1) What made you start writing? Were there any particular books/events/people that inspired you to start writing?
I have always been a CRAZY reader. I love stories, and I love telling stories as a way to connect to the stories I’ve read, if that makes sense… I think the first book that made me really want to write was Harry Potter. I thought J.K.Rowling was the coolest, and aspired to be her in every way. However, I had started writing before that. I remember writing Narnia fan fiction when I was 7 or 8. I guess I am just a story teller by trade.
2) What is your writing background?
Well, as per mentioned, I have always been a writer. Not necessarily a good one, mind you, but I have always been writing and telling stories. I have been a book blogger (http://Maddie.tv) since 2010. I read A LOT and, quite frankly, got tired of everyone constantly interrupting said reading time to ask what I was reading or asking for recommendations. Writing the blog allowed me to articulate my opinions and recommendations for everyone, thus allowing more time for my reading, haha. I have been a teen panel member for Paper Lantern Lit., Harpercollins, Harlequin, and several other publishers. During all of this, I have been writing my own fiction, though I haven’t published anything yet. I have also worked, on several occasions, to arrange author visits for libraries and book shops, thus giving me an inside look into the publishing industry. So, although I haven’t published anything as of now, I have worked very directly in the publishing industry for some time.
3) What is your writing process? Is it a set process or more fluid?
Definitely more fluid. Regardless of what kind of writing I’m doing, I just sit down and write whatever strikes my fancy. This can be a bit of a burden when revising, but typically it gets the job done. Most recently, I had a few free weeks in July, and just decided to sit down and write. By the end, I had a 50k word story drafted. I had no idea what I was going to write when I first sat down, but once I got started on the story, I didn’t want to stop!
4) Have you found that being an avid blogger has enhanced your writing skills? If so, how?
For sure. There are a few layers to my answer. I think that writing the blog has helped me develop my thoughts a bit more, as I had to learn to articulate my opinions clearly. On the other hand, I have also learned a lot about story telling. Since I write book reviews, a huge part of the job is reading and analyzing stories. Doing so has helped me a lot in developing my own personal writing style and voice. If you want to be a writer, you also need to be a reader, thus, the blogging has been very beneficial.
5) What’s some of the best advice you’ve received from other authors?
Just sit down and write. Although its important to develop your ideas and characters, there comes a point where you’re just stalling. So, if you got an idea, just sit down, and write.
6) Where do you draw your inspiration? Is it more internal inspiration or external?
Hm… I honestly haven’t thought much about that, and this is a really intriguing idea. When I am writing something, I tend to avoid consuming any story or media that is similar (like, if I were going to write a elf based fantasy novel, I would avoid reading the Lord of the Rings). I enjoy reading similar genres before projects or while editing, but if I consume it during the process I’ll feel like the “inspiration” I am drawing is just copying the elements of their story. So, I think my inspiration is more internal. I read a lot and always write down what I enjoy about the stories, and I am still piecing together my own inner voice from all of those parts, if that makes sense.
Maddie definitely brings up some good points here! With being a blogger, it gives her a way to productively practice communicating opinions and emotions with just her writing, something that any author needs to be good at. I personally never blogged much before this year when I started this blog, but growing up I was constantly writing very short stories and honing my skills. It’s interesting to see how blogging and writing go hand-in-hand!
The other great point Maddie made was in her last question. Reading something similar to what you’re writing can definitely make you second guess yourself! You want to make sure your work has your own touch and flavor to it. It’s great to draw inspiration from work already published, but adding something new and unique is definitely what you need if you hope to get an agent’s attention!
Thank you for the lovely interview, Maddie! For my readers, I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed conducting it! Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below