What resources have you found most helpful on your writing path?
I would have to say I get quite a bit from my local writing conference: the Surrey International Writer’s Conference.
And this past year and a half, I’ve been an active commenter at Magical Words, a group blog of fantasy authors who talk about writing specifically for the Fantasy genre. I’ve found it invaluable, and the community that has sprung up around these posts has been so fantastic that this past June, I flew across the continent from Vancouver to Charlotte, North Carolina to attend the science fiction and fantasy convention that they all gather at. A lot of us did—but that just says what an amazing community it’s become.
What’s the most encouraging thing you’ve experienced along the way?
Hands down, Magical Words. Another awesome thing about the site (yes, call me a MW Minion) is that the authors usually respond to comments. They’re helpful and encouraging.
But in general, I’ve been lucky to get to know a few authors, and they’ve been encouraging, too.
Favorite children’s books? Authors?
Picture books: Cross-Country Cat by Mary Calhoun, Where’s My Cow by Terry Pratchett (oh wait, that might not be for children)
Children’s novels: Anything by Roald Dahl (The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar is my favorite), Betty Ren Wright’s books about ghosts, and Patricia C. Wrede’s DEALING WITH DRAGONS series.
The YA books that made me realize I wanted to write, that were a formative part of my later childhood? Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness.
My absolute favorite book though, also YA, is Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword. Absolutely wonderful.
What keeps you going when you feel like giving up?
Community. The Internet and my in-person writing group have been great sources for that.
My husband, who also writes, is my sounding board and my rock for when life gets crazy and doubts threaten to set in. He’s supportive and he understands why this is important to me.
Another thing that makes me keep going is reading good books. When I read a novel that makes my heart sing, it reminds me why I write. Most recently: Tanya Huff’s The Enchantment Emporium, and Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn.
If you could choose to live any place on the planet, where would it be?
Honestly, there are so many places in the world I’d love to visit. But silly as it may sound, I love living in Greater Vancouver. As for a specific place, I wouldn’t mind somewhere on the North Shore, but that’s because I love being out in nature, and one of my favorite places in the world is Lynn Canyon Park.
Describe your fantasy writing space?
I can’t answer that question because I find that writing space—I tend to think of it as sacred writing space—is something I have to create. I do all of my creative writing on my laptop, which I can take with me everywhere. I also require a beverage (preferably water, but hot chocolate and tea are also lovely), headphones to minimize distractions, and time enough to write (preferably at least an hour). And then I’m in the zone to write, wherever that writing occurs.
What obstacles have you overcome in order to keep writing?
Learning to minimize distractions. Pushing myself to get in writing time even when things in my life are crazy. Making time to write even though sometimes I come home exhausted from my day job, which I love but which involves editing and much e-mail, and therefore many, many non-writing words.
What one word describes your writing process?
What do you appreciate the most about being part of the children’s writers community?
I like the energy.
Best writing advice you’ve been given?
What do you like to keep in mind while drafting a story?
My intent—the story I want to tell. Plots may not spring from my head fully formed, and Point A may slightly shift, but when I start a story, I generally have a main character, a mission, and a Point B.
How will you celebrate the publication of your first book?
Probably with a small gathering of friends at my place. Complete with Twitter party!
Social media presence? Please share your links
Twitter Hashtags I Frequent: #wipmadness, #amwriting, #fntwp