What made you decide to write The Auctor Trilogy?
Honestly, I originally started out writing crime fiction. After spending hour after hour attempting to get through just a measly 6 pages, I realized that what I was writing wasn’t something I enjoyed. What I enjoyed reading was fantasy, so it made sense to write a fantasy novel. After that, Adelaide’s journey poured out of me and I’ve been enjoying writing it ever since… maybe a little too much, considering how long the books are!
When did you realize being an author was what you wanted to do?
My grandfather was an author and I started reading his books when I was 8. That was when I realized that writing could be amazing… but that it wasn’t always a solid career plan if you like stability. I wrote my first, for lack of a better term, “book” when I was 14. My Dad was kind enough to have it bound and gave it to me as a Christmas gift. Since moving out of my parents’ house over a decade ago, the “book” seems to have gone missing. I’m sincerely hoping that it never gets found as my memory of it is that my 14 year old self could have done some additional editing. I started writing the Auctor Trilogy series when I was 27 years old. It started as more of a hobby, but the more I did it, the more I loved it.
Why did you choose to do first person rather than third person narration throughout most of the novel?
Again, how I started writing was definitely not what I ended up with. Originally, I told Addie’s story from the third person. However, when I realized that there was going to be a romantic portion to the story, I realized that third person simply wasn’t going to cut it and switched to first person. I personally prefer to write in third person as I feel it gives a better sense of the whole scene, which is why I do Constance’s portion of the books in third person.
Who are your literary heros?
Well, J.K. Rowling, of course, because who isn’t inspired by someone that can create a children’s book that enthralls adults? But the authors that inspired me throughout my adolescence and into adulthood are Madeline L’Engle, Ann M. Martin, and V.C. Andrews. My current favorite author is Victoria Aveyard.
What is your writing process like?
Unbelievably long. I spent five years writing the first book, along with drafts of the second, third, fourth, and even the beginning of the fifth book. Each time I would think I was done with the first book, I would start working on the second, third, or fourth book, and then would realize I had so many items and storylines that I wanted to do differently, so would go back over and over again. The first 20 or so drafts of each book is so like going on an adventure – I get to discover what Addie, her brother, and her friends are going to experience and learn, which is so much fun. It’s almost like reading rather than writing. It’s the last 30 or so drafts that make the process so painful, because I obsess over every single word and every single sentence. It’s terrifying to think of other people reading what I wrote and thinking, “Why did I even bother to buy this book?” So I spend a ton of extra time on the details… knowing that when each book publishes, there is a very good chance there are still going to be mistakes and/or portions that people do not enjoy.
Why did you choose self-publishing over the more traditional route?
I submitted my manuscript to several literary agents, but was not successful in finding someone interested. I can’t say that I blame them – being concise is not a skill of mine. Trying to sum up literally thousands of pages of writing into a page was not something I do well. My biggest problem was that I would get the standardized rejection letter, which was always very polite, but not helpful at all in the process. After a while, I realized I was better off self-publishing and seeing what happened. Plus, I really needed a push to continue editing the second, third, and fourth books, and I thought self-publishing the first book would give me a timeline for the next books.
Speaking of motivation, how do you keep motivated to write such long books?
I love writing Addie’s story. It honestly doesn’t even feel like my story while I’m writing it – it feels like the story already exists in the world, and I’m just putting it down on paper. I realize that sounds a little hippy-ish, but that’s how it feels a lot of the time. And what really keeps me motivated is discovering what happens next – where will Addie go? Who will she meet? When will she find out what the Exemplars and her ancestor have in store for her?
Do you write all day every day?
I wish. No, I have a regular 8-5 day job, and then write typically fairly late at night during the week and on weekends.