When you’re writing, who’s in control, you or the characters?
Definitely the characters. As I go about writing, the most important thing for me is to create characters who I can connect with and understand, and allow them to lead the way. There have been many times where I was writing and suddenly I act on impulse (or perhaps I should say the character’simpulse) and the entire story takes an exciting twist with barely a minute’s notice, and that can become the defining moment of a story.
–Can you share a little bit about what you’re working on now or what’s coming next?
As some of you might already know, right now I have one book published, an action adventure novel called Pintus, which is available on Amazon.com and Createspace.com, as well as eight local stores in Boone, North Carolina, including Black Bear Books and Boone Drug. My next project is a novel extraordinarily different then my action packed previous one. It’s called Healing Eruption. Healing Eruption is the story of a girl named Addison Greene, who when stripped of her previous abusive family is brought into the home of a loving woman named Susan and struggles to form a new life. I feel like Healing Eruption is not only about her recovery, however, and her journey over the barriers preventing her from doing so, but about friendship, and the triumph of the human spirit. My family is very involved with the foster program, which is a program that helps children in difficult situations, and though I am young I feel that I know the reality of the situations so many kids my age are faced with, and I found it unbelievably refreshing to be able to write something like this in honor of them.The publishing date for Healing Eruption is September 2nd.
Promotion is a big—and usually the most hated—part of being a writer. Can you share a little bit about how you promote?
Promotion can be the most difficult and one of the most rewarding areas of being a writer. Being only thirteen years old, I have found promotion to be an extremely helpful way to get my work out there. I am big into social media, including my own website and blog: www.kelseydaymarlett.com, a Facebook account which I can use to connect with fans, a twitter, advertising my books at the book stores, etc.
–What do you consider the single most satisfying aspect of being a writer?
Without a doubt, it would have to be the responses from readers and fans. It is unbelievably rewarding to receive an email from a young reader or an aspiring writer congratulating me, or better yet, ranting about the novel. It just fills me with an incredible sense of joy, of accomplishment, which belongs to me at that moment and which I will take forward from that moment on to keep safely in my heart. It is truly the most rewarding feeling in being a writer.
Where do you find inspiration for your writing?
I believe that inspiration is an extremely complicated concept. On one hand, you don’t want to necessarily sit on the edge of a mountain, gazing into the sunset and wait for “Inspiration” to strike you. If you wait for this magical idea called Inspiration that so many people think will somehow empower you to write an entire novel, then you may be waiting your entire life. For me, inspiration is not something which attacks suddenly, like a slice of sizzling lightning or a crashing wave on the shore, but an idea, however small or seemingly insignificant, which will grow into what we may be capable of labeling as Inspiration.
–What are major themes or motifs in your work? Do your readers ever surprise you by seeing something else in your stories than you think you wrote?
I think that one major theme which will appear in each and every piece I write is the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. It is an evident quality in Pintus, and soon I think the readers will discover it within Healing Eruption as well.
–What are your thoughts on the standard writing advice, “write what you know”?
I have very mixed emotions about the “write what you know” advice. I’ve heard it countless times, and I have to say that in many occasions, I completely agree with it. For example, were I to ever write a novel that takes place in a different culture, I would absolutely have to know what I was talking about so that the cultural side of the story was accurate. However, I feel that in terms of characters, the emotions of the characters, and the experiences of the characters (especially the most extreme of them) if you have a sense of your character, if you know who they are, if you understand them, then I feel that that writing advice becomes invalid. If you know your character well enough, then you don’t necessarily have to have been in their situation. You just have to be able to appreciate their emotions and express them in a way which the readers can relate to. For example, I actually wrote a short story for the Thingummywut literary magazine a couple months ago about a teenage boy who suffered from a terrible past as well as extreme self abuse (which is not directly stated but can be implied by the character’s emotions and appearance – don’t worry, nothing at all gory), and although I have never gone through anything like this, I was capable of releasing an entire short story which eventually won the contest. For the full short story, you can visit my website: www.kelseydaymarlett.com.
–Did the classics have any effect on you in your formative years? (Shakespeare? Alice in Wonderland? Gulliver’s Travels?)
A while back I drove by an unbelievably talented and well-known author named Mark Helprin’s house with my grandmother. One copy of Pintus rested on my lap, the most perfectly crisp and untouched one that I could find. Atop it waited a clean white envelope, which held within it my request for him to read my novel, telling him about my love to write and my unusually young age as an author. I gulped, glanced at my grandmother to regain a sense of poise, and lowered my window. Seconds later the book was safely dropped off and we were driving back home. Later that evening, I received an email. When I realized it was from Mark Helprin, I nearly had a heart attack. Mark Helprin is the author of the award winning novel, Swan Lake, and I absolutely LOVE his work. Therefore, when his first advice was to read and analyze the classics, I plunged headfirst into the world of the classics, beginning with the icy worlds of Jack London and eventually working my way past Tom Sawyer and all the way to Catcher in the Rye. My grandparents have been incredibly helpful in that area, selecting books to have me read, encouraging me, and urging me to continue reading them. And I have.
–Have you bought an e-reader? What is your overall impression of electronic publishing?
I believe that electronic publishing is the future of the publishing business. Although I personally much prefer the feel of a real, solid book and to be able to physically flip the pages, I feel that the world of electronic publishing is an area which is filled with a countless multitude of opportunities and possibilities, an area that can’t be ignored.
–How do your characters “come” to you? Are they based loosely or closely on people you know?
Whether I realize it or not at the time, all of my characters come from someone in my life, or a subconscious fear that comes to life in my writing. Although Pintus does have some characters very loosely based on people I know or knew in real life, I think that Healing Eruption has a much closer and detailed origin which can be traced back to people I know and who have influenced my life. I’m unbelievably lucky enough to have a group of extraordinarily supportive friends who make for a perfect idea to strive for when I’m trying to create a fascinating, unusual character, and that truly came to light in my upcoming novel.
–Are you in a critique or writing group? If so, how does it work and specifically how do the members help your writing?
I am part of a library writing group called Working Title, which is a great group of teen writers who get together once a month to write, exchange ideas, and read work. It has been a very special experience for me, especially since I have been receiving soo much help from the other writers there. I have been introduced to the idea of writing with more than one person by my friend, Mac Waters, and I am always able to exchange ideas and gain support by teenage novelist, Kya Aliana.
–Why do you write?
Why do I write? Because I love it. I love being able to express myself through novels, I love having the ability to create an entire world at my fingertips . . . I love writing and everything that comes with it.