Pen Friends, today we have an unpublished Young Adult Fantasy novelist writing us from Alaska.
SP: Who are you?
Hello! My name is Rebecca Henry. I grew up in Southern California, with a lot of sisters and a big backyard, perfect for acting out the stories we made up! I began writing down my stories soon after I discovered my older sister had her own writing journal. When I turned six and the question was put before me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I answered with conviction, “A teacher, mom and writer.” Through the unpredictability of a child, teen and college student, those three remained constant and describe who I am now.
SP: What do you write?
I love to read and write MG/YA fantasy fiction, and anything for children!
SP: What are you working on now?
I am always sifting through new ideas and adding extra details to old manuscripts, but my main project right now is SPEAK, a Young Adult Fantasy Fiction.
Blurb: Edith does not believe the legendary stories she grew up hearing her father tell. But when he is taken hostage, Edith naively takes it upon herself to rescue him, traveling blindly in a foreign land, braving the wrath of an evil king, and deliberating truth from lies. Through a series of adventures and misfortunes, including stealing from a king, meeting mythical creatures, outrunning ogres, sailing the sea, and confronting decades of hate on the battlefield, her understanding of the world, her family, and herself, vividly transforms as she discovers reconciliation, persuasion and love.
SP: Best writing scenario?
The “Write” Setting: I cozy up with my computer and a bowl of popcorn to sneak some words in when my adventurous boys are finally sleeping and the world is quiet. This way, I can hear my characters as they make their way from my mind to my fingertips and on to the page.
SP: What is your writing tip for us?
Rejection is Good! After finishing my first draft, I took a crazed leap out to search for an agent and/or publisher and I was struck down, and kicked into the dirt, rather quickly. Although I was disheartened when an agent bluntly told me the beginning was boring and I turned my back on my book for almost a year, in hindsight, I thank her. When I could finally dust off my self-pity, I attacked my manuscript with a new rigor and am much more confident in the changes I made (and still making!). Yes, I have a TON of revisions to work on, but, each time I read through my novel and paint a scene a bit clearer or scrub out a mess of words, the characters and their stories shine through. I am awaiting constructive feedback from several readers, searching for a couple more Beta Readers, and working through an at-home workshop to Revise My Novel in 31 Days with Janice Hardy through her blog Fiction University. While I am exhausted at debating each written word, I am excited at how this will change my novel for the better! This workshop has already inspired new threads to weave into my plot tapestry.
Take a Break! When the going gets rough, I allow myself to take a step back, closing my manuscript for several weeks, or even months. Although it is not time efficient, I am able to renew my efforts with open eyes, without the details and backstory shouting me down, and write a clearer picture. Readers will not have my ideas floating in the back of their minds as I do, unless I built it for them with the words I write on the page.
We are all storytellers, but it is the hard work of writing, editing and revising that makes us authors!
SP: Where can we learn more about you? Read your work?
If you want to follow me along this twisted and uneven road of dreams, hopefully becoming tangible reality, I keep a blog at http://moosenaroundak.blogspot.com/. This blog includes many of the aspects of the three roles (teacher, mother and writer) my life has taken on, with delicious side notes of parties and baked goodies! You need to eat between writing, editing and revisions!
SP: Thanks Rebecca! Good Luck!