Thanks for helping me out on short notice Anna. Tell us about yourself. Are you married? Have any kids?
I've been married for almost four years and though we don't have any children, we do have two cats, named Aerith and Rikku (After Final Fantasy characters) that are as close to children as we would like at the moment.
Let's talk about writing. How long ago did you start?
I've been writing for a long time. I remember writing small stories when I was younger, then when I found my love Harry Potter that's when a lot of the writing started. Mostly with Online Role Playing and fanfiction (that is truly terrible, like all fanfiction should be). It wasn't until about High School that I seriously considered writing more.
What project are you currently working on?
Currently I'm contemplating on revising my NaNoWriMo [titled Out of Tune]. Since this was the first year that I actually finished (with a whopping 50,123 words), I feel like I should try and tweak it a little bit. Though the idea of reading it, and realizing that it's as awful as I imagine it to be, is a bit daunting.
I'm also working on a short story about a modern Greek God reincarnation. It may end up going further than I think, but for now I'm just planning it being a short story.
How long have you been working on Out of Tune?
Not long. In fact, only a few months. Which (unfortunately) is the longest I've ever really spent on something of my own creation.
Tell us a little about it.
My NaNoWriMo project is about a deaf girl that falls for a boy who is hearing. I am completely in love with Deaf Culture, and I really wanted to try out writing about it. There are a lot of common misconceptions about people who are deaf, and so I handle explaining that through my main characters, and how the language difference could be a challenging, but not completely impossible to overcome.
What are your goals for it?
As of right now, my goal is to finish. As awesome as it would be to get published, I'm focusing on one task at a time. Finish, then revise, revise some more, and again with the revising, share with friends/critique partners, revise more, ect.
What is your favorite book or author? Why?
That is a loaded question, as of right now, I have a handful of favorite authors.
Meg Cabot: I loved Meg's Young Adult literature as soon as I read them, then as I got older, I jumped into her 'adult' fiction. I love the way that she writes, it's like talking to your best friend after months of not talking.
John Green: Having become obsessed with his YouTube videos, this man has given me some of the greatest advice when it comes to writing. John Green is one of those authors who when you read his stuff, you don't think "I want to write something that is just as good as this" you think "This is amazing, I want to write something BETTER!", which is what a good book does to authors.
I normally tend to stick to Contemporary Fiction, and Young Adult Contemporary. It's where I'm the most comfortable.
What has been the hardest part about writing Out of Tune? About writing in general?
The hardest part of writing my NaNo is the conversations. I had to figure out a way to describe the sign language, while also making it so the characters could understand each other. I used everything from charades, to pen and paper, to just slow talking.
What has been the best or most rewarding aspect of writing?
Creating characters. I have about 30 characters that I've written out full histories and bios for that still have yet to find a home in a story. Creating characters is one of my favorite things to do.
Do you have any "technical" suggestions for new writers?
When I start a story, I always create Character profiles of my main characters. That tell a little bit about the character and range from favorite color, to thoughts about the universe. This helps me when I need to look back on my character when I'm not sure what they would do in a certain situation.
Do you have any sage advice for new writers (inspirational messages, cautions, etc.)?
Two of the best quotes about writing I've ever found are from John Green and Meg Cabot.
John Green: "I just give myself permission to suck. I delete about 90% of my first drafts (the only exception to this rule so far has been Will Grayson, Will Grayson) so it doesn’t really matter much if on a particular day I write beautiful and brilliant prose that will stick in the minds of my readers forever, because there’s a 90% chance I’m just gonna delete whatever I write anyway. I find this hugely liberating.
I also like to remind myself of something my dad said to me once in re. writers’ block: “Coal miners don’t get coal miners’ block.”"
Meg Cabot: "Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either."
Particularly the "Giving myself permission to suck" thing has stuck with me.
Have you published anything?
I had a few poems published when I was in high school, but nothing as of late. I'm also part of a collaborative website called GeekCrafts.com.
Can you give us some links to any blogs, websites, or other online media you run?
This section should be called: Anna is addicted to the internet:
YouTube: http://youtube.com/4girlsandatardis (a collaborative Youtube channel)