Today, I’m joined by another one of my Bloomsbury Spark pub sisters, Frankie Brown. She’s here to talk about debuting, giving yourself permission to write, and her love for Joss Whedon. Enjoy!
1. When did you start writing?
Answers to this question, when I read them in interviews, tend to throw me into a pit of despair. It seems like most authors started writing short stories when they were fourteen, and I didn’t. It almost makes me feel like a fraud.
The truth is, I never knew I was allowed to be a writer. Other than bad poetry when I was a teenager, UNTIL WE END was the very thing I ever wrote. As a matter of fact, when I was about thirteen and practically living in the wizarding world that JK Rowling created, my dad asked me, “Why don’t you become a writer?” I said, “Me? I could never do something like that.” And that mentality stuck for a long time. It wasn’t until I turned 21 that I gained the confidence to tell my own stories.
So! To finally answer your question: I’ve been writing for about two years.
2. Are you a pantser or a planner?
Half ‘n half. Outlines and synopses make me break out in itchy red hives, but it’s difficult for me to write without a direction. I usually have a few big scenes to use as benchmarks and a hazy plot arc. Most of the twists in my writing come naturally, at the keyboard.
3. Can you give us an idea of your writing process?
Yes! Have you ever balanced on the edge of skyscraper with a bungee cord tied around your ankles? Then you have an idea of my writing process.
Writing anxiety is a very real problem for me. Here’s an illustrative flowchart of a slow burn panic attack/my writing process: Stare at blank screen -> panic -> browse Twitter -> stare at blank screen -> browse Tumblr -> panic -> turn internet off -> write.
My cure for that is direction. Like I said earlier, I have an allergic reaction to outlines, but knowing how a scene will end when I sit down to write is absolutely necessary. That knowledge is the bungee cord tied around my ankles. Of course stepping off the rooftop of a skyscraper is never easy, but I know it’ll be fun(?) — or at least thrilling — and, as long as I don’t die, worth it.
4. Which authors have influenced your work?
Joss Whedon (I’ve assembled an altar to his dialogue under my writing desk), Suzanne Collins (one word: pacing), Laurie Halse Anderson, Susan Beth Pfeffer, Karen Marie Moning, lots more than I can’t think of…
5. What are you plans/future projects/new releases that we should be aware of?
Currently writing the sequel to UNTIL WE END, and a contemporary YA manuscript that’s stealing half my brain power…
6. Any tips for new writers?
7. Any tips for old writers?
It’s been nine months since the virus hit, killing almost everyone it touched. Seventeen-year-old Cora and her little brother, Coby, haven’t left home since. Not after the power cut out; not even after sirens faded in the distance and the world outside their backyard fence fell silent. But when a blistering drought forces Cora to go in search of water, she discovers that the post-apocalyptic world isn’t as deserted as she thought when she meets Brooks, a drop-dead sexy army deserter.
Fighting their way back home, Cora finds her house ransacked and Coby missing – kidnapped by the military for dangerous medical experiments in the name of finding a cure. Brooks knows exactly where Cora can find her brother, except he says it’s a suicide mission. Cora doesn’t care. But Brooks can’t let her go…