14 Jan 2015

Beautiful People #5 + Very Special Guest

Welcome to Beautiful People, a monthly link-up hosted by Cait of Paper Fury and Sky of Further Up and Further In where you, and your readers, get to know your characters a little bit. This month the questions are for authors, so I thought I'd bring one of my best friends along for the ride - so please welcome, Katey! Chami and I both met Katey through NaNoWriMo four years ago so I couldn't think of anyone better to join us today.

1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?
Ely: I’ve been writing since about age 6 or 7…I think. I don’t actually remember when I decided I would start writing, I just did! I’ve always considered myself to be a ‘writer’ though – it’s always been the thing I’ve been better at than my friends. My friends’ in primary school were always great at sport, and my friends in high school were amazing at drama and Maths and Science – writing was always my thing.
Katey: I started what I consider writing around 4 years ago, with the beginning of my first Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), and this is one I first started considering myself a writer, even on the smallest scale.  However I have been writing since grade school, and I always had a passion for creating and retelling stories.  But with the confidence of friends and other writers from across the globe I actual began to take my fragmented ideas and make them into real stories.
2. How/why did you start writing?
Ely: I don’t really know. I suppose I just thought I had stories worth telling.

Katey: The reason I started writing again has to do with Nanowrimo.  It was around the 5th of October when I got my idea for my first story.  I was taking the trash out when I suddenly got an unsettling feeling I was being watched. I turned around and saw nothing, but still the feeling would not leave me.  As I began my walk back to the door, suddenly a large black crow, bigger than any I had seen before cawed loudly and was watching me with it's beady black eyes.  It took off from it's post and flew towards me as I ran into the doorway of my house, pushing open the door quickly and dashing inside.  The encounter, both scared and invigorated me, and it planted the inspiration in my mind to write.  That very same day my friend sent me an invitation to join her in Nanowrimo.  It was like it was meant to be.

3. What’s your favourite part of writing?
Ely: Creating characters, without a doubt. I love getting to know what makes them tick and how they perceive the world around them. I also really love making my friends fall in love with them. 
Katey: My favorite part of writing is just loosing myself in another world.  It's something that doesn't exist, and that doesn't truly effect my life, and yet, I am profoundly close with my characters.  They become old friends.  When I open a notebook or a word document, I know I'll be going on another adventure with some of my closest friends, and if that's not motivation to write, I don't know what is.

4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?

Ely: Motivation. I know you’ll probably all understand this.
Katey: The biggest writing struggle is making the plot stay true to my outline.  Often my characters tend to take over and decide to do things their way.  Which means my preconceived plot goes out the window and the whole thing becomes a confused a directionless mess. 

5. Do you write best at night or day?

Ely: I write the best in the mid-afternoon. Granted, I usually wake up around lunch time so it’s practically ‘morning’ for me. 
Katey: With writing, as with everything else in my life, I succeed much more at night.  I'm a night owl by nature so naturally I get my best work done once the sun goes down.

6. What does your writing space look like? (Feel free to show us pictures!) 
Ely: I write on my bed, which is also where I watch tv, movies, read, eat, drink tea and sleep. I’m actually working on getting a proper desk though.
Katey: My writing space is usually my bed.  Ocassionally some other comfortable place.  I will always have a notebook of whatever story I'm currently on.  If I'm writing there will always be teacups about.

7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft? 
Ely: The only draft I’ve ever completed took my three years. Now I’ve destroyed it and am rewriting the story with a new plot and a different cast of characters.
Katey: It usually takes me a few months to construct a full first draft, depending on how long the story is.  Editing of course, takes ages longer. 

8. How many projects do you work on at once? 
Ely: Currently I’m working on two, but I’ll write down ideas for other things if they come to me.  
Katey: I can only work on one idea at a time.  I find it works best for me if I work in linear order with an idea and see it through to completion.  If I start something else I usually lose motivation for the one I started first.  I will also feel like I'm 'cheating' on my characters.

9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?  
Ely: Somewhere in between, I suppose. Usually my endings have at least one person dead or seriously injured or in hiding or something. The rest of my characters are happy though. 
Katey: I tend to write thoughtful endings, so they are often tainted with sadness, grief and resolution, but also usually leave hope.  I feel the a fully happy ending often leaves out the complexities of what the characters have been through, and the hardships they have endured.  Now there is also a time and a place for a purely happy ending, however in my stories I like to end on a more somber note.

10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.
Ely: I think the obvious one is J.K. Rowling, but more recently I’d say Agatha Christie, Daphne Du Maurier (whom you've probably all heard me rave about). They’ve sort of made me realise how fun mystery can be to write, whether it’s the whole novel or just a little bit of extra tension. 
Katey: John Green comes to mind right away.  He both inspires me as an amazing and brilliant writer, but as an amazing and brilliant human being and he is responsible for the majority of my interest in writing along with many other things.  In fact, John Green was the one that inspired me to go to college which was something that no other human could do, so to say his infulence is minor would be a complete and utter lie. While John Green is mostly responsible for my writing another few that inspire me are: Ann Rinaldi, Ted Dekker, Susan Fletcher, Jane Austen, Veronica Roth, and Suzanne Collins.  Also God.

11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not? 
Ely: A few people. Katey is the only person so far to have been sent my whole (unfinished) novel, but I’ve got a few other people to send it to once it’s finished. I sent this draft to Katey because I was feeling lost - I felt like I was losing touch with the world, my characters and the story.
Katey: I allow close friends to read my writing, and very rarely family.  If I get to a point where I'm satisfied with my writing I will share it with the public, but that's rare. I just want to make sure I get feedback from people I trust before sharing with the world.  I want to put forth the best I can.

12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?
Ely: I’d love to get published, but in reality, my ultimate dream is just to write the novels I want to write.
Katey: My ultimate writing dream is really to just let my writing change someone's life in some small way. To have them ponder something or have some new ideas or to rethink something in a new way.  To make someone out there feel different after reading my work and having to enhanced their life is something I really hope to do one day

13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do? 
Ely: Nothing. Literally, I’m pretty sure I have no other skills or hobbies. 
Katey: If I didn't write I would probably want to be an artist of some form.  Maybe a photographer who gets paid to take travel photos now that would be an amazing job.  I feel like life is an experience and if I didn't write I'd like to be out there experiencing it in some way.  The reason writing is a better option for me is instead of only experiencing and exploring this world, I get to create my own.

14. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet? 
Ely: I have two books actually. One day, I will write a mystery novel worthy of Agatha and Daphne, and also an epic fantasy series.  
Katey: I always have ideas and thoughts that I'm not sure I'm ready to tackle, especially at my age.  The more experiences I have the more realistically I can portray it in my stories.  As I said before, life is an experience, and to breathe life into my characters I've got to get out there and live.

15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go? 
Ely: My main novel – Tied Together. I’ve had this story in my head since I was fourteen, and one of the characters has been with me since I was about 8 or 9 (she used to be the main character but now she’s been replaced.) I’ve talked about it a few times on the blog, so if you want to go and check that out.  
Katey: There is a story about a girl and her boyfriend that I don't know if I'll ever be able to write.  It's an idea that's been in my head for a long time.  An day to day life of their relationship.  The twist?  The boyfriend has dissociative identity disorder.  Otherwise known as multiple personality disorder.  3 can sometimes be a crowd in this tale.

So yes, those were our answers for Beautiful People! I hope you all enjoyed both Katey and I's answers.