Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Author Interview: Mia Hayson
First I would like to say: HIIII!!! to all of my new followers. Second, I do author and job interviews on my blog where I interview authors via email about their writing career. The lovely Mia Hayes agreed to do one such interview, so here it is. You should go check her out; her blog is like a daily party of awesome and interesting.
Mia's Awesome blog
First, introduce yourself. Tell us who you are, what genre you write in, and what stage of the writer journey you’re currently mucking about in.
I'm a nineteen year old student living in Scotland and writing my way through the dark nights. I'm just in the writing stage of the journey currently, but that's sometimes the best one right? I'm unpublished, I think, although recently I remembered that one of my short stories from when I was 14 was put in a REAL book. So maybe I am? No, I don't think that counts. And I'm not telling you the name of the book because it makes me cringe when I read it. It was a story about a door, a queen and Scotland… and that workshop guy made me do it.
So, I mainly write Young Adult and Paranormal Fiction because I love the bizarre and being able to defy the laws of gravity. Having said that, when an idea hits I tend to ignore genre and just go for it. My WiP is a YA Paranormal Fiction piece and I love it… kind of…. I mean, we have a turbulent relationship…
Now, some questions. You may keep your answers as short or as long as you want.
1. Why did you decide to become a writer?
I guess there was no one point I decided suddenly that I was going to become a writer. I started writing this WiP one day, got to about 20 000 words and realised I wanted to finish it. And then somebody suggested jokingly maybe I should publish it and I thought why not? Then I did a little research online, discovered blogging, joined in and here we are. Suddenly my computer is full to bursting with words and I appear to write in my sleep.
2. What is your writing environment like now?
My room in my flat is mainly where I write. I have this great view of the street so I often people watch whilst I'm typing. It helps with dialogue sometimes too, although some things you just can't write down no matter how funny they are. I can write almost anywhere though; travelling is a fun way to write because there's great inspiration to be had.
3. What is your ideal writing environment like?
Oooh, um, there would be an open fire because I like to be warm, a good view and endless quantities of tea.
4. Do you write with music? Why or why not?
I think music is my second biggest love aside from literature so it feels natural to write to it. I'm on the student newspaper so I often have new promo CDs to listen to that I end up writing to as well, I don't mention that in my articles though. I use music to get me in a particular frame of mind.
5. How do you find time to write in between the other demands on your time—kids, family, job, etc?
I write in-between studying, socialising and working ---> I mostly write when everyone else is asleep. It's actually a brilliant strategy because most of the USA is still awake on Twitter and whatnot, so if I need help there are people to consult. At the moment it's very much about using all my free minutes to type a little here and there. It helps that I rarely sleep.
6. What are your comfort books? Those books you can read again and again, that foster and rekindle your desire to write?
I have so many but the main ones worn out from my reading are The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
7. What authors do you find influential?
8. Do you belong to a critique group? Writing organization? Why or why not?
I haven't found the guts to really join one yet! Actually, I think I am a member of #YAlitchat.com and they have groups that critique there but I haven't worked up the courage to join in any.
Seriously, I've been speaking with a few people over the net about maybe starting something but I'm shy I guess. My work isn't nearly finished yet so I worry it'll be torn to shreds and I'll never be able to do so. Also, you've got to have the right people you know? Ideally, I'd like people who I feel I know well enough to trust them with my work but whom I also know won't hold back when push comes to shove.
So if you know of any…
9. Have you ever been to a writing conference? Why or why not? If so, what was your experience like?
I want to, haven't been a writer long enough to check them out. Also there's an issue with travel and funds. I'm a student so unless there happens to be a practically free local one I'm unlikely to be able to join.
10. Are you querying? If so, what’s keeping you sane?
11. What are your favourite kinds of characters to write about?
The weird and disturbing ones I think. I mean, I do write an awful lot of characters that you shouldn't sympathise with but you do. I guess they're more fun than normal people.
12. What are you favourite kinds of characters to read about?
Oh the quirky ones. The ones that surprise you and take you along with them as they discover who they are.
13. Are you an outliner or a seat of the pants writer? Why?
I'm seat of the pants writer. I try to outline overall the things I still need to add in at some point, choose a scene "area" and then unleash the MC but it just doesn’t work for me. The way I write I need to freedom to be able to surprise myself so the planning actually happens after everything has been written.
14. Would you like to be a bestseller or have a smaller, more manageable following?
I don't mind. It's more about making a difference than who enjoys the writing. I want my writing to have a positive effect because it is books that helped me through difficult times in my life and no doubt will as the hard times roll on by. So I'd like a following of people who feel the book made a difference. That's probably even more ambitious than requesting an uber-bestseller, isn't it?
15. Do you have a writing "process?" What is it, if so?
Make a cup of tea, choose an area that needs work/finishing and then let the MC take me where she will. There's no other way to roll with her. I write until the words run out, then realise that the tea has gone cold and repeat.
16. What is the single best writing advice you have ever received/come across?
17. Any fears about becoming published?
Not having the time to write.
18. Where do you get your ideas from? (*grin* sorry guys, I had to include that)
As any writer will probably say, I get them from anywhere and everywhere. Songs, scenes you watch play out in front of your window, er dreams. Yes, I know that's very cliché but I do write my dreams sometimes. Well, once actually. My current WiP is the result of a very disturbing dream I had and just had to write down. I'm more ashamed of this than anything else, my subconscious just had to go and be all "cool" and find something in a dream.
19. What is your biggest pet peeve in your genre?
VAMPIRES, which is ironic because I actually love stories about them. Let me amend that statement, stories that have been recently published and are incredibly similar to that best seller about vampires. That's my pet peeve. I love that best seller but let's all branch out a little ya? Also, vampires are allowed to be evil people they don't have to always sparkle from now on.
But then again I do end up falling in love with Vampire stories *sighs* so it's a love-hate thing.
20. What is your biggest pet peeve in books in general?
Confusing stage directions, I'm sure I do this in my writing but I try my best to whittle it out. I hate reading a paragraph of action and then having to re-read it because I just don't understand where and what everyone was.
21. What is the biggest writing issue you’ve had to date, and how did you fix it? (writer’s block, crappy first draft, realized the main character sucks, etc)
22. Do you like books about writing? If so, which books would you recommend and why?
I want to read more books on writing but find non-fiction difficult to trawl through. That may have something to do with the fact I already have to read about 20 different textbooks for my course anyway. Reading textbooks can be difficult; I associate it with exams and LOTS of stress.
Something far more helpful is just reading the blogs and advice of other writers. Books often won't agree on certain points and that can be confusing. Talk to a bunch writers on a forum and you'll discover why there's a miss-match in opinions and can make your own mind up about things. I've discovered that writing involves a lot of learning rules that must be absolutely obeyed AT ALL TIMES and then breaking them, books can't really tell you that.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are some FAB writing books out there, it's just they'll rarely tell you the truth about writing like people can. Writing is subjective, you can obey all the rules ever thought of and still not have a good book. It's the story that really counts.
Oh and p.s. I LOVE adverbs. Deal with it. :P
23. And lastly, if you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Alice in Wonderland. FOREVER.