In a heart-to-heart with BUZZ Magazine this Young Adult novelist spills the tea!
Hello Eric, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me. 😃
First things first: how did you take up writing?
Some of my earliest memories are of writing stories for fun, so I don’t really recall how it started.
What was your very first attempt at creative writing?
I wrote a one-page story when I was six years old, about an orange in a grocery store, wanting to be bought; and it was, by a harried mother with lots of unruly kids. It didn’t end well for the orange.
Where did you get the ideas for your stories?
Everything I’ve written has been triggered by something different, so I can’t really say where my ideas come from generally. I think about writing probably 80% of my waking time, and when you think about something that much, you churn through a lot of ideas and can write down the ones you like most.
For Not If I See You First, I wanted to write about having trouble connecting with new people and getting close to them. I tried to think of a way to make that particularly difficult, and I realized how hard I would find it personally if I couldn’t see people’s expressions and body language. So I decided to write about someone who couldn’t see and how this affected their personal relationships.
What prompted you to write A Tragic Kind of Wonderful?
For A Tragic Kind Of Wonderful, I wanted to write closer to my own experience, so I drew on a number of mental health issues I have personally — depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorder — to connect these elements with the value of living authentically, which meant in this case to not hide one’s true self from friends and loved ones, to trust them to accept and love you for who you are.
Are any of your characters based on people you know or are they purely a figment of your imagination?
I deliberately avoid basing anything I write on real people or events. When I write about a character, I have a full concept of them in my mind like a real person, and it would be too distracting to also have in my head the living person they were based on, arguing over what they would do or say.
Do you have particular schedules or writing routines when it comes to your work?
I write most days, and always in the morning into the afternoon. Never in the evening or at night. It’s just how my mind works.
If your story got turned into a movie, who would you like to see star as leads?
Before I wrote the first word of Not If I See You First, I realized it would probably never be adapted to film since it was written from the point of view of someone who was blind. Many elements of the story are designed around the protagonist, and the reader, lacking information that would be hard to hide in a movie. If someone were to figure out how to do it, I’d leave the casting to them, but my preference would be to cast it with talented unknowns.
What are your future plans for writing? Can you give out a teaser or two for your readers?
I’m always working on something new, but it takes time, and things don’t always go where I think they will. If I said anything now, it might not be true in a few months. We’ll see when we see.
Do have any particular authors who inspire your work?
I’m more inspired by particular books than by certain authors generally. I also find inspiration in non-fiction books, movies, plays, etc. But I generally credit reading Gail Carson Levine’s book Ella Enchanted with kicking me in the direction of writing Young Adult novels.
What would your advice be to aspiring authors?
I believe writers can aspire to get published, but I don’t believe people can aspire to write. If you want to write, you write. If you’re not writing, you maybe like the idea of being an author but don’t really want to write. But if you’re writing, and want to be published, then keep writing, and read what others write. The more you do, the better your writing will get. If you give up, that probably means you didn’t really want to do it, or you still would be.
If there was a book you could turn into a movie, what would it be and why?
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book and wished it would get turned into a movie. Making a movie out of a book means leaving most of the book out, and writing a book based on a movie means adding a lot that didn’t need to be there. It’s true that I have loved movies that were adapted from books, and sometimes I’ve enjoyed reading novelizations, but I mostly enjoy books and movies created from scratch, completely tailored to the medium they are intended for.
Thank you once again for talking me. I wish you all the best with your current work and future works.
I’m always happy to talk about writing. Thank you for reaching out.