Friday, October 12, 2012

Author Interview #4... Don't miss this one! :)

Okay, this was actually an interview I was planning on posting later. But I finished Mirriam Neal's book Monster at some unearthly hour last week, and... gahhhh.... What can I say?
I'm still a bit in reader-shock. 

Monster is, without a doubt, the best book I have read this year. You know how sometimes stories and your life just CLICK? That was Monster for me.
God has taught me so much this year, and as I read Monster over the summer and into the fall, I found that He kept on speaking to me through it, bringing things to my attention, and making me look at so much in new ways.

It's not a book for absolutely everyone... it's stark, violent, and I will warn you right now, it will SHRED your heart. Multiple times. If you don't mind said heart-shredding, though, and you like Christian fiction that is new, different, and completely AMAZING - read it. Pretty sure I have the story memorized, and yet I can hardly wait to read it again.

Which means I am quite absolutely thrilled to be able to annouce that Monster will be published sometime next year!!!

And I am super excited to be interviewing the author here! Thanks so much for stopping by, Mirriam!

Enjoy, everyone! :D

1.) How many books are you writing/at what stages are they? (When can I buy them... ;)
Oh, this is a tough one. If you're talking written books? I'm plotting my NaNo novel and working on another book called Acesso, about a suicidal rocker and a deaf girl and how they both come to help each other. And another I’ve been plotting is called “Sixty Percent Human.” It’s in the future, and it has cyborgs. *laughs* You can buy them as soon as...they're either published or self-published.

2.) Can you give a short summary of each of them?
'Unforget,' my NaNoWriMo book, is about a man whose memories were taken from him. Only ten percent remain, but he is determined to get them back. He's borderline insane and SO much fun to write I've fallen in love with him. 'Acesso' is about a guy named Vey who's an emo musical genius (and a hemophiliac) and Leila, a girl full of life but who falls into slumps because she's deaf thanks to a water accident three years ago. 

3.)How many words per month do you write, on average? 
Words per month? That's tough. Sometimes I'm too busy to write as much as I'd like to (not that I usually let that get in the way - I stay up late at night handwriting if I have to!) So I'd generally say probably about 20,000 words total a month in various works.

4.) What's the craziest thing you've ever done for story research?
The craziest thing? Go onto a torture forum. I was more or less scarred for life and received no help at all. *laughs out loud* It's a funny memory now, but man, then...then, it was a little bit painful. (See what I did there? Eheheheheh). That's one instance - I do crazy things for research all the time and now that you ask, that's the only one I can think of!!! Curse my forgetful brain!

5.) Do you find more inspiration from music, pictures, movies, or other books?  Is there something from one of those things in particular that has provided you with a lot of inspiration?
I can honestly say that they ALL inspire me, to one degree or another. It depends on what strikes me in what particular mood.
'Monster,' the novel I just finished, owes pretty much its entire existence to a.) God and b.) a music video by one of my favorite Korean bands, Big Bang, called 'Monster'! The song and music video inspired me to ridiculous heights. In fact, I'm listening to it now as I write this interview! The song 'Silhouette' was a large inspiration for my NaNo novel 'Unforget.' A picture of a JRocker inspired Acesso. Usually, over the period of a year or so, inspiration from dozens of things soaks in through my skin and then comes out in the form of another novel.

6.) If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which one would you choose to meet and why?
Oh, my word. This is a really tough one. REALLY tough. I go through phases - whichever character I'm writing at the moment is the one I love the most. However, having JUST finished Monster and plotting my NaNo, it would be a tossup between Monster's main character Mir and Unforget's main character, Cayne. Mir is by far the sweeter of the two, but Cayn is a bag of cats and it would
be fun to peek in and see what makes him tic. (If anything!) Vey from Acesso...he's interesting, and I'd love to have a long talk with him. And there's another character I'm plotting who is ALSO a bag of cats, but in a more fun-loving way. He has a darker side, but he's completely unpredictable.

7.) Is there any book, nonfiction or fiction, you would recommend all writers read to improve their writing?
Yes. It's called the Bible. This may seem redundant to a lot of you, but I'm serious. My strong Christian upbringing and the excellent grasp of the Bible my parents have instilled in me is something invaluable. I could NOT write meaningful books with important messagesif I didn't understand the Bible. The Bible has real, flawed people - murderers, prostitutes, illegitimates - and I create characters inspired
by the real people in the Bible. Storylines include betrayal, redemption, salvation, death, sacrifice - it has everything you could want.
Adventure, war, history, romance, poetry, prophecy, humor - honestly, if you haven't read your Bible in a while, go read it. I can't tell you enough how much this has helped me.
Several books on the writing craft that have been really helpful are
a. The Writer's Journey, which is actually for screenplay writers but is really helpful, especially for fantasy writers.
b. How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy by Orson Scott Card. This man knows how to think outside the box, and in this novel - even if you don't write fantasy or science fiction - shows you how to do the unexpected thing, to use your imagination and use the question 'what if' in your writing.

8.) What are your plans for the future - writing/non-writing goals?
Plans for the future? Well, I'm focusing on editing and getting Monster published, definitely. That's my biggest priority right now. Now that Monster has a publisher, things seem pretty surreal – I’m editing like a madwoman!
Also of course, NaNo and 'Unforget.' In the future, I want to continue writing books and short stories and telling truth wrapped in fiction that I love and that means a lot to me. I can't imagine myself not writing - it's so much a part of me, to do anything else seems ridiculous. I know without a doubt that I was meant to be a writer, and I love it. I've decided not to do college - once I graduate high school, I'm going to focus completely on writing and studying books and subjects that I'm interested in.

9.) What is the most important thing God has taught you through your writing?
The most important thing? To love people unconditionally (not that I have this down, but it's something I've been taught!)
To create characters who are real because they are flawed, but have the potential for redemption. There's a quote from my favorite American TV show, "Jericho," where Robert Hawkins' daughter asks of Jake Green, "Is he a good man or a bad man?" "Honey," Robert replies, "there's no such thing." And that is one of the truest statements I've ever heard.

10.) Is there any particular lesson or idea you hope readers take away from your books?
Each book and story I write has a different theme to it. Monster's was the sanctity of life, and readers really seem to grasp it withoutfeeling like it was shoved down their throats. Unforget's theme is redemption, which will be very interesting to work with. The Shadows Fall, my first fantasy, was themed with faith. Everything is different, but everything is important to me and something I really want readers to understand in a way that will entertain and intrigue them and maybe they'll even fall in love with the characters. If they can understand the message and still love the novel, then I feel completely happy and that I've done my job the best I can. :)

7 thoughts shared:

Miss Melody Muffin said...

I enjoyed reading this interview, Katherine Sophia and Mirriam!

Excellent advice about the Bible!

Hannah Stewart said...

Awesome stuff right here! Monster was amazing, just like its author. And this post did BOTH of them justice. :D

Rachel (Cynthia) Heffington said...

I just finished reading Monster as well and let me tell about slayed me with how poignant and perfectly timed it was. I mean really....this is a message the world needs to hear. And I'm serious.

Memzie said...

Great interview! Love the questions too!

Katherine Sophia said...

Definitely, Melody! The Bible is kind of my go-to writing help book - and if that's the book that enables Mirriam to write her books... I must be on the right track. XD

Glad you liked it, Hannah! She and her stories are amazing! :D

Exactly, Rachel... it needs to get out there.

Thanks, Memzie! :D Glad you enjoyed it!

Maximillian said...

It was a great idea to do this interview, Katherine! I agree that you asked some good questions. :)

Katherine Sophia said...

Thank you! She had great answers! :D


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