When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I like to read stories and listen to music for more information. Reading has been my passion ever since the field trip I took to a library when I was seven years old. Music is my second passion. I don't do anything professionally or for fun, I just like listening to all different kinds of songs and artists and bands. Their songs are what give me the title or the plot to most of my stories. So, those two keep me working on my stories even when I'm not writing them.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I don't really read ebooks, because I don't really like them. I prefer to have the book IN my hands and have me turning each page and all of that. ebooks kind of just take away that special moment of actually having the book in my hands and looking through it for that special eye catching thing that captures you right from the beginning, but that's just my opinion.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I actually do. I believe I was...seven or six years old. OK so, I don't REALLY like comparing myself to Stephanie Myer - because some people like her and some people don't and I don't want people liking or disliking me based on the fact that I can compare our inspirations to write - but I really can't see myself having ever becoming a writer without her.
She's not my role model or anything, no, far from it actually, but the thing is I remember reading somewhere that the idea for Twilight came from a DREAM she had.
Basically, I - well, I wouldn't say I started WRITING - but the IDEA to WANT to write came from a dream I had. It was a love story a well between two best friends who were very close but had secret feelings for each other that everyone but themselves could see.
I didn't want to forget the dream. I really didn't; I loved it that much. So, I decided to write it down - not exactly in a story format, but for some reason I wanted it to be like a PLAY. Who knows why, I was seven, I was a wacky kid, that's all I can offer as an explanation.
What is your writing process?
Basically, I'll have this idea about one of the characters or what's going to happen in the MIDDLE of the plot, but the beginning will be a TOTAL blank and the characters' names, the title, everything else will be nonexistent. But, if it's an idea that I REALLY can't get out of my head, well, then all that stuff is going to have come from SOMEWHERE. Usually, I'll have the idea for the ending WAY before I even know how the story's going to BEGIN.
It's crazy. And usually, I'll get the title from a song that's related to the story and the character names will ALWAYS be something unique and unheard of. I have a pretty common name - my real name is heard everywhere - so I don't want my characters just being another 'Joe' or 'Emily', they should be like capitalized, hyphenated, bunched up names that you just don't hear about these days. They're the more interesting people and I don't ever want my characters to bore anyone.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I've grown up in New York - not New York City as most people get confused by - and it wasn't really the PLACE I grew up that had an impact me, it was more of the PEOPLE I've grown up near. I've had to deal with bullies, ignorant teachers, judgmental parents and they've made this HUGE impact on me where I have PLEASURE giving pain to my characters. I feel like if they go through what I go through on a daily basis, they'll never leave me. We'd be a joint person and we'd support each other; I didn't have anyone else and they COULDN'T have anyone else until I SAID so. In a way, I was like the God of my characters and I treated them as harshly as I had been treated.
The people who've read my stories where my characters are bullied, and tortured, hated, discriminated against, murdered emotionally, all think that I've done an amazing job describing their lives and their personalities, but what they don't know is that all along I've been describing my OWN self and personality.
There were some POSITIVE effects too, like falling in love, of course, and that happened when I returned back to my hometown and from that my stories took a new turn and my characters starting being loved and cared for and wanted just like I had been.
So, a lot of things influence my writing, not just location.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I guess it would be that KNOWING that people take pleasure in my stories and they can connect to the characters, and FEEL what they feel. Basically, if they're in their seats, enjoying my writing, and experiencing all these crazy emotions - happiness, sad, anger, frustration, being in love with a character, rooting for a relationship, hating one of the mean characters - that makes me SO happy.
It's not really all the likes and the comments that make me happy - OK yeah, fine, sometimes - but most of the time, it's the HOPE that my stories give to other people. Like I've said, in my stories, the main characters go through A LOT - from friends, to school teachers, and sometimes even their own family members are their enemies - and my stories cover a lot of topics from self harm to self image. There's a lot of people out there going through similar things, so when I see that someone who's going through something one of my characters is as well, I like to think that the GROWTH the character makes throughout the whole book and to the ending helps persuade the readers to do and act the same way.
What do your fans mean to you?
It means that someone out there is actually enjoying what I spend all this time and energy on. It means that someone out there cares about what I post online and anticipate for it, and get impatient when I take too long sometimes, but still wait and will continue to wait until they get to read the next update. It means that I'm loved along with my stories and that means THE WORLD to me; absolutely NOTHING could compare to that.
What are you working on next?
Mostly I've worked on stories where the main characters are in high school and are school students battling with grades, family, and crushes. Now I want to move past my safety zone and get into the more serious stuff when the kids are out on their own and have to do everything by themselves. And maybe I'll learn a few things from them as well - since I'll be out of high school in less than fifteen months.
How do you approach cover design?
I like the cover to be close enough looking to the title and plot of the story it's attached to, because sometimes I feel like if the title's confusing, the cover shouldn't be and if the title if sensible enough, the cover should have a hint of mysteriousness to it. So, I guess it depends on what Google Images has to offer me. Sometimes, I even let my fans pick the cover FOR me; since they are going to be the ones reading the book, why not get their opinion on SOMETHING related to it?
Would you rather have your book turned into a film or a tv series?
I think a film would be better for me, because I'm not too interested in the tv series where everything gets all twisted and mixed up and everything changes over a period of a week. I rather have just a few more minor changes occurring than the whole thing being morphed into something completely different.
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