Sunday, 29 April 2018

The Life Of An Author: What's It Like?

I think most of us can agree that the nature of life an author leads is pretty unknown. Since a young age, I have been interested in transforming my love for writing into a career, so was thrilled to interview Kelly Whitman, an author of YA fiction. 

We chatted about the processes she follows whilst preparing to write a new book, and many other things!


Hiya Kelly, thank you so much for letting me interview you!
Hi Lauren, and thank YOU so much for interviewing me! 

First of all, what spurred you to become an author?
Well, I have loved reading and writing since I was just a small child. My mother says that when I could barely talk, I was already saying that I when I grew up, I was going to buy a library so that I could live in it! 

Would you say your life is different from the average person's, due to being an author? If so, would you mind explaining how?
I don't know if it's different due to being an author, but it's definitely different because I lived with a benign brain tumour for a very long time before it was properly diagnosed. This was extremely isolating, and obviously horrible, but it did push me deeper into writing. Writing was a way for me to express my frustration, but also a way to discipline myself. 

How long would you spend in the planning stages, for example drafting and thinking up characters, before deciding an idea could evolve into a successful book?
I spend a lot of time writing character descriptions before I begin writing the novel-- sometimes months. My fiction is character-based, rather than being built around a plot, so it's really important to have strong impressions of at least the main four or five characters right from the start. 

How do you select names for your characters, do you actively research or use real people as inspiration?
The protagonist of An Authentic Experience, Silver, is named after her father's favorite song (by Echo and the Bunnymen). I am often inspired by music, film, or books when choosing first names. For surnames, I sometimes google for "Italian surnames" or whatever, then choose something that I think flows well with the first name. 

Writing can be difficult, what would you say is your kryptonite for staying on task?
One word: Coffee!

On the topic of difficulty whilst writing, what would you say is the most challenging part of the creative process?
Beginning any new project. You know it's going to be a hard, long process, so you procrastinate. The first 8-10 chapters are always pretty rough for me. But after that, it starts flowing much more naturally. 

As an author of young adult fiction, you are targeting an audience at a very influential age – what key messages do you attempt to portray within your writing, as a result?
First of all, I'd like to stress that this novel is for high schoolers and up. Many people are not aware that the category of "Young Adult" no longer covers middle schoolers, because they now have their own category: Middle Grade. My protagonist is in a rough situation, and the language reflects that. But the messages of the book are: 1. Respect women. 2. Trust your parents to help you when you get into bad situations. 3. Learn from the elders in your family. 4. Your body is YOURS, and you don't have to explain your boundaries to anyone. 

Last of all, and I know it’s cliché, but what advice would you give to an aspiring author reading this?
Just don't give up, if it's what you really want. I never dreamed that Kirkus Reviews would put my novel into one of their print editions (fewer than 10% of all indie novels they review make it to print), but just a few days ago I was surprised to receive an email telling me they'd put me into their Woman Issue (4/1). Needless to say, I was thrilled! So, don't have unrealistic expectations, but don't give up. 

If you would like to read Kelly's latest book, "An Authentic Experience," please follow this link!

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2 comments

  1. This was super interesting to read and honestly, this made me want to try my hand at writing!

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed reading!! And I definitely recommend writing, it takes time, but it's a beautiful way to show your creativity x

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