My ideas and concepts come from my eternally day-dreaming outlook on life. Really it's whatever comes to me whenever it comes. I've tried to force my writing and it's almost always turned out bad. But usually I find that if I don't fixate on it, ideas and concepts come to me frequently and randomly, and once I sit down at my desk to write, the words flow on their own. Most of the time I never achieve the ending I initially planned and I think that that in itself is magical because the story takes on a life of it's own.
Most of the times my creative juices start flowing when I'm in the shower where I have nothing to write my ideas on, or just as I'm falling asleep when I'm too tired to get up and make a jot down the thought. I always promise myself I'll remember it but 99% of the time I never do. I think I've lost so many good ideas that way!
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I’ve found that I’m inspired by everything including the world around me. People I meet, things I see and experience, everything I do can inspire my writing to some extent. In terms of my favorite authors, the list really does go on and on—Stephen King, John Perkins, Dan Brown, Michael Crichton, Lewis Carroll, Jean Rhys, John Steinbeck, H.G. Wells, Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl, Joyce Carol Oates, Paulo Coelho, J.K. Rowling, Isabel Allende, Chuck Palahniuk, Janet Fitch , Friedrich Nietzsche, V.S. Naipaul, J.R.R. Tolkien, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen Hawking, Jeff Lindsay, Vladimir Nabokov, just to name a few, are some of my favorite authors.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m not really sure if this is unusual but I tend to just write without direction. I’ve never been able to plot out a story and then stick to the scripted plan. In the times I have tried that, I’ve found that in knowing the story’s progression and ending I tend to never finish it (or if I do the writing tends to be lacking in many senses). So for me, I sit down with a very vague notion for a story and from there, I write and I allow the story to grow and become what it wants to. Many times when I’ve reached the ending of a story I sit back in shock at where things ended up. Perhaps this is more common than I think but it’s the closes thing to an unusual writing habit that I can think of.
Describe your desk
I wish I could give a cool answer to the effect of a giant mahogany antique desk in the middle of my library with it's top covered in a series of unfinished manuscripts, papers and an old fashioned typewriter (a forever classic), but the reality is that I have a small desk upon which my desktop sits. I have dual monitors, a stack of organized papers, a notebook, my headphones and my mouse on the surface area. A small shelf above my screens hold my printer and camera, and my keyboard sits on a pull out shelf. Nothing spectacular but it's where I make my magic happen!
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m all over the place working on multiple projects at a time (according to what mood I'm in!) since I’m trying my luck with various genres. Most of my life I’ve been writing thriller/ suspense/ horror stories but recently I’ve been trying to expand my genres (romance, drama, coming of age, young adult, children's books etc)
You can see all my upcoming stories and all the projects I’m currently working on here: http://amber.drappiertech.com/upcoming/
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Regarding life: Do the best you can and live without regrets. If something is meant to be, then things will work out, and even if it doesn’t you’ll always know that you tried your best and you did all you could ~ my mother.
Regarding work: If you do what you love you will never have to work a day in your life ~ my father.
Regarding writing: Never stop writing. Even if you don’t feel like it or you think you have “writer’s block” put pen to paper and write, write whatever comes to mind and write whatever you feel like writing in the moment. Even if it’s bad, that doesn’t matter, what matters is that you’ve written something. (I’m honestly not sure who gave me this advice or if it was something I told myself at one point but whichever it is, it’s always stuck with me!)
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I honestly can't say that I do. When I was very young I recall emulating the books I read (OK let's face it, it was straight up plagiarism but in my defense I was 4 and "plagiarism" was a big word!) So I would re-write/copy books or stories I'd read and add in extra details or draw pictures to illustrate the material. With that in mind it's sort of difficult for me to remember my first 100% original story but I'm fairly certain it was either a fairytale-like story with horror elements added in.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not writing I'm usually working on a host of other projects from graphic design to tinkering with new recipes. I'm also fond of having Netflix marathons or re-watching Studio Ghibli movies. On occasion I play old school PS1 and SNES games (sometimes I steam my gameplay on Twitch for fun.) And at nights I spend at least an hour curled up in bed with my husband reading a novel before bedtime.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Before I could read my mother would sit and read with me. The first story I can remember her reading to me was "The Swiss Family Robinson" by Johann Wyss followed by "Tales of Mystery and Terror" the first story in that book being "The Tell-Tale Heart". I think that in itself has has a tremendous impact on my style as a reader and writer. Even now, despite the fact that I've been trying to challenge myself to branch out and write in different genres, I still love and think in the horror/thriller/suspense mindset.
How would you describe the progression of your reading over the years?
Interestingly enough the first books I read on my own were children's picture books which quickly graduated to Enid Blyton books, then to R.L. Stine books until I was eleven. At eleven my mother checked out "Misery" by Stephen King for me from the library. I read it and didn't care much for it, however when I entered high school, I soon started reading the works of Mr. King on my own starting with Night Shift, and Skeleton Crew before I dove headfirst into The Dark Tower Series. I think it's Mr. King who has had the greatest impact on me as a writer.
From then to now I read everything from Crichton to Palahniuk to Nietzsche to Nabokov and everything in between!
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