Laura, a fellow college blogger of Laura + the voices, tagged me in a super fun 10 questions post. You can read her Q&As here!
Laura asked me:
1. Do you think NaNoWriMo works?
Yes. I do. I think NaNoWriMo can be a great push to get people writing also, those pep talks…I use them every time I’m feeling low/uninspired. Some great books have come from NaNoWriMo, CINDER anyone? Also, it promotes something you must have, in my opinion, to be a successful writer and to make this a lifelong career, community! NaNoWriMo builds such a great support system that many who attempt to write the 50,000, even if they don’t “win”, still have those wonderful connections & friends 🙂
2. Have you ever done NaNoWriMo or are you doing it now, and how did it turn out for you?
I did it in 2012 and technically I signed up this year. I’ve never won, and the weird thing is I don’t really care to. I recently read this amazing post by Jessica Spotswood whose Cahill Witch Chronicles is sitting on my physical to-read book shelf right now (as opposed to Goodreads). I agree with her in that when I do NaNoWriMo I feel so much pressure. The funny thing is that I’m able to complete a MS in 1-3 months. I’m sure there’s some psychological explanation for this, and I’m sure one day I’ll actually complete NaNoWriMo, just not today. However, for those who have never written a book or need a boost, I think NaNoWriMo can really provide that. My first completed MS was something I wrote, on my own, blindly following the story. I didn’t have a support system set in for those highs/lows. With NaNoWriMo, you have that, and it’s wonderful so if you think it’ll help, definitely give it a shot.
3. You are trapped alone in a room for the next year with only one book to read. Which book do you choose?
Mkay. This is a toughie. Haha, have you seen my bookshelves lately (and those are just the two in my dorm). But probably either THE MIST OF AVALON, A HANDMAID’S TALE, BRAVE NEW WORLD, A GAME OF THRONES, NINETEEN MINUTES or some Adult Urban Fantasy book (LOVE UF), or some collection of short stories/fairy tales like GRIMM FAIRY TALES or some world mythology book so that I could have tons of stories to use to help me write, since most of my writing has mythology/fairy tale twists/inspirations.
Interesting that I didn’t pick any YA, huh? Probably because my favorite YAs are series and I would be so mad that I didn’t have the ones after it. However, I wouldn’t mind having HARRY POTTER AND DEATHLY HALLOWS only because while I’ve read Book One, hands down my favorite though I love 5 & 7, over 50,000 times, I feel like I’d love to read and dissect the last book…actually, I might do that one day.
4. Do you prefer e-readers or paper books, and why?
Hardcover all the way, except with my Urban Fantasy books I MUST have paperbacks. Why…because 1. though Kindle’s are amazing and mind is anti-glare, my eyes hurt after looking at a screen all day and after all the writing I do, I need a book. Having a physical book allows me to pull away from “the screen” and sit and cozy up and really enjoy delving into a new world.
5. What is the hardest thing you have ever written?
This research proposal on black queer thought and agenda-making for my PoliSci class. Haha, okay, not exactly (almost). Um, the books I’m writing now. THE ARTIFACT COLLECTOR (MG Adventure) & AS BLACK AS NIGHT (YA Snow White Sci-Fi Retelling).
The MG one is hard because it features a mish-mash of world mythologies. I’m really pushing myself to step outside the typical Greek, Roman, Norse, and even Egyptian (love of my life), though those will be included, it’s also going to include artifacts and creatures I’ve made up and that come from other, non Western, cultures.
The YA one because it’s a Sci-Fi Snow White Retelling and that in itself is challenging. The world has to be spot on, the romance, which is central, needs to be believable even though it happens within a short time period, and I’m also pushing myself to dig deeper than just settling with a Dystopian world, which comes easy to me so in a sense I feel like that’s a cop out, to a world that just is (if that makes any sense). Basically yes, some worlds are dystopian but sometimes people are okay with their messed up worlds, I want the focus to be less on changing the world and more on the two MCs and their life and struggles. Also, I want it to be a standalone so there’s that.
6. What is your favorite book (or books) from childhood?
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, CORALINE (okay, I’m reading now for the first time but I really feel like child Patrice would’ve loved it), THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE, THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES by Anne Rice (yes, I’m serious…I was lik 11-12), UGLIES Series, HARRY POTTER Series, PERCY JACKSON Series, ARTEMIS FOWL, YORUBA GIRL DANCING, A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES (& everything Holly Black…such a fangirl), and TILL WE HAVE FACES.
7. What book has had the most profound impact on your writing?
Interestingly enough, probably DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, Harry Potter & Percy Jackson & Octavia Butler’s books. I feel like my writing sometimes has the descriptive air (or at least I want it to) of Laini Taylor’s writing. My narrator often becomes borderline a character like Lemony Snicket, he’s hands down one of my favorite authors (heard him speak at Boston Book Fest last year…died (of laughter)). Usually when that happens I tone it down a bit in later revisions because I’m really trying to form my own voice/narrative style.
As for the last three, the more influenced the type of stories I write. I LOVE Octavia Butler (started with WILD SEED). I think that’s why I write so much Science Fiction/Fantasy that also features diverse characters and non-western worlds. Same with Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson, I write a ton of Contemporary Fantasies. I also LOVE mythology, that came before I read PJ but I’ll never forget being in middle school and having Rick Riordan speak at my school. I wasn’t a fan of the series yet, but I sure was after that.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong in mimicking other writers and taking from them. Only then can you find and create your own voice. It takes practice and lots of writing, but you will see the change. Like with the MSs I’m working on now, OMG, I can totally tell that my writing is so much better. I read an old draft of something I wrote just over a year ago and yuck (ew). You just have to keep at it.
8. Do you have a favorite genre to read?
Oh, no. I don’t like to limit myself like that. I was just thinking the other day that if I were to become a literary agent, I’d be that agent who got all the SFF queries yet was really just craving a good Contemporary. I love it all. What I most want to read are unique stories. Yes, everything is recycled but make it so good that I can’t tell. DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, ASH (Malinda Lo), CORALINE, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE…PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL and PROXY are great examples of books I love. In the case of PSC, there are tons of books on the market about girls in boarding schools with dark elements but add a protagonist like Anne Downing and well, I’m sold. PROXY, it’s a Dystopian but the world…corporations in control, protagonists you love to hate…yep, this PoliSci girl is in love.
9. Do you have a favorite genre to write? Is this the same or different from your favorite genre to read, and why?
I mostly write speculative fiction. I think every one of my stories could become a Contemporary since they’re mostly Contemporary Fantasies and in the case of Science Fiction technically that is Contemp., it’s just not our present. I love other worlds, also, when I was a child, these books saved me. I like presenting tough issues but I can’t do that in a straight up Contemp. background, it would be morbid. For me, putting it against a SFF backdrop is perfect. It becomes a grand metaphor, children can love when they’re young and when they’re older. That’s what some of my favorite SFF is to me. That’s what I want to give to the world, great stories of ordinary people put in extreme situations in the middle of freaking awesome worlds.
10. And lastly, a fun question…You can choose one of the Deathly Hallows. Do you choose the Elder Wand, the Invisibility Cloak, or the Resurrection Stone?
Invisibility Cloak. Some days I purposely try to avoid people, not because I don’t like people but 1. Wellesley is a small campus – 2,500-3,000 students and 2. A lotna of people know me from the various activities I do/have done so I often have to stay in my room and put my phone face-down in order to get any work done. Also, I’m a huge people watcher and I LOVE sitting on Sev Green (big hill, center of campus) and watching people, sometimes that gets a little weird so an Invisibility Cloak would definitely help.
Thanks so much for your wonderful questions, Laura!!! I’m posting this now but between today and tomorrow, I’ll add my ten questions and contact the people I want to tag 🙂
–Also, I’d love to hear your answers, readers, to one or more of these questions!–