Take it away Bess!
Question 1 - Tell us about yourself (to make it a little harder, I’ll give you 10 words exactly)
Post-college writer avoiding 9-5 by nannying, novels and New York.
Question 2 - Which genre do you prefer to write in? Would you ever change genres? Children’s or Adult fiction?
I have an unhealthy relationship with Lord of the Rings, so I started out writing fantasy. Two Middle-Grade books and then a YA. I tend toward epic, high-fantasy, but I'm trying to ground my new book closer to home. One day, toward the end of high school, I was sitting in my room, alone in my cloak, looking out at a field of sunflowers. I realized that, as much as I love Tolkien and Lewis and George MacDonald, I'm an American; I'll never be able to write kings or queens without cringing, elves don't live in corn fields and pioneers are simply practical. American epic fantasy isn't really a genre, but that's the genre I'm writing in now.
And the story about the sunflowers isn't true. But everything else is. Scout's honor.
Question 3 - Describe your current WIP. What stage are you at – drafting, revisions, etc?
My new book is the first of a series involving multiple characters. Usually I just write, plot be darned, but this time, knowing how involved the story was, I created a thorough outline first. Working from that, I’m at about 50,000 words on the first book, and am fine-tuning the outlines of the other books, one a month. At this rate, I should have a polished draft with extensive outlines of the sequels by November. That’s the goal, anyway. Then, quite possibly, Book Two during NaNoWMo? We’ll see.
Rach: A great goal! Best of luck with it.
Question 4: Answer these in a sentence:
- I’m happiest when...
I'm with my siblings. I fall smack in the middle of five kids. They're the reason I write. And if any of them read this they will punch me for being corny, but it's true. All my characters have big families. That’s the “Write what you know” part of my writing.
- My biggest quirk is...
I would really prefer to never wear pants.
- I blog because...
The same reason I write: I'm really awkward in person.
- The thing that most annoys me is...
In New York there are many, many things to be annoyed with. I usually channel this annoyance into my blog. Mostly rants about hipsters. Or pigeons. Or people calling me a bad mother because I let the kid I nanny chase pigeons. While he attacks, I yell at them that He is not my child! and Mind your own business!
People in New York never do.
- One thing you’d never guess about me is...
I never wanted to move to New York. In fact, I always wanted to live in a cabin in the woods. As a child I even imagined lying to my children, convincing them that it was the 1800's. Unfortunately, M. Night Shamalyn stole my idea and I realized that I was unlikely to find a guy who would go along with this plan. Also I look really bad in a braid. So from there, with no car, I ended up in a closet in Manhattan. Go figure.
- The writer I’d most like to be (and why) is...
William Faulkner. He would sit on his porch and shoot the breeze with his buddies, drink good whiskey, yell at passersby, then go inside and write books like The Sound and the Fury. Anyone who can drink while writing the most accurate portrayal of a mentally ill person in the history of America has my vote for president. And life-best-led.
- If I knew my books would never be published, I would...
Storm the Flatiron building. Not really. I think I'd actually relax. I might move back to Texas, sit on the porch with my best friends, drink Manhattans, yell at passersby and write books for the important people in my life.Question 5 - Where would you say you’re at in your writing journey? What still lies ahead of you?
I’ve written three books, so that should mean something impressive, eh? I like saying that. Three novels. Well, three manuscripts. Three doorstops. I used to be ignorantly confident, but the more I write, the more I'm daunted and humbled. There is so much to learn, so I’m concentrating on seeing and capturing. New York is the perfect place to do that; there is so much strangeness and beauty here. With my blog, I’m teaching myself to keep my eyes open, to spin a story from subway rats and debutantes, the way they bump into each other here. That gives me richer fodder for my books. It’s seeing what’s already in the world. That’s all writing is really: making sense of things.
I can remember so clearly the first time I closed my eyes against that computer-screen headache and thought Writing is, like, hard. But that's part of the process. If it wasn't hard, the result wouldn't be any good, and if I didn't like it, I wouldn't do it. For now, I see no other way to live my life.
Question 6 - Lastly but not least, chocolate or cupcakes?
Cupcakes. With coffee. For breakfast.
Rach: Ooh, what's not to love!
It was lovely learning more about you Bess! If you're not already following her, pop on over to It's the world, dear and say hi!