Interview: 2018's Best Overall Novel Winner

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Interviewer: Jacob Sinne
Interviewee: Crimson_Graves
Date of interview: 14/12/2018

How does it feel to have won this award? 
I am honestly in so much shock right now. I remember comparing all the other works in my category and thinking that I may get third. I never expected my work to win first. Then when I compared my work to all the other first-place winners, I never thought I would win. I guess this just goes to show that we are our own worst critics. Everyone else's books entered in this competition were fantastic. I am shocked that I won, but also come away with a sense of pride that I did what I thought was impossible. My hard work has indeed paid off.   

Where do you get your ideas for your overall writing?
I get a lot of my ideas from the shower and my dreams. When I am relaxed, my imagination runs wild. Conversations at work and with friends also sparks ideas. I just love to brainstorm and if I can make something fun or tragic work, I do it.  

What is your writing process like?
Well, I'm probably super disorganized compared to some. I have my main events set in stone, and the events that take them there are sometimes planned, but mostly improvised. When I get in the writing mood, my imagination goes wild and wonderful ideas come to life. When I first started writing this story, the only thing I knew for certain was the party scene. Now I have my ending planned out and a wicked twist planned. This is only the first draft. I know there are mistakes that need to be worked on, but I will come back to those after I finish.   

How did you get your ideas for Dog Days? 
From as long as I can remember I've been a huge zombie fan. Resident Evil has always been one of my favourite series--yes even Chris Redfield punching the rock one-- and I always knew I wanted to write something about zombies. I wanted to write it in a different way though. I didn't want your standard lab virus. I wanted to shake things up a bit. So the animals are the culprit for humanity's demise. 
I also base some of the character interactions on a few incidents my friends and I have experienced. I think that is what makes the dialogue and interactions feel a little more realistic.

What do you believe are common traps for aspiring writers?
I think a lot of aspiring writers believe they need to conform to what is popular, whether it be cliches or the trend of the year. My advice is don't write for someone else. Write for yourself first. Don't think just because @SallySkellington2.0 commented a nasty comment that you need to change your whole work. Turn their nasty comment into a way to better yourself. If you think your work is fine the way it is, don't change it for one person.
Another thing I see a lot of writers do is telling more than showing. I've been guilty several times and I still do it occasionally. Instead of saying 'Ron was mad at Hermione', try to show he is mad by his actions. Did he stomp around? Did his face turn red? Did he snap at her? Little things like this show the reader that he is furious at her without saying "he is mad".    

Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? Any reason why or why not?
I guess I kind of do. Crimson_Graves definitely isn't my real name, although it would be a pretty cool name. I think the main reason I use a username instead of my real name is fear of hackers and stalkers. I think if I ever become a published author, I'll use my real name, but for now, I'll stick with Crimson.   

Do you think someone could be a writer if they don't feel emotions strongly?
I'm sure it's possible, but I feel like it would be extremely hard. When I write, I have to get in the mindset of my characters. I have to feel whatever emotions they are feeling that way I can accurately portray them and get the feeling across to the reader. I feel like someone who has never felt these emotions may not be able to get the feeling across to those reading.   

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