@StoryofAshlyn - 5Qi

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Q1. What book do you wish you could have written?

 Answer: Sometimes I wish I could have written a book that was braver, a little less personal. Stained Glass Souls is so rooted in some of the struggles I have undergone, and in the pieces of my life, that when I look back on it I wish I had had the maturity and will to put some distance between fact and fiction. I think a lot of beginning writers struggle with this: most, for lack of inspiration, or perhaps because of inspiration, turn out first and second novels that are largely autobiographical in nature. I'm not saying that such a close, intimate look at the author is bad, but I do think that when this happens, characters forget to be flawed. Details become reality. Things get mixed up and confused for memories. And this, in my opinion, is dangerous.So while I love Stained Glass Souls, I wish I could have written something with a greater perspective. I wish, in fact, that I had written it in the future, or perhaps in five years. My mission as an author has always been to help people; but there needs to be some order restored to the inspiration before it breathes words and scenes and sentences. As I thought through the question I came to the realization that some books, like this one, are cathartic. They are necessary. And so I will not apologize for it, but – in my edits, and in the future – I hope to amend some of the messier pieces.This aside: at times I wish I wrote Chick Lit! Humor is a talent. One that, I'm afraid, I don't possess enough of to write skillfully! There are moments – knee-deep in the middle of a trying scene – that I wish I had attempted to write in a lighter genre. But at the end of day, the end of novel, etc., it worth the searching, discomfort, and pain, and I do not regret it.

Q2. What is the hardest part of writing for you?

 Answer: The initial phase of inspiration. I usually begin with several ideas, all dissonant, and it takes time, and patience, for them to form a cohesive story. This frustrates me, because I wish the ideas didn't have to "percolate" for quite so long, but I suppose that it's just part of the process!

Q3. How important are names to you in your books?

Answer: Very important. Crucial, I would say. When coming up with characters, I figure out everything about the person first – then, the name. To me the name is the most important part of a person, and of a character. It has the power to define. It has the power to break down. And it says far more about personality, future actions, and so forth then anything the character could have said aloud. The name is the first thing you hear. And sometimes, it's the only thing you need to hear.

Q4. What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

Answer: Allow yourself to doubt. Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Take note of life – while you live it, soak it in. The strangest, smallest details can transform into stories someday. Read. Write every day – no exceptions. Dream relentlessly. Scribble words on napkins and descriptions on the backs of hand. Attempt to memorize as much as you can about a place, or person, that fascinates you. Never stop believing in the fact that you have a story to tell, somewhere – even if that story evades you, and even if you think you do not have the power to tell it. Because you do. Of course you do. Why else would you be compelled to write?...and, above all else: resign yourself to the reality of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Kidding! Mostly.).

Q5. Why do you write?

Answer: I'm not sure there is a direct answer to that question. At times because I have to. At times because I cannot sleep. Most of the time, because I love it. Because I could think of nothing else I would rather spend my life doing. And writing is special, for me. It brings me a type of peace and solitude. And in a way, like music, it is beautiful and cleansing and completely worth every headache and cramped finger and coffee binge. So I suppose that's my answer: because writing is worth it.

Q6. Where do you go from here?

Answer: Well, I'm still writing, still attempting to turn out novel number seven. I'm editing Stained Glass Souls for possible publication. And...I've started an [unofficial] writing initiative on Wattpad called "No, Seriously!" This is something I could not be more excited about, because I have been attempting to put together a blog or initiative like this for quite some time. A few details: "No, Seriously," will highlight authors whose novels deal with topics such as eating disorders, bullying, suicide, self-harm, and depression. It will also serve as a forum for teenagers struggling with these issues. The aim is to cultivate a "niche" community for writers seeking a readership, and to become a resource for readers aspiring to work through their pain and create art. Through the initiative, I hope to bring awareness to a gap in Young Adult fiction, and to inspire more people to starting taking these tough topics, and the people that struggle with them, seriously.

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Bonus question added. This option was offered to everyone.

#5Qi - July 29th, 2015

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