Who did the cover of your book?
I did. It took me 55 hours to paint on a 3.5 ft x 5 ft canvas, over a period of two years. I was thinking about changing it to fit in with everyone else, but then I realized I just want to be unique. If the market follows me someday, then yay, I’ll be a trend-setter.
Are you going to paint the cover or your second book?
Yes. I’m thinking about having a flying carpet on it.
Have you figured out what’s next in the series?
I have an idea of how the series will end (after all, my first idea started around there), and I have some drafts of books that will take place in between, but I could scrap them completely, or take bits and pieces. It’ll be okay; I know whatever I come out with in the end will be the best possible product.
How many books are going to be in the series?
I’m not sure. I’m not planning on sticking to conventions of one book per school year. I’ll be letting it flow and producing books of whatever I have ideas for.
You mentioned a second edition. What’s happening?
I’ll be making it more geared toward kids. I’ll add study questions at the end. I’ll also be shortening the title to The Sage of Land Dragon Mountain; it’s easier to pronounce and isn’t such a mouthful.
What’s the genre?
It’s a Fantasy book, so it’s magical. As far as the age group it’s Young Adult / Middle Grade. Young adult usually means teenagers, but lots of people in their twenties read YA, too. Middle Grade sounds like middle school, but it’s actually in the 8-12 age range. I’m not sure what reading level my books would fit inside. In the sixth grade, I was reading books meant for adults.
What’s your routine for writing?
I used to write at Preservation, but over time, there were too many distractions to shoot for that on a regular basis. Now I try to write at home, sitting outside on the porch before it gets too hot (it doesn’t work so well in the winter, but I love writing outside in the summer). I don’t have my computer anywhere near me; it’s too much of a distraction. I like to write longhand; creativity seems to show up better. Though I have typed whole books, and I can knock them out faster. Still, there’s the issue of distractions. Anyway, in terms of actually writing, I have an outline (I like to plot my book before I sit down to write it) so I know what’s going to happen in a scene, and then I flesh it out on the spot. I may sit there for half an hour and get nothing, or I could sit for an hour and write a few pages. It depends on the day. (Admittedly, I don’t write every single day.)
How long does it take for you to get down the idea for a book?
It’s a continuous process. I get flashes of ideas when I’m trying to write, or at 3AM—I accept them whenever. If you haven’t read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, I’d recommend it. She introduces the idea that inspiration are creatures floating around looking for hosts to manifest through. But most of the time, they don’t show up. I don’t get inspired daily. I show up and write, or I sit there and get nothing out for half an hour. That’s how it goes. I make a practice of writing, and eventually I get the ideas I need to go on. As far as how long it takes to write a book? It took me 10 months to write my first book, while some books took me only one month to write.
What’s the best part of writing a book?
The best part of writing is that flash of an idea, inspiration. I can’t describe how it feels, physically, except that I’m excited. Along a similar vein, the worst part of writing is losing an idea because I was half asleep and not near a pen. I’ve had dreams where I awoke and wrote down the idea, but in the morning there was no sign of it because it was all a dream. Or I actually did write, but I was half asleep and can’t make out the mush of writing.
How long did it take you to draw the map?
This was actually the first thing I did, before I started planning the series. I followed this tutorial by Holly Lisle… I was going to name the whole series after it, Once Upon a Map, but then The Children of the Revolution made so much more sense. Anyway, I started out drawing in marker, because you can’t erase that, and I drew the whole continent. Then I zeroed in on a country and started digitally drawing it. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent refining the details, but it was fun, so it’s okay.
What character do you most identify with?
I identify most with Haylee. Regardless of my own life experiences, whatever she went through, I experienced it with her. Getting into her thoughts… Living in them for a number of years, I couldn’t help becoming a teenager again, for better or for worse.
Do you give real-world answers to problems?
I hope so, even though I’m not a wise old woman. I have lived through some hard experiences, and I’ve been through therapy. I just give advice to the very best of my ability and try not to cause any harm to my readers.