My writing pal Sarah Naughton (author of Costa-nominated The Hanged Man Rises) has tagged me on a Blog Chain. She says I have to answer four questions and then pass them on to the next in the chain.
Sarah's answers are here, and I'll be tagging Terence Blacker, author of the bestselling Ms Wiz series and the super popular Boy2Girl next.
What am I working on?
I'm working on a novel that although isn't a sequel to Infinite Sky shares a lot of similarities. The title is Everywhere River and here is its Pinterest page, and it's about a teenaged girl called Kit, whose soldier brother, Johnny, goes missing, and her attempt to find him and bring him home. It's set mostly in the woods where Johnny is thought to be hiding out, during a time of floods.
How does it differ from others in its genre?
When I pitched the idea to my publisher, I said it was Stand By Me for girls, and that's what I'm trying to do. Growing up, I loved adventure stories, but I realised later on in life that many of my favourite ones featured only boys.
It's important to me to show girls having adventures, and do a little bit of breaking down of very boring gender stereotypes. I wanted to write about female friendship outside of the 'Mean Girls' trope too, because female friendships are usually a lot more marvellous and complex than that.
That's not to say there aren't boys in this story. Johnny plays a big part in the book, and also his intimidating best friend and nemesis, Beast.There's a bigger cast of characters than Infinite Sky, and a lot of the fun of writing (and hopefully reading) is in the way these kids relate - and fail to relate - to each other.
Why do I write what I do?
Like Sarah said in her blog, I write what I like to read, which is emotional stories with a strong focus on the outdoors, and relationships. Plot is always a struggle for me, though I give it my best shot, and so I have to try and make readers want to turn the page by making the characters engaging enough that they want to spend time with them. I hope to write lots of different types of books over my career.
How does my writing process work?
It is a cycle of super-productivity and feeling like I will never write again. There's lots of freewriting, which means lots of new words are produced, but also that lots of words get thrown away. Unfortunately, I am a very wasteful writer, and about half of what I write seems to end up being deleted.
I am trying to learn how to outline a novel before I begin, but my imagination doesn't seem to work until I am actually writing the descriptions and dialogue and character. Hopefully in a few years, when I'm more experienced, my process will be less chaotic. Or perhaps I will just be more comfortable within the chaos.
So that's it. Over to you, Terence!