Interview with Grace O'Hare

What are you working on next?
Right now I'm writing The Moth and the Bear book II. I'm in the late planning/early draft stage and it doesn't have a title yet. My goal is to have a rough draft completed by the end of the summer and a book ready for publishing by Christmas.
Who are your favorite authors?
I always think of Jack London first, but truth be told I don't have a favorite author. I don't think I'll ever read enough books to say for sure who my favorites are, because there will always be someone I've never read. That being said, as far as inspirations go, I really do like Jack London, K.A. Applegate, Nancy Farmer, Richard Adams, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Patricia C. Wrede. There are many more but I've got a pathetic memory.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My other half and also coffee.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I'm not in the right mindset for writing, I try to draw instead. I do this while listening to either music, podcasts, or YouTube. Sometimes I'm not in the right mindset for drawing either, and that's when I fall hard into Tumblr. As far as fun activities go, I like going on hikes, working on my camper van, watching movies with my love on the couch and pausing every 5 seconds to give a critique (he's exceptionally patient), tending to my variety of plant children, and reading. Usually if I'm going to read a book it will be something that completely consumes me until I finish it, so I rarely read books when I have a long-term project I need to be working on.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
More than likely no, I don't, because I've been "writing" stories since before I could actually write words, but I do remember a story I wrote in 3rd grade over the course of the school year in the form of illustrated journal entries. It was about my friends and I being transported to a magical underground fantasy world by falling through a hole. We were attacked by flying evil hair clip monsters. Somehow we escaped them on a giant catlike kangaroo thing until it got into an aerial fight with another giant catlike kangaroo thing. At some point my friend made a gps tracker for a small friendly animal using a poptart wrapper in the hopes that we could follow it back home, but instead it led us to an apple tree that granted us superpowers. Pretty thrilling stuff.
What is your writing process?
It all starts with some vague, flowery ideas about characters or situations or interactions. I usually try to incorporate these bits and pieces into my already established world, and often this gives me good ideas for world building I hadn't considered before. If I'm intrigued by this stuff, I start doodling what the characters look like and perhaps some significant scenes. These might progress to full color illustrations if I really like them. From there I may illustrate short comics or work on more world building, but with most stuff I think of, this is as far as I go.
If I'm really drawn to the characters or story, I start writing my first scene ideas. These are usually pieces of dialogue and narration that I thought of early on and have been nagging me, or they might be a establishing scenes that describe a character or situation. I have a lot of these snippets of writing lying around waiting to be embellished on. Some stuff is more along the lines of an encyclopedia or guidebook if I'm more interested in the world building my idea brought on.
From there, if the story gets my hyperfocus gears turning, I will start a new document to map out the entire plot using bullet points. As I fiddle with this document and add things, I'll occasionally jump into the middle of something to write out an entire scene or description. Most of my stories are in this stage for many years, and ones I've dropped usually have at least this much done. If I get stuck or hung up on something, I like to talk it out to a friend or even just out loud to myself. Sometimes just blabbering about it is enough to get things going again.
My hyperfocus will burn out when all my original ideas have been jotted down and nothing else is coming. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by my own world building and have to take a break. Other times, I'll get an entirely new idea and I'll start over at the beginning with that. However it happens, I will inevitably stop working on The Thing and look for something new. This used to bother me a great deal, but these days I've come to accept it as part of my creative process. I'm doomed to be bored.
This is when I take a break to do some Consuming. I read a book, play a video game, or watch a series. I might doodle small things occasionally but I don't write. I might work on hobby projects like building my camper van or constructing a tiny log cabin. I buy plants. I try new recipes. If I'm unlucky this goes on too long and I start to spiral into The Void, but if I'm lucky, somewhere along the line while I'm doing something unrelated, I start to get more ideas.
These ideas might be entirely new, or they might relate to one of my old ideas in whatever stage of creation they're in. They might be world building ideas, characterization ideas, or plot bunnies. I start chasing my muse again in the same cycle I started with.
All of this will spiral around and around, cycling from the inception of an idea, to my eventual indifference, back to another related idea followed by more indifference, spinning around and around until the whole thing starts to gain so much momentum that it no longer allows me the luxury of being bored with it.
And then, suddenly, I write a book.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
If those "how to read" books count, then I guess the first story I ever read was "dog sits." I suppose the impact it had would be that I learned how to read. All sarcasm aside, my mom read to me from too young an age for me to remember, so I have no idea what book was first. My favorite, though, and the one I remember the best, was probably Stella Luna, a book about a baby fruit bat who is accidentally separated from her mother and raised by birds. I loved the expressive illustrations and the multilayered storytelling, with the miniature drawings at the bottom of each page showing the mother bat's quest to find her lost baby. The story itself left its mark as well, a lesson in the innate differences between characters being a source of both conflict and triumph.
Real good book. If you have a kid you should read it to them.
How do you approach cover design?
Draw a thing. Draw a different thing. Draw another thing. Hate all those things. Pick one of the things and try to make it less awful. Actually start to think thing is cool. Put text over that thing. Hate the thing again.
Repeat until I find something I don't hate too much. Inevitably regret it.
What do you read for pleasure?
My attention span has two settings: demure, accepting only small, dense pieces of fudge that can be taken in satisfying nibbles, or so ravenous that I will do absolutely nothing else but consume the one thing in front of me until it's been completely obliterated. So... most of my reading is done on blogs. I follow a lot of animal behavior and biology blogs, some psyche blogs, quite a few writers, artists, and creators. I used to read a lot of fiction on deviantArt, but I've gotten a bit bored with the tropes I find there. When I'm in the mood for a hearty meal that will knock me on my butt for days, that's when I turn to scifi and fantasy novels. I love anything to do with animals (as long as it's believable), especially things written from their perspective. I often return to the Warriors series when I want to be caught up in a world for awhile without having to explore a new one. I'm also a fan of robots, dragons, ancient civilizations, wilderness, and women protagonists. I have a shameful soft spot for cheesy romance in some dreadfully specific genres, and of all my interests that tend to leak into my own writing, this is the one that's likely most obvious.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Galaxy S6
Describe your desk
A tall, chunky thing bought cheaply at Office Depot, black and ruddy-brown, the sort of style that tries to look like real wood but falls short. It has a disproportionately large hutch absolutely covered in post it notes, trinkets, craft supplies, musical instruments, and plants. I have two monitors, one slightly smaller and dimmer than the other. Neither monitor's base is visible. One is hidden under a pile of tiny wooden craft sticks, the other under paper scraps. There's a tiny rubber T-rex crawling across a chunk of quartz and to be frank he's the best thing about the entire desk. He presides over such a huge assortment of miscellaneous objects it would take me all day to describe them all. The spot on the desktop where I put my coffee everyday is peeling and my keyboard is crowded on a pull-out next to my Wacom tablet.
At this moment, I have exactly three dirty dishes. I should probably take care of that...
Published 2017-06-07.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Moth and the Bear
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 58,070. Language: American English. Published: June 8, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General
The daughter of a blacksmith is kidnapped by creatures of legend, and her skills, courage, and ingenuity are put to the test as she struggles to understand her captors’ intentions and true nature.