The Rising Author Tag

I’ve been been tagged by the superbly awesome Joleene Naylor to participate in the Rising Author Tag. The rules are simple:

  • Thank the person who tagged you (thank you, Joleene!!)
  • Answer the questions they came up with.
  • Nominate four people to do the tag (no tagging the person who tagged you originally).
  • Come up with 10 new questions for the people you nominated.
  1. What’s the last book/story you worked on?

I completed Better Than You, the last book in my Better Than This Series, last month. It’ a 65K word Contemporary Romance that reunites high school sweethearts, one of whom is a famous Rockstar. The previous book ended eight years earlier on a cliffhanger, so it was fun (but a bit of a challenge!) to bring everything back together almost a decade later.

2. Do you self edit?

This is my process: I write until I have no idea what’s going to happen next, or until something sounds off. When that happens, I backtrack until I find where I went wrong, and I start over from there. Diction and syntax really aren’t a concern until the last few drafts, so I let language things fly (they’re going to be edited later anyway – what’s the point?) Until that last draft, I’m primarily focused on the story. Does the story make sense? I’ll self-edit along the way so that it does.

3. What’s your favorite story/book you’ve ever written?

Sophie’s choice, anyone? Uh…I really don’t know because I love all my book-babies the same. 😊 I guess though, if I had to pick, I’d go with my first non-published full-length novel: Library Rules. It’s about a high school girl who locks a boy in a janitorial closet, and as punishment, is forced to work/volunteer at a library where she discovers some shady stuff going down. It’s probably my favorite because it’s the first full book I wrote, which proved that I could do it. I definitely struggled with Library Rules, but the journey to the end gave me the stepping stone I needed to start a new adventure series: Arizal Wars.

4. What was the first story you remember writing and how old were you?

If we’re going way back in the day, I’d say the first story I wrote was in elementary school; I must’ve been around seven or eight. I remember having this cheap beige paper to draw on, and I used it to portray my hero, Beefy (I kid you not!), the princess he was saving, and the evil villain who’s definitely reminiscent of Darth Vadar (my dad had me watch Star Wars early). I drew the story out more than wrote it, but it was the first one my little brain pushed out from beginning to end.

5. Do you get a lot of writing done around the holidays?

Yes, I tend to get a lot of writing done around the holidays! More time off from work means more time at home, doing this 😊 Of course, there is travel and gift-buying and other holiday-related tasks that need time and attention, but, eh. I get to it when I get to it. Time is the most valuable currency, and I spend it with either my friends, family, at work or writing. Other than that, very little else gets done.

6. What book or story (written by someone else) do you wish you’d written?

Uh, can I say all of Rainbow Rowell’s stuff? I mean, the obvious answer is Harry Potter, but even I couldn’t take credit for that. I love good romance stories and Mrs. Rowell does it RIGHT. If I could’ve written Eleanor & Park, that would’ve been amazing because I would’ve seen all the behind the scene things that only she gets to see (like all authors do for their stories). If not Eleanor & Park, then either the Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay or Evanescent by Gabriella Lepore.

7. If your last book/story was made into a movie, who would star in it?

Let’s see…if Better Than You was made into a movie, who would star? Well, since technology assists in the aging process, I guess I’d use the same actors I selected for my Wattpad casting for the previous two books, Better Than This and Better Than You: for my heroine, Autumn, I’d have Chloe Martiniez and for my hero, Alex, I’d have Dylan O’Brien. Yes, I’ve given it some thought, but what author doesn’t?

8. Do you have a WIP? If so what is it?

Here’s the sad thing: I don’t have a WIP right now. I need to start writing the fifth book in the Arizal Wars series, but I just finished reading Crusade Across Worlds for a brush up of where it left off (I wrote this over two years ago) and I need to figure out where to go next. Yes, I’m a panster, so that means I can sit down and write, but need to have a vague idea of what happens, and in order to get that, I need to play through the scenes in my head. That’s how pansting works for me, anyway. I may not have an outline to go off of, but I’m using the movies in my head instead. Plus, Return to Dellapalania (fifth book of AW) is the final book of the series, so everything needs to come together. I’ve set all the pieces for the final match and now I have to let it happen. I just need to visualize it first.

9. Do you like to bounce ideas off of someone out loud, or do you do it all in your head?

Everything happens in my head. Writing is very intimate to me, and maybe that’s why it takes me longer—because I’m asking myself a bunch of questions instead of someone else. I usually work through everything myself, but if I’m having trouble, or feel like there is an obvious solution that I’m not getting, I’ll casually ask a friend or Batman (my boyfriend). Normally the friend will answer/help without a second thought. Batman, however, likes to ask what story it’s for and when he can read it. It’s both sweet and encouraging 😊

10. Who is your favorite character you’ve ever written?

Again—what’s with the tough questions? I honestly have no idea who my favorite character is that I’ve written because I love them all so much. That sounds like a cop out answer, but it’s true. I don’t have a favorite. I don’t even have a top five. I probably have a top 15-20 but that’s probably not accurate either. I will say that Sampson and Clarence do hold a special place in my heart. But then again, so does Ginny Larson, the hero of Library Rules. A momma can’t choose between her babies.

And now for my tags! I tag Loni Townsend, C.D. Gallant-King, Zoe Ashwood, and Lidy Wilks. Here are your ten questions:

  1. What are you currently working on?
  2. Are you a plotter or a panster?
  3. If you could re-write any of your books, would you? And which one(s)?
  4. How long does it typically take you to write a book/story?
  5. Of all your characters, who do you wish could be real?
  6. How many drafts do you go through?
  7. When do you tend to write? Early or late?
  8. Do you listen to music while you write?
  9. What is your least favorite thing about writing?
  10. What is your most favorite thing about writing?