For a second when I was writing the title for this post, my brain thought I’d written “Writing Princess”! Oh, goodness.
Anywho, I’ve been a terrible author friend. I was supposed to get my post out this past Tuesday. Unfortunately, I hurt my back while helping my mom move a bunch of furniture and boxes, and I forgot a lot of things this week due to my predicament. I’m all better now (well, mostly), so I’m sitting down to write my post now! Only a couple of days late . . .
Two weeks ago, I was asked by T. J. Alexian if I wanted to participate in a blog tour. It sounded easy and fun, so I agreed. This is the Writing Process Blog Tour, which is a series of linked posts by various authors about their writing process. T. J. says the tour originated with fantasy author Heidi Garrett. The idea is that each author answers four questions about their writing process and then begs and pleads with other authors to join the tour the following week and link back to everyone. So in theory, you should be able to follow the link of the previous authors to trace the tour all the way back to the beginning.
A big thanks to T. J. for thinking of me and asking me to participate! I’m just sorry I wasn’t able to get it all together as planned. =( Who is T. J. Alexian?
T.J. Alexian lives in Attleboro, Massachusetts in a renovated green Victorian, along with seven ghosts and his long-time (and long-suffering) partner. He also has three kids and one spiritual kid, and their stories and their spirit form the heart and soul of his novel, Pictures of You.
A profiled author in the Writer’s Digest book Writer with a Day Job and an award-winning communications specialist, Pictures of You is Alexian’s first novel, although he has two more being prepared for distribution: The Late Night Show and Confessions of a Diva Rotundo.
And you can find his blog/main website at: http://snapshotsfromeldredge.blogspot.com
And now for the questions! DIG IN!
What am I working on?
Well, right now I’m working hard to put the final touches on A Shadowed Soul so it can be released TOMORROW!! I am so excited for that. It’s taken two years since Rise of the Aligerai to get the second book in a state of readiness, and I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and friends and one fantastic beta reader (ahem, Kylie, that’s you!).
After that’s finished, I’ll be working on book 3 of the Aligerai series as well as a novel I started for Camp NaNoWriMo in April this year. The working title is Eleanor and Elizabeth, though that is definitely going to change. This one is not set in the same universe as Aligerai and it’s going to be very different from my debut series. I’m actually very much looking forward to finishing this one and getting it out because I’m so excited about what I’m writing! I hope to finish the first draft of E&E this summer and maybe, if all goes well, release by the end of the year.
With E&E, Elizabeth is a merchant’s daughter and Eleanor is the princess of the realm. The king comes up with a contest to win his daughter’s hand in marriage. But when the royal courier delivers an incomplete message and Elizabeth hares off on an adventure for fame and fortune, she thinks she’s going to win a prince’s hand! What happens next is sort of a comedy of errors with a twist at the end.
And then I’m working on and off on another novel set in the Aligerai universe, but focusing on a young woman named Jaelyn Cythri who is a member of the Tainted . . . a story of tragedy, sorrow, and danger. This one has been difficult to write and so it’s going rather slowly. But anyone who reads A Shadowed Soul will find out more about the Tainted, so be sure to check it out!
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My series differs from others because my characters are in college and pursuing a college education. I see a lot of books set in high school (or a high school-like setting) or after the main education years, but very few in which the characters are in higher education and dealing with the different sets of problems that college poses. Throw magic into the mix and you’ve got an almost explosive situation. I’m not sure why college isn’t explored more in fantasy, but I have seen it only rarely used. I can think of only one other book that sort of uses college as a backdrop.
As for my other book projects. . . I can’t think of a good way to talk about their differences without giving something away, and I definitely do not want to reveal spoilers before the books are even out! I will say that I do my best to focus on female characters and write characters that could be real people.
Why do I write what I do?
I find it interesting. I like to ask “what if” and I think that works its way into my imagination and things go from there. Fantasy is one big What If playground.
But I’m also deeply interested in mythology, and have been since I was a kid. I can remember devouring books about Greek and Roman mythology in elementary school and for the rest of my life I’ve been hooked on myths and legends. They’re fascinating. It’s not a big leap from reading mythology to writing fantasy, and I think mythology has had a very big influence on why I write fantasy instead of another genre.
How does my writing process work?
It tends to vary depending on how I’m feeling on a particular day. But usually an idea pops into my head. I write the idea down in a notebook or in my Ideas doc on the computer. Sometimes I’ll get whole scenes written down based off that one idea and then I just let it sit.
Sometimes the idea goes nowhere. I have about fifteen ideas sitting on my flash drive and they may never get off the ground. But other times, the idea turns into a bigger idea and I start living in that world when I close my eyes. I start fleshing out characters, or characters come to me.
Personally, I think most authors start to sound insane when they talk about their process, especially when they talk about how their characters are formed. It’s like the characters are real people and take on a life of their own. Sara Douglass, an Australian fantasy author, used to say that she felt like her characters were real people and she sometimes imagined them sitting around looking over her shoulder as she wrote. They would go off in a completely different direction from where she intended, and whenever she was about to kill off a character, they would say “Oh no, not again.” I loved reading that because that happens for me sometimes, too. [I paraphrased what Sara said. To my great sadness, Sara Douglass passed in 2011 and her website is no longer active.]
I’ll either write longhand in a notebook I keep specifically for writing or I’ll type on the computer. I’ve recently started using Scrivener and have used it for Eleanor and Elizabeth. I’ve found it helpful and like a lot of the features.
Then I just take it from there. I try to write every week, since some days I have too crazy a schedule to write daily. I try to participate in NaNoWriMo since it’s a great motivational tool.
The next author . . .
Unfortunately, the folks I contacted either weren’t available or weren’t interested in participating. I haven’t found anyone to pass the torch on to! Eeek! If you’re an author and you think you’d be interested in doing the next post, contact me. I’m not sure that’s really how it’s supposed to work, but since I couldn’t find anyone in time . . .