|I told you not to let me talk about myself.|
Ok, so these first questions came to me from the wonderful Gayle Swift, over at thatmatters2me:
When did you realize you were a writer?
Well, simply put, I realized I was a writer when I...realized I was a writer. In all seriousness, though, it hit me during my last year at the University of Florida. One night, I was crashing on the couch listening to one of the Harry Potter audiobooks, and I remember thinking that I wanted to know more about J.K. Rowlings world; the deeper backstory and history that she only alludes to in her novels. Instead of turning down the "fanfic" path like many aspiring writers, I decided to create my own world. It bounced around in my head for a few weeks before I realized I wanted to write novels about my world. And from that point on, I was hooked.
Who mentored you?
The first thing I did after deciding I wanted to write for a living was pick up a copy of Stephen King's "On Writing." That book was my first "mentor" in creative writing. Following that, I discovered a great podcast put out by 3 guys; a fantasy author, a horror author, and a scifi cartoonist. It's called Writing Excuses and I worked my way through their archives over about a year and a half. They have (and still are) taught/teaching me almost everything I know about fiction writing. The rest I learned from reading. I estimate that I read somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-100 books that first year.
What writer have influenced you the most?
This is a tough question, as I read so much after deciding to become a writer, and all of them influenced me in some way. If I had to choose a few, I would have to pick Oscar Wilde, Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson (one of the authors on Writing Excuses), Robert Jordon, George R.R. Martin, Jim Butcher, Shakespeare, Homer, Dante, and perhaps Alfred Lord Tennyson.
What would you like your writing to accomplish?
I would like people to enjoy my writing. I'm not after the Nobel Prize or a walrus' bucket full of money. I enjoy writing my stories, and I want others to enjoy reading them - while still being intellectually stimulated. I envision people sticking my novel in their bag to take to park and the bookish college student putting it in his or her laptop bag to read during a boring lecture. Nothing big. It would be nice if my writing supported me financially, though. :)
This last question is from the amazing Candice Coghill, over at Thus Sprake the Hermudgeon
Do you think the book (as opposed to the blog, the film, the whatever media you might name today) is as important to "your generation" as it is to mine?
I grew up in a household where books were very important. From young age, I was highly encouraged to read. After my parents seperated, I stopped reading as much and became more enamored with things like TV. It wasn't until my later school years that reading became important to me again. To answer your question, Candice, I do believe "the book" is just as important as "new media." To quote my literature professor, "...we learn about other cultures and the past by reading great works. In this way, we can be looking over the shoulder of history, and seeing it through their eyes." I am a historian as well as a writer, and I believe that having a broad understanding of the past is important, as it provides us with insights we might otherwise miss. Plus, as a modern media, movies and TV shows just can't provide the depth of a great novel.
Again, thank you so much Gayle and Candice for your questions. Have a great week, people. I always love reading your comments.