Interview with Airiel Hawkins

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up moving from place to place. I was all over the northern end of Utah. My childhood was spent in a town called Layton, which has more restaurants and movie theaters than anything else these days. I lived in Ogden while I was in foster care and I loved it there. Salt Lake City was the largest place I lived until my early twenties. These places all influenced the types of towns my characters live in. When I think of the architecture and settings for the worlds of my books, these are the places that come to mind first.
When did you first start writing?
I wrote my first story when I was in 3rd grade and was part of a writing seminar my elementary school was hosting. The goal of the project was to write a legend and mine was about how the cat got its purr. I started writing my own novels after that and had one that may or may not ever come to fruition. My first series published, the Legend of Catseye was one of my earliest projects and I'm very proud that it's my first published work.
Who are your favorite authors?
Whew! There are so many! J.K. Rowling is certainly top 3 if not the #1. I love her books and the world she created. She's a huge inspiration for me. Jennifer Roberson, who wrote the Chronicles of the Cheysuli series is another huge inspiration for me. Anne Rice, of course, is another one. :) I've recently begun reading the Divergent series, and I'm certainly a fan of Veronica Roth's writing style. There are at least a hundred more that I adore, I just can't list them all right now. :)
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've always adored writing. It's what got me through some of the toughest points in my life and it's helped me celebrate some of the best. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I've been struggling to be published for years, but standard publishing costs so much upfront and if it fumbles, you're out a few hundred dollars. I needed some way to prove that I could do this before I allowed myself to take that large a gamble. Someday, the books will be available in print, but for now, I'm happy just knowing that they exist for the world to see.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy of writing... Wow. There are so many! I think part of it is knowing that I created these worlds and these characters. Everything that they are is because I was able to think it up and put it on paper (or in a word processor). The fact that I can do anything, anytime gives me such a sense of freedom that it doesn't matter that I haven't left my desk. I can still explore the universe.
What do your fans mean to you?
Fans are everything. Without fans, I'm left with nothing. You are my support, you are my backbone, and you are the only reason I can be successful. Without a fan, a writer's work is unnoticed. While that's fine for the most part because generally we just want to write, it becomes not enough when you get that first taste. That first positive review sends you so high into the clouds that you can't even think of coming back down. Knowing that I have fans out there is what makes it easy to sit at the computer and write on the days where that's the last thing I want to do.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book hasn't been published just yet. :) It's an urban fantasy about a girl, Ceres, who doesn't know the truth about her heritage or the war that has been going on for centuries outside of the human world. She travels to a small town in northeast Utah to help her ex-stepfather with a few things and ends up meeting Wolfgang, Wolfgang opens her eyes to a world she didn't know existed and things move forward from there. The book will be released soon. It is currently in the final stages of editing.
What are you working on next?
Right now I'm working between two series. The Legend of Catseye has had the first 2 books published and Vanilla Moon is in the pre-publish stages. I'm really excited about both of these projects and I'm always working on a few others just in case I need a change of pace. :)
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I think I mentioned it before. It was the legend of how the cat got its purr, complete with craptacular drawings by yours truly. lol I think the story was set "a really long time ago in the 50's", which to a 3rd grader was actually a million years ago. lol If I remember correctly, it was about a couple who had a cat because they couldn't have children and the cat wanted to express how much it loved them, but it had no way of doing so. The cat wished for it and wished for it and was given the gift of purring so that it could tell its people how much it cared.
What is your writing process?
Sit down and go. lol Sometimes I plan it out, other times I let the story take me where it wants to go. I've always felt that a good story writes itself and you can tell when they get forced. I've deleted pages upon pages where the work feels too forced for me, like I have something in mind that the characters themselves aren't quite ready for. Generally, I know the beginning and the end. How I get there is up to them.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Playing video games! lol I'm a geek at heart, so if I'm not writing or working my day job (the books can't pay the bills yet), I'm playing whichever video game strikes my fancy that day. I'm a Sims player (and yes, I've created my characters) and I love the Assassin's Creed series. I'm also a huge Silent Hill fan <3 and Final Fantasy X is my absolute favorite game on the planet. I also love card games, tabletop rpgs, and anything else that makes me smile. I'm also crafty. I crochet and I just learned how to knit (wahoo!!!) and I enjoy making jewelry. I'm also an artist of sorts. I can design tattoos and the original covers of my books were pieces that I drew, but I changed them for covers that were a bit more professional-looking to me. I also love taking pictures, but I think everyone is a photographer thanks to things like Instagram. lol
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I have a few email lists that show me what's new, what's free, and what's cheap. A favorite series by Lola St.Vil was on that list and I devoured her Guardians series. If you like butt-kicking, true love disasters, and edge-of-your-seat cliffies, go check her series out. There were some pretty heart-pounding moments, if you ask me!
Published 2014-06-23.
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