Interview with Natalie Kwong

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've always wanted to have a book I wrote published so bad, so one day I went to amazon.com and was looking for ways to publish a book, because I had heard someone mention something like that before. Amazon directed me to CreateSpace, and then I self-published my first book, Natalie's Notebook, when I was 11 in 5th grade. Natalie's Notebook is a collection of writings I've done throughout my childhood. Now, two years later, I'm about to publish my next book!
When did you first start writing?
Since I could write!
I used to get notebooks and pretend they were my "published books". They were all about animals, and a few were How to Draw books. I would even draw my own ISBN, coupons on the back, and an "About the Author" page.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I am currently writing a trilogy called Horizon of Nature for tweens and young teens. The first book, Shattered, is about a young swan called Lily that's separated from her family after a forest fire, and has to make a long journey to this amazing place called Horizon of Nature (hence the series title) in hopes of finding her family. There's also the Hunt going on, where humans are hunting swans for their waterproof feathers and meat, and swans are getting "drugged" on bread, and Lily describes the drugged swans as "...empty shells of their former selves...". With these things doing on, swans are becoming endangered, and Lily has a sinking feeling that it's up to her to save them, which she will deal with in Book 2 and 3.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is my passion. Since I'm very imaginative and curious, writing is a way for my to escape real life, and do things I can't do in actual life. Writing is a way for me to express my emotions that are better told through a fiction story than an explanation. I love using using words, looking so plain, to paint a picture in a reader's mind that's so descriptive that you're literally in the story. With writing, I can do whatever I want.
Who are your favorite authors?
Suzanne Collins and Rick Riordan!
Suzanne Collins wrote The Hunger Games, which is one of my favorites! I love how her writing keeps you up all night trying to finish the book, then throughout early morning as you think about them. That's how powerful and emotional she writes her books. Someday, I hope I can write a book 1/100 as good as hers.
Rick Riordan wrote The Kane Chronicles, Percy Jackson & The Olympians, and Heroes of Olympus, which are my favorite books besides The Hunger Games. I love how his books are humorous, and yet serious too. His writing style is amazing. My friend, who is also a huge fan of his books, talk about them a lot!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Now, if you're expecting me to say something really inspiring...My alarm clock!
Since I have school 5 days a week, I kind of have to get out of bed. I'm a night owl and always have trouble getting up and out of bed in the morning. I'm tired all throughout the day and yet when I have to go to bed, I can't fall asleep!
But, on weekends, it's a struggle for me to get out of bed. Especially during winter, since it's warm in my bed (heated blanket <3) and my mom rarely turns the heater on.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Homework and school; sadly, reading, listening to music, hanging out with friends, sleeping, doing random stuff on the computer, watching TV...just the typical teen stuff, haha. :) (I'm 13, by the way.)
How do you approach cover design?
Gosh...I had to think a moment. I just mainly create any cover I can actually create myself.
For Natalie's Notebook, I used CreateSpace's cover creator. All I did was choose the font, colors, and picture. It looks decent.

For Shatterd, I painted a picture of a swan on a black construction paper a few years back...when I was 11. When it came time to make a cover for my book, I came across the picture and decided to use that swan painting. Using my phone camera, I took a picture of the painting and emailed it to myself. So, if you see the swan on the cover and notice that it's not the best quality, I apologize. I shouldn't have used my phone camera for it, haha. From there, I created the cover using a graphics program. Surprisingly, it took a very long time.

For Sunny Side Up (the eBook exclusive) I had an old picture of one of my chickens, Omelet. Using the graphics program, I traced the chicken and tree, using my mouse, with green. Then I colored the background with that green color, so I only had the chicken and the tree on the cover. The process killed my eyes.
What do you read for pleasure?
I mainly read fiction and a little nonfiction for teens and young adults. I like to reread some of my favorite series over, and over, and over again when I have nothing else to read, haha. I used to love reading animal fantasy, but now I'm more into fiction about people. If I'm really into a book, which happens often, I can finish it in a few hours or so. This may not count, but I do enjoy looking up and reading song lyrics. I write songs occasionally. Reading is very important for writing to me. Reading helps me learn all kinds of writing styles and it gives me inspiration, though of course I do not take ideas from books and use them for my own! But mainly, I read because I enjoy doing it. I read every night before bed, thinking it will help me fall asleep, though most times it makes me more awake and makes me want to read more.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
To tell you the truth I prefer actual books, like paperback and hardcover. I find them easier to read than a screen that can make my eyes sore. And although I think it's great to have a great collection of books in one fairly small device and the price of them to be less expensive, I will always prefer physical books to ebooks.

But back to the actual question! The only e-reading device I've really used is a Kindle Fire, since my parents won a free one once at a raffle. So I guess I would have to say the Kindle Fire is my e-reading choice.
Published 2014-01-16.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Sunny Side Up: Life and Times of Backyard Chickens
Price: Free! Words: 5,930. Language: English. Published: January 15, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Entertainment » Biography, Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs
This fun, quick-read eBook exclusive is about 13-year-old Natalie growing up in a suburban town with crazy chickens living in her backyard. Short stories include a desperate chicken escape, a surprise rooster, a poor little chick with a crooked beak, and more. Written when Natalie was 11-years-old in 2012, readers will feel her emotions as she tells her tales of quirky chickens.
Natalie's Notebook: Stories from the Heart
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 26,820. Language: English. Published: January 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
From Natalie Kwong's actual notebooks are poems, short stories, projects, abandoned ideas, and other assorted pieces written from when she was eight to eleven year old. Published when she was 11-years-old in 5th grade, this book shows Natalie's journey in the early ages of her true passion-- writing.