Welcome to Author Interview Thursday hosted by the Never Too Old for YA and NA Books group on Goodreads.
Today we welcome Mindee Arnett to the blog and group! She's written some great books!
Welcome Mindee! Take it away!
1Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I think I spent a fair amount of time wanting to be a pop star. But other than that, I pretty much always wanted to be a writer. Thank goodness. You do not want to see these dance moves.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
My average is around 3 months for the first draft. The revisions and the edits afterward will take another several months. To give you an idea, my last book went from first draft to line edits (which is the penultimate edit before going to arc printing) in around 5 months. This was lightning fast. Typically, my average pace on a first draft is around 10k a week. Most of my books are in the 90-110k range.
How do you come up with themes for your stories?
The themes always emerge in the process of writing. I never start with the theme. In The Nightmare Affair series, for example, a theme of racism emerged. There are three very specific types of magical creatures in the book known as “kinds.” And these kinds have become a symbolic representation of racial divisions in America. Going in I had no idea this would happen. I started off just needing to have a logical organization to the creatures in the book. The theme and symbolism followed after.
Do you have a schedule of when you write?
I really don’t. I try to write or do something writing related every day. When I’m drafting, I have daily word count goals. With my crazy, busy “real life” schedule that includes a day job, kids, hubby, and a slew of animals, the writing takes place wherever I can squeeze it in.
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
Unfortunately, I’m not so great at balancing. Usually when I’m working on deadline there is some other part of my life that’s getting neglected. More often than not this neglected part is house cleaning. While on deadline my house becomes a very scary place.
What elements do you think make a great story line?
I’m pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to this sort of thing. I like stories with a clear beginning, middle, and end. I like my stories to have a steady build toward an awesome climax. Also, one of the most crucial elements for me is worthwhile conflict. I have little patience for books where the conflict is something vague or completely unimportant.
What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
This is a tough one. There are so many hard parts about writing. Here lately the hardest part for me has been the first draft. I’m not sure why. In the past this has been the easiest part. I think a lot of it varies by book. The Avalon books are challenging in the first draft stage because they don’t follow as obvious a structure as my Nightmare books. The latter are pretty straightforward mysteries, which is an easy structure for me to work in. The former are thrillers/adventures, which means pretty much anything goes.
Also, in terms of publishing more so than just writing, the emotional aspects of having a book on the shelves are by far the hardest. I can’t really explain why this is, but anyone planning to publish needs to take care of their mental health. This business is very up and down and it can make the act of writing a challenge. You’ve got to learn to shut off the world and focus on the page.
How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
I have 4 books that are either published or about to be published. Prior to that I have 4 “trunk” novels. So overall, 8 books. None of them are my favorite. Books are like children. You love them all, although sometimes in slightly different ways.
Do you have a favorite character?
Jeth Seagrave, the hero of the Avalon books is probably my current favorite. I’m a little smitten with him, I think, which makes his perspective weirdly fun to write. Typically though, whatever main character of the current book is my favorite. Liking the MC is prerequisite to being the MC.
Where do you write?
Anywhere I can. Sometimes I write in my recliner, or on the back deck of my house by the pond, in bed. Anything is game.
When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
Again, I’m a traditionalist, and I took a very traditional route. I started off writing and publishing short stories then moved on to novels. I found an agent, got a book deal, and so on. For me there was no other way it was going to happen. I wanted the validation that’s a natural part of being traditionally published.
1Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
My sister and brother-in-law are two of my alpha/beta readers. They give me lots of wonderful feedback. For the most part all of my family has been really supportive.
What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
My number one hobby is horse back riding. I did long-distance competitive trail riding for years, and here lately I’ve moved onto eventing.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
The most important advice I ever took was from Stephen King. In his book On Writing he tells readers “don’t come to the blank page lightly.” For me that meant I needed to start taking my writing seriously. I always wrote out of fun and habit, but it wasn’t until I got serious that I finally broke through. Writing has as much do with building houses as it does with art and inspiration. All writers should study the craft.
What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
Overall, my favorite books are The Harry Potter series, but really I love so many books. Currently, my favorite series is The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I adore her writing. I’m also completely obsessed with The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater.
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
My go-to person when it comes to writing sci-fi is my brother-in-law. He’s pretty much a genius. He gives me all sorts of insights and inspiration when I’m stuck.
Are you working on anything now?
I just turned in the revised manuscript of the Avalon sequel, which right now is titled Polaris. I’m pretty certain that name will stick. Up next I’m going to start the third Nightmare book, and I’m also working on a proposal for my next series.
Thank you for such a fun interview!YA Author of THE NIGHTMARE AFFAIR, a contemporary fantasy coming March 5, 2013 from Tor Teen (Macmillan) and AVALON, a YA sci-fi thriller coming Winter 2014 from Balzer+Bray (HarperCollins). Represented by the fabulous Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary. Addicted to jumping horses and telling tales of magic, the macabre, and outer space.
Thanks so much for being here today, Mindee! it was so great to have you!
Thanks so much for being here today, Mindee! it was so great to have you!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for the great interview and chance to win!ReplyDelete
Great interview with one of my favorite authors! I have The Nightmare Affair staring at me right now from my 'what's-next-to-read' shelf ... can't wait to be able to dive into it!ReplyDelete