Author Interview: Mary Weber

Pen Friends: Welcome Mary Weber, author of the wildly popular Storm Siren Trilogy, as she shares her writing journey with us. Talk about encouraging, charming, and instructive!


SP: Can you tell us a bit of who you are and when you started writing?

Hi! Yes, let’s see…I was born and raised in California by parents who’ve been pastoring the same church for 40+ years (and are legitimately the coolest people I know). My husband and I have been married for 18 of those years and have three kids (ages 16, 14, & 10). I write books (obviously). I like homemade honey lattes, Sherlock, The Last Airbender, laughter, rain, and sushi, and I work part time as a youth pastor. Annnnd now I feel like I just filled out a dating profile. Nice. 😉 Continue reading

How to Build Beautiful and Realistic Worlds


In this continuation about world building, I wanted to focus in on a few specifics, as well as the ways in which getting down to the details can actually lead you into a deeper story – both for the sake of your readers’ experience ,and how it can affect your plot, character development So here’s a few suggestions, just to get your imagination rolling. Continue reading

Author Interview: Andrew Peterson


Pen Friends – Welcome Andrew Peterson! Come hear his take on writing, world building, and his journey in creating his epic series, The Wingfeather Saga, (which we cannot recommend enough).

SP: Can you tell us a bit of who you are and when you started writing?

Hello! I’m a father and a husband from Nashville. I started writing books about ten years ago, but as a touring singer/songwriter for about twenty years, stories have long been at the center of what I do. Ever since I was a kid I was into movies and music and drawing and books, and for a whole bunch of reasons my guitar was the horse that finally bore me out of town. I moved to Nashville right after college, signed a record deal, and have been doing music ever since. But the kinds of songs I love, and the kind I try to write, have always been the kind that have stories at their heart, partly because I’m a big reader, have always loved books, and never abandoned the dream of someday writing novels. About ten years ago, after reading the Narnia books to my kids, I decided it was time to stop messing around. Continue reading

Advanced World Building Tips

world-building-101If you’re anything like me, then you’ll know that the closer you get to a story the harder it is to objectively question it. You’ve spent so much time there and it works so well in your brain that it’s hard to take that mental step back and look for problems.

I’ve already talked about the importance of stress testing a world (see my first article on world building) but we haven’t covered the best ways to start questioning your world and finding the breaking points. Continue reading

Appreciating Culture


Did you know that today is Chinese New Year’s?[1]

Growing up, even half-Chinese, I wasn’t aware that anyone went by a different calendar[2], or that there were holidays Americans didn’t observe, or vice versa. That’s pretty typical for children, of course. You don’t really start looking outside your own world until you’re a teenager – if even then. My first foray into a culture totally different from my own opened up my world figuratively – in drawing my imagination, and literally – I’m living overseas (and loving it).

But what helps people to greet such differences with interest rather than fear? Continue reading

Tricks to Selecting the Perfect Story Ideas


Some people call it a muse, while others say they get their inspiration from everyday things: people or events that catch their imagination in just the right way. Sometimes it’s something as simple as reading a story that ends differently than you’d wanted it to, sparking your imagination into how it should have gone, if the pen was in your hand[i].

Wherever your story idea emerges from, the next (and sometimes worst) part can be determining if the idea is worth keeping. I don’t mean jotting down a note to yourself about an idea – that’s never a waste of time.

Continue reading