When I am asked about the stories I write, one question arises quite often. Why do you write in multiple genres instead of just one?
To answer this is not as simple as it first appears. It is linked to my process of writing. I allow the story to evolve as I write and do not steer it in any specific direction. Enjoying where the characters take me is, for me, the best part of writing. I may have an idea what the story is going to be about but more often than not, it diverts into another direction – many times to somewhere I have not thought of. There are many writers that need a lot more structure to their writing, such as complete plot notes from start to finish and I admire that but it is not something I can do. It stalls my creativity. Once the first draft is written then I begin refining the narrative and decide on the genre it suits best.
For example, my Edmonton Best Seller, The Twesome Loop began as a light-hearted romance with a few characters finding their soulmate. However, the complexity of writing in two time periods required a significant amount of detail to be incorporated to allow my readers to understand the backgrounds and personality traits of these people from their past lives to the present. Other secondary characters also began to take on a life of their own and the subsequent narrative follows several love stories intertwined with the main characters.
In my YA novella, Clickety-Click, I had what I though was a definite plot arc but young Alice, the central character and the circumstances of her finding out about her true self went in a surprising direction. It still deals with self discovery and self confidence but also has a twist that I hope will delight the reader.
As a reader what captures you about a book?
Do you prefer one genre over another?
Past Presence by Nicole Bross
Absolutely loved this book! Well crafted characters, a sense of place and a great plot, I didn’t guess the culprit! Woven with regression tales, which is an interest of mine it has wonderful elements in the story to propel you onward.
Can’t wait for the next book, Nicole.
Mostly it exhausts me, both emotionally and physically. But so does playing the piano and doing art. If I was doing those things to relax, then it would be like a colouring page or writing a diary entry. But when I’m truly working on my art (writing) then I’m exhausted afterwards because it takes a part of my very self, when I’m truly creating.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
Yes. I wanted to publish a mid-grade book, which would be too far separated from my adult romance. I wouldn’t want the mid-graders to pick up the adult romance, so I considered writing the younger genre under a pseudonym.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
I’m part of a writer’s group, where we write together and share our work. My best friend is also a writer, who writes romance and we talk about writing all the time. I am lucky to also have a couple friends who work at the local library and who like to write and read, not to mention writers I’ve met and become friends with through conferences, book fairs and author readings from Calgary, Edmonton and Medicine Hat. It really is a big community once you get involved. They help me become a better writer because we share insights and advice and things we’ve learned or discovered, from anything from writing style to book advertising options.
Do you want each book to stand alone, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Currently I’m working on a three book series. The first two definitely go together, originally written as one long novel split into two. The third book could be a stand alone and is the prequel to the first two. The series is a Young Adult Sci-Fi Fantasy based on a fanfiction novel I wrote two years ago. The first book has been published and is called ‘The Gift Stone’, book one of the Gifted Series ( https://www.amazon.ca/Gift-Stone-Bianca-Rowena/dp/0994851332/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8 ).
Book two will be released in the summer of 2018, and will be titled ‘Takano Rynn’, the name of the main male character in the series. Book three will hopefully follow soon after that.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I was born in Romania and we were Hungarian speaking. So when I came to Canada I was five years old and put into Kindergarten. I remember being forced to go to these English language sessions in the office, where they would hold up a photocard of a boot and say ‘boot’ over and over again. It didn’t take me very long to learn English, and it was WAY before anyone realized I understood it. So I had the power to know what everyone was saying around me and about me, without them knowing that I understood them. Understanding English came quickly at age five, but speaking it back, took a bit longer.
Also, whenever my parents needed to tell us something that they didn’t want anyone else to overhear, they’d tell us in Hungarian. And when they wanted to discuss something that they didn’t want my sister and I to hear, they’d discuss it in Romanian (we were too young to have learned Romanian in school, before coming to Canada). So I recognized at an early age that language held the power of communication, either to make it possible or to close it off and leave you completely clueless, depending on which language was being spoken at the time.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
‘Swim the Fly’ by Don Calame
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
I’ve got five unpublished but completed novels and one half finished novel, as well as 4 full length screenplays and many, many, many stories I started.
What does literary success look like to you?
A movie made based on your book.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
For my fan-fiction I spend a lot of time researching the details. Otherwise my novels are more character based so I don’t get into details, even in my sci-fi/fantasy novels, of the technicality of things. I sort of avoid too much research. As for character research I watch a lot of movies, read a lot of books in the genre I write and observe everyone around me. That too is research!
How many hours a day/week do you write?
The last three months I’d been writing at least 3-5 hours daily, mostly for posting fanfiction chapters daily ( www.wattpad.com/biancawatson ). But when I’m not deep in my fanfiction I spend most of my time editing. I’ll write a novel in a month or two, non-stop, about 6 hours a day. Then I’ll stop and do edits at a slower pace. I’m not a planner, so when ideas hit me I write them as fast as I can (like my personal Nanowrimo), then I plan and edit and work hard on the rewrites, but at a slower pace, a few hours a day. It’s not a consistent thing for me, writing. It’s on a project by project basis, so the times fluctuate per month.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I like short, simple names. Usually I can just sense that the name is right for the character or if it is wrong.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
I write YA because everything I write comes out sounding YA, whether I intend it to or not. My first novel, The Virgin Diaries, was a contemporary adult romance. Yet anyone who has read it would tell you it ‘reads’ like a YA. I’m naturally drawn to writing in a more simple, easy to read, style and my understanding of the world around me seems to be naturally very young minded. So I stick with what I write best!
What projects are you working on at the present?
I was working on my Star Wars fanfiction right after the new movie came out, doing a sequel to it. Now I’m focusing on my next novel in the Gifted Series, Takano Rynn, which comes out this Summer. I also want to write some new material for future work, and I’m editing (alongside book two) book three of the Gifted Series, which may need a rewrite for the ending. I also write in a journal when I can.
Please welcome Holly, an author and an illustrator. Her images are delightful.
a) What do you enjoy most about writing?
It’s relaxing! It’s also a wonderful way to organize thoughts and push ideas. All this can be used to teach, motivate and share knowledge. Writing really does teach you a lot about yourself and lets you get in tune with where your ideas come from.
b) What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I actually started writing late in my career. I’ve been an illustrator for quite some time but enjoyed mingling text with my work. I decided to take it bit further and put out a book idea in 2008. After being published, I have continued to write articles, blogs and have contributed to several books.
c) Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
It has changed. I initially started writing about creativity, creative business and freelance advice. From there, it has led to me wanting to write children’s books. I illustrated my first children’s book that came out in the Spring so I think this would be a natural transition.
d) What genre are you currently reading?
Right now I am focusing on children’s publishing and young adult books. I still maintain my blogs and perhaps I will write a follow up to my first book.
e) Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
I definitely do both. When it gets busy, I try to read as many articles as I can. I set them in a file to read over the weekend. As far as books, I have been reading books on writing, creativity and of course children’s books to my youngest daughter. Books are a big part of my household.
f) Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
My kids hands down. They are 24/7 idea generators with more creativity and energy rolled up together that is very inspiring. Working at home is all they have ever known so they are used to me working around them. It can be a delicate balance.
g) Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
So far it’s a bat. It’s a work in progress but I do love the little guy and the positive ideas I am creating around his character.
h) Where is your favorite writing space?
I like a quiet comfy space but I do like the right music to go along with it. It’s a comfy Ikea chair that works well for me. If it’s winter and I’m cold I’ll write in bed with my bedside table.
i) Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?
My ideas for stories are random. After that, I plan them out. I like to do the my ideas in point form or just snippets of thought. Lately I have been using my voice memo on my smartphone so I do not lose any ideas when I’m busy or out of the studio. Probably looks like I’m talking to myself at the bus stop but I really don’t want those ideas to slip away.
j) What inspires your ideas/stories?
My kids are great for this. Luckily, since I’m an illustrator too there is no end to the ideas. I had to start a notebook to catch it all. Most ideas come from things I read, music lyrics and from writing.
k) Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
Not yet. I plan on joining The Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers (CANSCAIP) to start with and then go from there with local writing groups.
l) Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase
I have also contributed to the 2009 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market , 2012 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market , Your Planet Needs You written by Jon Symes and Creatively Self-Employed Written by Kristen Fischer. Also, I’ve contributed articles to How Design & Zero2illo.
m) If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
Margaret Atwood for sure! Her book, Cat’s Eye made a had a huge impression on me. This compassionate retrospective about a women’s life felt familiar especially because it’s about an artist.
I enjoy being able to create my own world with no limitations or rules and set my mind free to imagine.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I started writing in Kindergarten. I told my teacher at the time that I wanted to be a “book maker”.
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
For the most part, it has remained the same. I enjoy writing medieval fiction.
What genre are you currently reading?
Currently I am most interested in fantasy/fiction (there’s a theme here!).
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
Mostly for pleasure but some is research to help me with my writing.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
My parents, for sure!
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I created a character named Emily a while ago for one of my other stories. I would have to say that she has been my favorite so far. She is funny, smart and rather crazy at times.
Where is your favorite writing space?
I do most of my writing downstairs on the sofa with my iPad.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?
I usually plan the plot and the first chapter or two and just let it flow after that.
What inspires your ideas/stories?
I’m not really sure. I just get an idea in my head and I want to write. Once I get started I want to keep going until I finish – just ask my parents.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
No, I don’t belong to any kind of a writing group right now – maybe someday.
Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
Yes, I currently have a book entitled “Falsely Accused”. It is available on Amazon as a download for Kindle. I also have had a few paperback copies made as well for family and friends and for people without an e-Reader.
Vanquish – definition: to conquer or subdue by superior force; to overcome or over power
Please welcome Manaswita Ghosh – a poet and story teller, who has conquered, with the help of her Elephant God, publishing for her work and now assists others.
What do you enjoy most about writing?I enjoy the fact that I can play with words. Writing helps me pen my feelings, and the things my lips can’t frame, my intricate experiences with life and its challenges.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?I was eleven; to be precise. I was in 6th grade, and was bored at the new school I had joined. And as I was doodling around on my notebook, I wrote a poem. And that was just the beginning. In fact, now, after eleven years, what’s even more fascinating is that my very first book is a poetry collection which is due for publication this year.
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?I love to experiment. Writing is fun and one should never confine them to a specific genre. You should explore, experiment, and learn. That’s what writing is all about. I write poems, short stories, creative/analytical articles and now I am working on three books – A short story collection for children, a Young Adult Fiction, and my second book of poetry.
What genre are you currently reading?I am not very specific about genre. I pick up any good book I find. In the recent months however, I have been very fascinated to discover the Islamic world, their rules and way of life. I read ‘Girls of Riyadh’ by Rajaa Alsanea last month, and now I am reading ‘The Convert’ by Deborah Baker and ‘Dear Prophet’ by Ali Ansari. These books are worth a read.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?I read for both pleasure and research. To be a good writer, you need to be a prolific reader. And yes, you should read anything that appeals to you, fascinates you and makes you give it a thought.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?Every single person I have met/known has contributed in my making. My parents, my best friends – Ron, Akanksha and Santy, my publisher at Bombadil Publishing, UK, they have all been a great source of support and inspiration for me. They have helped me all through my writing aspirations and my entrepreneurial venture – Walkin Wordz. I started my company this year, which is basically a content writing and editing firm.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?There is a character that I love, and he is yet to be shaped. I dreamed of him once, and it was beautiful. That guy carries magic in his pockets. He is warm, caring and strong. I hope I can pen him just the way I dreamed him. Strangely, I don’t know his name.
Where is your favorite writing space?My writing desk comprises of my laptop and my diary, which has a complete record of my ideas and story lines and my idol of Ganesha (Elephant God, who is the symbol of wisdom). I stick to it every time I am up for writing. Else, I carry my laptop around and just sit wherever feels best in the house.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants writer?Depends. I don’t go looking for stories; instead, I like to observe people. Everyone has a story; all you need to do is find the right one to frame into a story.
What inspires your ideas/stories?Random people inspire me. An anonymous girl busy with her books, a beggar looking at passersby hopefully, a little boy throwing tantrums. An Indian bride in her wedding attire, ready to be married; everyone has a story.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so, which one? Officially, no, I don’t belong to any writers’ group.
Do you have a book published? If so, what is it called & where can readers purchase it?
I have been published by Penguin Books India in the anthology ‘Love Stories That Touched My Heart’ with my short story ‘A Pair of Shoes’.
My poetry collection, which comprised of 46 of my poems is all set for publication this year by Bombadil Publishing House, UK.
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why? J.K.Rowling. I think she is a writer’s (not to mention a reader’s) dream. She inspires me, and she is the reason I ventured into writing. Her ability to imagine, conjure up such great plots, perfect and mature emotions, her characters and their stories, everything fascinates me.
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? I am currently working on three books. My second book of poetry which is halfway done (The first being all set for publication), a Young Adult Fiction based on a real life story and a Children’s book that comprises of thirty short stories.