Interview with ~CRK

What are you working on next?
Currently, I'm working on another novel called "ZCN & Friends: Adventures in I*V." It is basically the first book in a very long fantasy series about a fictional representation of my life story and experiences. I am the main character (even though the story is fantasized in most parts, I remain the same in character), and I recall my journeys through Imaginationville, the world of imagination, and the Real World as I met my imaginary friends and learned about the mysteries surrounding Imaginationville. It is a good series for kids (and teens) with a lot of cool super powers and characters and dramatic plot moments. I hope to have the first book finished sometime next year so that I can publish it here on Smashwords.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to bake bread and to make pastries. I'm almost finished with my baking and pastry degree, and it's so much fun to learn about baking (and to taste-test, of course). I also love to help animals and to take care of animals; sometimes, on lovely days, I'll just sit and look out the window at the birds in the backyard. Sometimes I'll practice playing violin, too.
When I'm bored, I'll either play video games (Pokémon!), read about interesting things online, practice French (naturellement), or waste time watching Youtube videos (XD).
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Oftentimes, I'll just scroll through categories (either fantasy or YA) and choose whatever fascinates me most. On writers' websites such as Figment, I would always take time to read the least popular or unread stories; if they were very good, I would comment and encourage the author not to be discouraged if no one reads their material. I have to empathize with them...I know exactly how it feels to be "unseen."

As for real books, I look at the titles first. Yes, the titles! Not necessarily the covers. If both the title and cover intrigue me, I read the description (It makes me mad when the book doesn't have a description on the back). If I am still fascinated, I'll read the last line of the book. Yes, the last line! I love last lines. If that even pulled me further, I'll read the first chapter (or prologue) completely. Finally, if I cannot let that book go after that, I buy it. Yes, I'm picky. I prefer books that seem to differentiate from "the norm." Ones that...intrigue.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Technically, that's "ZCN & Friends"! I would always go on pretend adventures with my imaginary friends when I was young. I made videos and recorded episodes of "ZCN Adventures" all the time. I amused myself greatly. Honestly, I still like to watch those videos sometimes (haha). Some of the episodes had very good moments, but they were mostly the same thing over and over--truly immature and poorly-done. I'd like to say I've improved since then...

Truly, I never "wrote" in my life. I hated writing. My English teachers always insisted I go into writing, but I never believed them. It wasn't until high school that I had a change of heart (partly due to my giving up my dream of being a veterinarian) and became a writer. And guess which book I wrote first? Yes. Unfortunately, the first draft stunk, so I'm in the process of heavily revising it. Hence, the next book project!
Though, old habits are hard to break; I still prefer daydreaming about characters and plots rather than writing about them. I tend to visualize the entire book as episodes (like anime) first before I actually write the chapters.
What is your writing process?
Technically...I just answered that, didn't I? XD Oops!
Well, like I said, I prefer to daydream all the concepts first. Well...let me start from the beginning...
Ideas for new stories tend to come from thin air. I see something interesting or notice an interesting characteristic in a person, and an idea is born. From there, the idea sits, rising like bread. Eventually, the idea grows and grows until it becomes a story. From there, I enjoy daydreaming. I'll think about the story a lot--mostly the characters--wherever I go: when I'm driving, when I'm walking outside, when I'm eating...
And thus, the complexity arises! And, once I visualize all the individual chapters as anime-esque episodes, I write down exactly what happened in each episode, and I set those descriptions aside for later...when I finally actually start to write the book!

A part of me will never start writing until I am familiar with all the characters in a very personal way. This familiarity is especially necessary when the book will be written in 1st person (which I use almost all the time).

And, as for revising...I love revising! It, contrary to popular belief, can only help the book improve. Still, that's not to say revising is painless for me... Most often, I tend to revise when the book is completely done. I still have an adamant belief that the first time through is the best time and shouldn't be changed. Rarely, I'll revise as I go. Or, if the chapter was written out first, I'll revise it slightly while typing it.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I just recall all those nights I would force my mom to read me every book I ever owned (which, I brag, my collection was more extensive than the nearest library's hoard) before I went to bed. I really loved books...haha.

And, it wasn't until just recently that I found a more in-depth fascination with books. I always hated Literature class, too, because I could never understand the whole "analysis" thing. I'm getting better at analyzing, though; but, I just started comprehending the concept a year or two ago. How sad for me! So, now I look back at all the books I was "forced" to read in school, and I realize just how great they really are.

Man, I never took anything involving books seriously, did I? What happened?!
How do you approach cover design?
I really don't know. I lack the artistic eye and the artistic skill (my stick figures even look sad). Most of the time, an idea for a cover hits me when I think about a possible cover for a specific book that I know a lot about. For example, the cover for "Subtle, Flowing Changes" is a tree bursting with full, autumn colors. The idea for the title and the cover both came from autumn because that season naturally has "subtle changes." The cover for "ZCN & Friends" book one is very simplistic: just the I*V Star, the star on the flag for Imaginationville, against a white background. I guess I thought it would be easily recognizable. And the book is about Imaginationville, right?
I dunno. Not all my ideas for covers are that boring, and some of them even have the main character on the front. If I were able to use Photoshop, that would make a world of difference for me (XD).
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Hmmmm

1- Shugo Chara (all 12 of them)
Shugo Chara is a manga series (Japanese comics) about a girl who learns about herself through Guardian Characters or "Shugo Kyara." I love this series because I love the story and the characters; I also love manga... Plus, these books found me when I was just starting to write, so they helped inspire me.

2- Romeo & Juliet
Need I say more? I admit that there is a charm about Shakespeare (I also love Hamlet) and learning to understand his unique language. The story is really great, too.

3- Fahrenheit 451 (I probably spelled it wrong)
He taught me what sci-fi is! I'll go into explanation for my whole "sci-fi side" some other day. This book just fascinates me a lot... I also connect with Clarisse McClellan; she's one of those "fascinating personas" I always talk about. Plus, I kinda borrowed her character for a book of mine...

4- Walden
I have to put Thoreau in here (to amuse my mom; she also loves F. Scott Fitzgerald. I'm jealous of his vocab). I am a nature girl, so I like the story of Walden. I'd actually like to try that someday...go out somewhere remote, build a cabin, live like the olden days...

5- Flowers for Algernon
I have to put this in here even though it's not a favorite, per se. I remember liking this book when I was in 8th grade (and trust me, just the fact that I remember it from 8th grade astonishes me; it must be important!). I am obsessed with geniuses (I wish I were one), and I love the idea of showing progressive advancing/decline in a journalistic way. Plus, I even loved the Rugrats episode that alluded to this, soo...It must mean a lot to me (XD). Plus, one of my favorite books I've written somewhat follows that structure, too. Sheesh. I saved the best for last, I guess.
Describe your desk
Ah, my desk! I purposefully sought my own antique secretary desk to write on; I love antiques and old things (dying arts...), so I was sure a writer's desk would fit me. I happened to find one at an antique store one day. I knew it was the perfect one! So, I bought it, and it currently sits in my room.
The secretary desk (it might be from the 1930s or something; I don't remember) is taller than I am (about 6 feet), and it holds a 3-shelf bookcase, 4 drawers, and one large writing surface. Naturally, all the drawers are full of notebooks and paper. The shelves hold some notebooks and some regular books I am currently reading. I also decorated the shelves with things I like: maple syrup bottles, a mini bust of Tchaikovsky, a mouse figurine, a mini Eiffel Tower, antique postcards, etc. I change the design and layout of stuff in the shelves whenever I get bored of looking at it. After polishing the mahogany wood, the desk looks great. I love my desk!
(the writing surface inside is horribly disorganized, but the cover closes, so I can never see it. Everything I can see has to be meticulously organized or else I go crazy)
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in the miniscule town of Earlville, IL. Look it up, kids. It's there...somewhere.
Let's just say that town inspired a lot of the scenes and areas shown in ZCN...
But, the real focus was my childhood home. I loved that house. It was an old house (not a Victorian, as everyone says; I forget the name...). It was stately and white with a lovely backyard that grew freely as a prairie. It had a basement and an attic and two floors of rooms. My room was on the second floor, and it overlooked the backyard.
Honestly, I don't think the place influenced me as much as my views of the world and my experiences did. I just love to reminisce~
What's the story behind your latest book?
Hmmmmm...Should I include this in the special section in the back of the book?

Well, here goes.
In the horrendous year of 2011 (which I shall not discuss), I woke one day to drive to high school. While I entered my car to depart, I opened my phone to tell my mom I was "on my way," when, suddenly, I read the following message: "Thanks for everything." That's all it took--a stream of words, like a narrative read aloud, took over my mind. It was Cera! And that was chapter 2 of "Subtle, Flowing Changes." Yes, it literally came from thin air.

The night before the story came from thin air, I pondered whether to change my initial idea that was "Subtle, Flowing Changes" (it was originally an anime about the mountain, and Mariah was a superhero or something); I guess the idea itself answered my question (XD). I honestly don't remember where the stupid, original idea came from (probably thin air), but I'll never forget the actual one's appearance!

Cera visited me a few more days after that and "read me" all the chapters verbatim up until chapter 10, where I was left in the dark to take over. I hope I did her well... I like the way the book looks (especially the ending) thus far.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Honestly, I just thought no publisher would accept my "off-the-wall" and boring books, so I decided to try on my own. Well, that's only half the story. I began this step with the idea that it will get my foot in the door in case I ever want to publish print books. I also like to do things myself (covers, editing, etc).
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Characters!
Also, I love it when people tell me that my writing has consoled them or connected with them in a way. It makes me happy. I like to know that I'm helping others through writing.
After all, we are all dramatic characters in our own novels...
Published 2013-10-09.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Heart has Always Known
Price: $2.95 USD. Words: 4,190. Language: English. Published: December 6, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Stories in Verse, Fiction » Inspirational
A short book written in verse detailing the longings of Lillia to understand the world around her and to be able to understand this thing her idol calls "Romance." (About Romantic concepts and the feelings of the heart and dreams) A surreal book, one can only grasp its meaning by feelings. Includes a short description and segment from the author. (This is the way I really am, kids)
The Fancy Ladies' Club (#1)
Price: $1.95 USD. Words: 11,830. Language: English. Published: December 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Readers / Chapter Books, Fiction » Children’s books » Imagination & Play
(5.00 from 1 review)
Book one of the Fancy Ladies' Club series of chapter books for advanced readers. Catherine, soon to be in 5th grade, is a curious girl who is always looking for more opportunities to learn. Wanting to read her author dad's novels, she decides to become a fancy lady! But just what does it mean to be a fancy lady from ages passed?
Something
Price: Free! Words: 1,020. Language: English. Published: November 30, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary
A short story about the significance of something...even if it means nothing to someone else. Another no-price short story installment! Thanks for all the reads and downloads once again! The title of this story is a tentative title.
The Adventures of Maryan
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 8,770. Language: English. Published: July 27, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Short Stories, Fiction » Children’s books » Imagination & Play
Join Maryan, an energetic 6-year-old girl, on her daily adventures! Let's go catch butterflies, build with blocks, go to the zoo, and learn new things each day! Includes a special fun project for you and your kids to enjoy! *Edit: Thanks for the 100 reads and downloads! If we can hit 250, I will publish another Maryan book with additional projects and specials!
The Story Continues...
Price: Free! Words: 2,340. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Spiritual & metaphysical
"The Story Continues" is a cute little collection of micro stories that do not have a formal ending. This book of three stories counts as the next free short story installment to follow the success of "The Soul of an Author." Thanks for reading!
The Soul of an Author
Price: Free! Words: 2,480. Language: English. Published: February 20, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Literary, Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays
(5.00 from 1 review)
Thoughts of what it means to be an author. (This free story is for you! Thanks for reading my stories!) This short story was reviewed by the Worldwide Independent Fiction Writers' Association (WIFWA), of which I am now a member. Please check out their website and submit your manuscripts for review! Please spread the word! http://www.wifwa.org/
Subtle, Flowing Changes
Series: SFC Trilogy, Book 1. Price: $2.95 USD. Words: 43,350. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Literary
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
Cera Brandenburg, a junior in high school, hates changes more than anything else. So, naturally, once she and her parents move to the city, Cera is filled with nothing but dread. She can't stand public school, and she's constantly bothered by a bubbly girl named Mariah who wants to be her best friend. ~CRK's debut novel about learning to deal with life's changes. First book in the SFC Trilogy.
A Halloween Tale
Price: Free! Words: 2,270. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Short Stories
I've always loved my cottage in the forest. One day, I get a visit from some twins after I make brownies. All the sudden, a talking wolf comes by, too! Could those stories my mom told me when I was little about the cottage being next to a fairy tale forest be true? A nice short story for kids on Halloween
Poetic Thought Sequences
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 8,000. Language: English. Published: October 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Poetry » Themes & motifs
A collection of poems and ideas that I have written cathartically. Poetic Thought Sequences (PTS): Heavily emotional, thought-oriented, lyrical “poems” (or stories) often written in stream-of-consciousness style. PTS are sudden effusions (bursts of emotion) and are my form of catharsis. Most often, they hide poetic meanings—hence the name
Flicker
Price: Free! Words: 3,110. Language: English. Published: May 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Children’s books » Short Stories
(5.00 from 1 review)
*Thanks for 100 downloads, everyone! It means a lot to me* (A short story) The small village of Fruit has lived a peaceful existence until some rumors about creepy shadow creatures begin tearing them apart. Kaarina, 14-year-old girl in the village, has decided to stop this madness once and for all, but she can't believe what she finds. (includes info on the author)