to the local Black Bond Books to help me pick out a more age-appropriate novel. We ended up purchasing two: The Hobbit and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I was hesitant about both; The Hobbit because of its tiny font, and Harry Potter because I had seen the cover of The Goblet of Fire at the kids I babysat’s house a few weeks prior and immediately judged it. I would never read a book with a dragon in it. Definitely not my thing. Essentially, I judged a book by its cover, which, even though I learned my lesson from that experience, I still do.

For my novel study, I decided to give Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone a chance. I remember so clearly sitting on the bottom two steps of my stairs and reading the first page that began “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” And at that moment, something in my brain clicked. I felt a wave of excitement like nothing I had ever experienced before. Even now, over a decade later, I can recall that feeling. And I often do, just to remind myself of where my passion and sense of wonder came from and why write. After that first page, Harry Potter was already the best book I had ever read in my life. I essentially swallowed that book whole and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the rest. And my life quickly began to revolve (a little too much) around Harry Potter. At first, my parents thought my newfound addiction with the wizard was unhealthy. But as elementary turned to high school, and high school to college, it became clear that my “head-in-the-clouds” way of life was going to stem a wonderful, rewarding career. And it did.

 

Did you go to school for writing?

Absolutely. My real focus on writing began in 12th grade, though I enjoyed it long before then. In my senior year I took three related courses–English AP, English Literature, and Creative Writing. After being successful in all three, I went to Douglas College where I completed a two-year program called Print Futures: Professional Writing. Even though there were few elements of creative writing in that program, it taught me the fundamentals of good business writing. I learned everything under the sun, from how to write magazine articles, press releases and research reports to the  meaning of rhetoric, exigence and discourse community (huh?!). But the program didn’t stop there. I learned how to build a website, how to network, how edit structurally and substantively as well as how to copyedit and proofread, how to design a magazine and how to prepare a business portfolio. (I know this sounds like an advertorial for the Print Futures program, and it should. I would recommend that program to anyone who wants to become a writer, not just an author.)

 

What do you write?

Aside from my young adult novel, I freelance for a website called Kidzworld.com. I write book reviews as well as other articles like movie or tv show reviews, quizzes, etc., and post them to their site. During my time in college, I illustrated and co-write two children’s educational storybooks for Burns Bog Conservation Society in Delta. Both books, Boglin Gets Lost and Boglin and the Birthday Party, were selected for the BC Teachers’ Federation’s top 10 new lesson aids of 2009. I also do some freelance editing on the side.

 

What is your novel about?

Because it’s my first novel, I prefer not to discuss any specific details about it to the public before I have an agent and publisher lined up. I will say that it’s written for young adults, and has a working title, which I also don’t want to disclose. It’s about an island called Panaura (hence the name of my blog), and stars four 14 year old protagonists.

 

Would you like me/my son/my niece/my second cousin twice removed to read your novel and give you critical feedback?

No, thank-you. The only person who has read my novel is my mother, and I get plenty of critical feedback from her. Believe me! I know writers are supposed to share their work and get different opinions, but I’m not prepared to do that. I don’t want to risk having ideas stolen. If I do decide to share my work, it will be with my family and friends.

 

Who are your favorite authors?

This is complicated question because I read constantly, for both work and pleasure. Of course, JK Rowling is and will always be my favorite. I also enjoy Rick Riordan, Suzanne Collins, Cornelia Funke, Jeanne DuPrau, Libba Bray, Philippa Gregory and I’m sure there are plenty more. I prefer to say which books are my favorites because a lot of the books I read are from first time authors. Here are a few young adult books I love:

  • I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  • The Legend of Vinny Whiskers by Gregory Kemp

And here are a few adult books I really enjoyed:

  • Sarah’s Key by Titiana de Rosnay
  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

I will add many more to the Recommended Reads page.

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