author of The Weight of Worlds, out October 23, 2018
Author, I Never is a new segment in which I interview fellow authors about the writing process, breaking into the industry, and breaking rules. I try to mix it up a little and ask some hopefully novel questions along with some of the old standards, and finish it up with a round of I Never (kid friendly version) to find out what cardinal writing rules we've broken.
Question the first: Laura, when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
So, I read a TON of Lucy Maud Montgomery books as a kid. Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon were very much my bosom friends. Anne and Emily both have very vivid imaginations (as I did and still do) and both of them loved to write. Writing as a hobby never occurred to me until one fateful recess period in 4th grade, when I was struck by a bolt of inspiration out of the blue. Thanks to Anne and Emily, I knew exactly what to do and jotted down a terrible poem about the wind.
Fortunately I've learned since then that poetry is NOT my forte and I should stick to prose, but that's when the writing bug really bit.
Sigh. I love Anne in all of her incarnations. Question the second: What has been your proudest or most exciting moment as an author so far?
Definitely my book going to auction. It's the thing you tell yourself will never happen to you, so I was mildly panic-stricken when it did indeed happen to me, but it was still amazing.
Question the third: At what point did you think to yourself "I've made it" or at what point do you think you'll feel that way?
I am a gigantic perfectionist about my work, so I highly doubt I'll ever get to that point. I always know there's more I could be doing, whether it be in relation to craft-level stuff, or marketing.
I know the feeling. Question the fourth: Did any experienced authors or industry people mentor or give you helpful guidance on your journey to publication?
YES, I'm so glad you asked this question so I can flail about the amazing Sarah Glenn Marsh. Sarah is the author of FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP and the REIGN OF THE FALLEN duology. Back when I was first considering throwing my hat into the querying ring, I started out by entering Pitch Wars. Sarah was a mentor the year I entered, and while she ultimately ended up choosing a different mentee, she still provided me with a full set of notes on my MS. Sarah also got me started with an amazing list of agents to consider querying. She was my sounding board and go-to girl for advice as I queried, and I'm completely indebted to her for the generous help she provided.
Question the fifth: Have you ever had a time when you've felt like giving up?
Honestly, no. For me, writing has always been a form of therapy and catharsis--even before I considered pursuing publication. I've been doing it for so long, and I knew going into the querying process that even if nothing happened, I'd keep writing just for the joy of it.
Question the sixth: What was the most inconvenient time or place you were struck by inspiration?
Remember my story about the recess-time poem writing in question 1? I wrote it on the side of my puddle boot with a stub of dull pencil. That was the day I learned to carry paper and a writing utensil with me wherever I go. Now of course, I have a smartphone and can very easily jot ideas down in my notes on there. Technology is a beautiful thing!
I love the boot story, though! Very resourceful. Question the seventh: Can you give us hint to help us find an "easter egg" or hidden item to look for in one of your books? Maybe an obscure clue if there's a mystery thread, or a reference you threw in to a favorite book or song?
I love this question, because my debut, THE WEIGHT OF WORLDS, was strongly inspired by the Narnia books. So there are lots of little direct and indirect Narnia references. As well, one of the characters often uses poetry when her own words fail her, and on two occasions misquotes poems. But she never does so unintentionally--there's definitely a reason she did so, and something she's trying to say.
Oh, I LOVE that. I'll definitely be sitting there, trying to decipher the poetic clues. Okay. It's time for the...
I Never Round
The basic rules of I Never, the kid friendly version- I state a generally established writing rule (or at least a norm). If you've broken that rule, state your guilt for the record.
I never made up a word in my manuscript, and stood by it during copyediting.
I'm a fantasy writer, so I do this all the time ;) Beyond that, though, I think language is fluid and the number of expressions that can be tracked back to the work of Shakespeare and Chaucer are shocking, so if I want to make up a word, I'm darn well going to make up a word!
Exactly! I mean, as interviewer, I remain neutral. I never had an amazing idea right before bed, and decided sleep was more important.
I have small kids. And I really like sleep. And my idea bank is not lacking. That's all I'm going to say.
I never started a story with a character waking up, looking in the mirror, or in a bathtub.
Nope! The bathtub, though? Really? Is that a thing???
I thought it was? The "bathtub scene" convention? The writing problem being one character confined to a space by himself with limited opportunity for much to really happen? I might have completely made it up. I never worked on two manuscripts at once.
I'm almost always working on two manuscripts at once, just in different developmental stages. Plus once you sign that contract, there's basically no avoiding it! But I don't draft two manuscripts at once. If I did, I know I'd abandon one of them, because drafting is terrible and evil.
I never went several days or even weeks without writing.
I haaaaaaaaaate and loathe the "write every day" advice. Whatever, fulltime writer men who trot this little tidbit out. When you do any sort of labor besides writing, whether it be another job, caregiving, or emotional labor, days off to recharge are essential. You will not last long unless you take care of yourself.
Agreed. I never wrote "for a long moment."
HAHAHAHAHA I just did a search of WORLDS, which I'm currently editing, and the phrase "for a long moment" appears 3 times. Earth, open and swallow me!
I never cheated during NaNoWriMo.
No, I reveled in my failure.
Refreshing! Thank you so much for appearing in Author, I Never! When and where can we look for, preorder, or buy your next or most recent book, and where can we follow you on social media?
You can add THE WEIGHT OF WORLDS on Goodreads, here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34842042
I am nothing if not consistently branded, so you can find my online home here: www.lauraeweymouth.com
And you can follow me on...
and Facebook: www.facebook.com/lauraeweymouth
Bonus question: If The Weight of Worlds had a theme song, what would it be?
OLD DAYS by Ingrid Michaelson is a song I've listened to consistently throughout the writing process for THE WEIGHT OF WORLDS. It's pretty much a perfect fit, lyrics-wise, and also just really beautiful to listen to.
DJ Spotify, what can you do about this?