This week again I was lucky enough to have a YA author give me an exclusive interview! The idea behind the “Writer in the Spotlight” feature is that published (and bestselling) authors are the best source of advice for us, would-be-published writers. Today’s interview is with Ada Adams, a debut author who also happens to be successfully self-published.
A writer in the spotlight – 8
Author : Ada Adams
Genre : Young Adult, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Location: Toronto, Canada
Website : http://www.revampedbook.com
Books : ReVamped (2012)
My interview (27/06/2012):
1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always loved to create stories. I was the type of child that could entertain myself for hours, simply by digging deep into my imagination. At the age of five, I became a full-time chapter book reader and started writing my own stories. My mom still reads them, although I don’t think that anyone else would be very interested in my early writing! When I was twelve or thirteen, I took a break from writing stories and began writing synopses—just synopses—for some reason! That was my period of contemporary mysteries, friendship stories, and cute boy characters with piercing blue eyes. High school creative writing courses solidified my passion for the craft, and I never looked back. I love that writing is so personal and creative; it’s a different process for every writer.
2. When and where do you write?
When I’m working on a project, I usually write full-time from around 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (with an hour or so lost due to fun online distractions). When I’m trying to finish a project (especially in the editing stages), I write all the time. Sometimes, I forget to eat and sleep. Most of my projects have been written in my office space, but ever since I moved to a new place this year, I find myself writing everywhere except my new office. I think it still needs some breaking-in!
3. Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I most certainly do. It usually doesn’t center around the overall plot of a story, but rather a small scene or a minor event. I find that swimming or running are my best “writer’s block” remedies.
4. What do you say to people who want to be writers?
I say “go for it”! I think writing is such a personal journey for each individual. It’s often very hard to give advice on the process, because what works for one writer may not work for another. My biggest piece of advice would be to love what you do, keep writing, and read. I love learning about new writers and their projects. I think it’s wonderful that our world is filled with so many diverse writers and readers.
5. Is it better to outline and plot your novel or “go with the flow”?
Once again, this is probably very different for each writer. Personally, I need to work with an outline (especially for a novel). I like lists and plans, so in order for the story to be the best it can be, I make sure to plot it out. However, while outlines are important, it’s also important not to be too rigid with them. I’ve often steered away from the outlined path simply because of a character’s action or motivation. I enjoy when my characters surprise me. They often make the story a lot better than originally planned!
6. Do you set goals for yourself as you write?
I outline the entire piece in “words per day” before I embark on a new writing project. Often, my goals are somewhat unrealistic; however they do help keep me on track.
7. To write this book, where did you get your inspiration from?
The main inspiration for this series came from my observation of the fact that our society is currently head-over-heels in love with vampires! This fascination has always been present, but it has grown stronger over the past decade. I wanted to explore what would happen if, because of our love for them, vampires decided to “come out of the coffin”.
I love that our world is filled with so many great books, films, and shows about strong, dark, sexy vampires, but I wanted to take a different approach to the genre. I wanted to put a humorous spin on vampires, and explore the world of misfits—the vampires who need a lot of “revamping” to even become decent human beings, let alone great vamps!
Originally, “ReVamped” was a TV show script. I was inspired by some great comedic shows and web series about life’s underdogs. However, the budget for shooting the project in the quality that I had envisioned was simply incomprehensible, so I let it sit on my computer for a couple of months. Soon, the characters began to invade my dreams—and even waking moments—and I simply knew that I would have to finish their story one way or another. Hence, “ReVamped” the novel was born!
8. Dawn: How did you come up with this character?
In most YA vampire novels, it’s somewhat rare for the main character to actually be a vampire. However, I really wanted Dawn to be unique. I created her to be strong, adventurous, and intelligent, yet to also have some quirks and weaknesses. I’m not a big fan of “perfect” characters, so I enjoy seeing Dawn make mistakes or be unsure of herself at times. (Hmm…I just divulged that I like to watch my character struggle? Does that make me a mean writer?) Weaknesses also provide the character with opportunity for growth as the series develops. As well, Dawn is not the type of girl that “needs” a man in her life, so I didn’t want to rush any kind of romantic relationships when it came to the guys in the story. Even in fantastical stories, I think it’s important to have strong female role models that girls can admire or relate to.
Many readers have asked me if “I am Dawn”, and to that I have to say that all of my characters are completely fictional. Sure, I injected Dawn with my love for martial arts and adventure, but I would never be able to objectively write about a character if I saw them as myself or they reminded me of someone I knew. Dawn is 100% Dawn (despite “you know what”)). 😉
9. What type of music did you listen to when you wrote this book?
To be perfectly honest, I’m the type of writer that requires silence while writing. I get very distracted when I listen to music (especially songs with words in them) I did get inspired by certain songs (before and after the process). Florence and the Machine’s “Shake It Out” comes to mind when I think of Dawn’s journey (especially in the third book).
10. What are you working on now? Is “ReAwakened” finished or still a work in progress?
I’m currently working on the rest of the “Angel Creek” series, as well as a few other personal projects. My main goal is to finish Dawn’s story within the next year. “ReAwakened” is almost finished. It’s currently being subjected to a lot of rewrites and edits—my least favourite part of the writing process (though often the most important).
11. Which authors inspire you now? Any YA books you would recommend?
Overall, I’m a very diverse reader. I love the fact that there are so many talented YA authors out there (I still have many to explore)! I usually enjoy books with strong heroines like Katniss from “The Hunger Games”, and I’ve always been in admiration of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series. Whether you’ve enjoyed the story or not, there is no denying that Ms. Rowling is immensely talented and extremely creative! “Harry Potter” was a book that instilled a passion for reading in so many young readers. Is there any greater accomplishment for an author?
12. Why did you choose to self-publish “ReVamped” and would you recommend self-publishing to would-be-published writers out there?
One word: vampires. It’s a genre that’s somewhat oversaturated at the moment, so I weighed my options of spending the next few years trying to pitch a debut vampire novel, or sharing it with my readers a little sooner. I really wanted to tell Dawn’s story, so I did a lot of research on self-publishing and decided that for this particular book, it was the way to go. However, I have many other projects that I would never allow to see the light of day unless they take the traditional publishing route. Self-publishing is not easy, especially since I am a perfectionist and strive to create the best product possible.
There’s a lot to say for the importance of agents and publishers in the industry. I believe that traditional publishers can aid in ensuring that the author’s best work is presented to readers. It’s not easy to pursue a self-published route, but if you choose to do so, my advice would be to make certain that your work and presentation is professional, your editing is good, and your pricing is fair.
I know that there is much discussion amongst the writing and reading communities when it comes to traditional vs. self-publishing, but personally, I’m not on either side of the spectrum. There are some amazing indie authors out there, just like there are some awesome traditionally published authors. Every single writer’s (and even novel’s) journey is different! As long as you love what you do and believe in your work, you’re already on the right track!
Thank you again for doing this!
Thank you so much for the wonderful interview questions, EM! I had a blast!
ReVamped is out now and you can buy it on Amazon.