To the end and back again
I had so much fun with this interview. Violeta had me laughing the whole way through. I am going to present her interview backwards. I think you will understand why I did it.
Liz: This requires a little bit of explanation. My interviews are long but everyone is told up front to answer what they want to answer and leave the rest blank. Every once in a while I have an author who fills out every single one. Violeta is that author.
The last question I ask in an interview is: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you think I should have or that you want others to know about? I know the questionnaire is a long one, but you know there is that one person who is like “HEY! Why didn’t you ask me this?” Maybe you are that person.
Violeta: Haha, nope. I think you asked everything there is to ask. 😛 Well, not everything, but I am kind of tired from filling it out. Good questions though! Made me feel warm about writing, haha.
Liz: Even though she makes her quips about my longwindedness, she at least saw what I was trying to do. For the record Violeta, I could have come up with more. The questionnaire I sent you is the revised one.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Violeta: Well, I see myself famous, of course!
Liz: What about in a year?
Violeta: I see myself happily skipping from agent to agent and querying publishers like crazy. I also see myself fretting about grammar and market research. I have a feeling it’s going to be interesting.
Liz: Maybe you now see why I am telling this in reverse. Violeta is so full of energy I want to bottle her up and make millions. (Please note: No Violeta’s were harmed in the making of this blog post.)
What advice do you have for others that are considering joining you on this rocky path?
Violeta: I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice, but I’ll give it anyway. Write every day. Write anything. Promote your writing. Network. Be consistent. Learn from the best. Don’t waste words. Be confident in your abilities. Writing is a skill, and like any skill, it needs to be developed. Nobody’s ever written a book overnight and published it without writing their bums out long before that.
Liz: Do you see what I mean about enthusiasm. This woman is going places and when she gets there I want to go to the launch party because I know that she will light up the room.
Even when I ask her about her weaknesses she is confident that she will get where we all want to be.
Violeta: Haha, if I tell you, will you leak it to the media when I’m famous? (laughs hysterically) Well, my weakness is… I often underestimate my abilities. I’m often insecure about things that I’ve written, which makes me obsess over something much longer than I’m really supposed to. I guess it’s something that I’m still struggling with, but hope to overcome soon.
Liz. And when I ask her what strengths she has, she doesn’t surprise me at all.
Violeta: I am extremely passionate about my stories. I can’t just write them down and release them into the wild without first making sure that they’d survive out there. So I tell them with conviction and care, so that those who read them would be left with some kind of impression, not a blank reaction. But most of all, I try to find the balance between character and story development. I believe that neither one should outweigh the other, and that both should work together to create a well-rounded story.
Liz: I struggle with writers block, so I had to know her cure.
Violeta: Oh, I don’t believe in it. To me, it’s just a phobic reaction to great expectations. As soon as I even dare to think about publishing or querying, I just block completely. The page starts to glare, the characters stop listening, and the story slips into oblivion. I just hate that moment! It’s easy to overcome though. The secret is to just sit down and write crap. I know it sounds funny, but it’s going to be crap for a while and then you’ll be back on track. That’s how I do it anyway.
Liz: She is realistic about editing.
Violeta: Oh, jeez. Did you have to spoil the nice conversation we were having? No, I’m just kidding. I’m actually conflicted about editing. I love it because I can use my colorful sticky notes and my OCD revision system. And I hate it because it is so damn hard to put any kind of order in the chaos of my first drafts. When I say chaos, I mean scary patched-up monster of muddled up dialogue and virtually no description. I mean, how am I supposed to fix it if it’s missing vital organs??? Oh, I’m sorry, I got carried away with the Frankenstein analogy there…
Liz: I had to know what keeps her going.
Violeta: It’s who I am and if I stopped, I’d be someone else entirely. Besides, there’s nothing quite as intoxicating as writing the ‘perfect scene’ and having that ‘a-ha moment’ you mentioned earlier. It’s priceless really.
Liz: Many of the questions I ask are thought provoking. I thought that asking her what her favorite animal would be simple, but I learned something, and I hope you do too.
Just for fun, what is your favorite color, food, or animal?
Violeta: Purple, I guess. I’ve always found it difficult to pick a color. The same with food. I guess I like pancakes and melons. (liz: I thought that was an odd combination but then again I like peanut butter and syrup on pancakes so I am in no position to judge.)
It’s an odd story actually. You know how in Shamanism there are power animals? That is, animals which guide you in your dreams. I read somewhere that it’s usually an animal that has always been present in your life, especially in your dreams. When I was little, I had a recurring dream with a polar bear chasing me. I never forgot that dream and later realized that the polar bear is my favorite animal. It’s so majestic. For that reason, I really enjoyed Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, where polar bears reined the land of Svalbard.
Liz: Violeta is very private about her current projects but she does give us some insight into her world.
Violeta: Remember I told you about my second novel cracking me up? Well, the scene I love the most on there is in the very beginning. I wrote the first few chapters without too much planning, so my imagination ran rampant with ideas and goofy scenes. So my favorite was when Dora (the protagonist) slammed into a girl (Stone) and tried to keep her balance but couldn’t. So the silly girl reached for Stone’s hair or something to hold on to, but she grabbed her breast instead. People thought she was gay long after the incident.
In another scene, she was praying in a small church and she had to touch a certain body part of a statue. For some reason, she went for the leg but ended up brushing the deity’s private area (laughs). See, even now I am laughing at her as if she’s my own goofy child. I guess I have a rather dirty sense of humor and that’s why these scenes come up. Hopefully, I won’t be the only person laughing at those.
Liz: Favorite Line.
Violeta: If I have to choose just one line… this is the one:
There was light all around: in spurts, in spots, in spades. And so it began, in light, but proceeded in pain.
I’m not sure why, but this is the type of thing that I love writing (and later reading). I like riddle-like rhyming lines. Of course, I don’t build up the story on those, but I like to include them in the chapters so there is the element of mystery and head-scratching.
Liz: This is what she had to say about her current project:
Violeta: I am currently working on two different novels, one fantasy and one paranormal science fiction. To say more, though, would be odd since I haven’t finished them. I am one of those writers who can’t really put their entire novel in one sentence (though I will have to do it later when querying), so please, I’m begging you. Don’t ask what they’re about. (laughs)
However, for anyone who’d like to see ‘my style’, they can check out my flash fiction project at: http://burning-of-innocence.blogspot.com.
Liz: Were you born to write, or was there an “ah ha” moment that you knew that writing is what you had to do.
Violeta: Definitely the first. I’ve been writing my whole life. I started small: with poems and letters to my favourite children’s magazines. I loved writing letters and sending them to friends, which is as dead as the Latin language now, unfortunately.
But even though I was ‘born’ with it, I did have an ‘ah-ha moment’ much later in my life. When I was in high school, I started obsessing over Harry Potter. One day I discovered Harry Potter fanfiction sites, and I was desperately hooked for the rest of high school. What is really strange, though, is that I had never written fiction before I started reading fanfiction! I mean, before that it was mostly essays, articles, and journals… never actual stories! And then it came: the golden FIRST STORY EVER. I will never forget how much it sucked. I’m serious… think most obvious cliché combined with the blandest character possible. Even so, I watch back on this experience very fondly.
Basically, Harry Potter fanfiction started it all for me.
Liz: Even the nuts and bolts was more revealing than I thought they could be.
I am 24 years old, originally from Bulgaria. I’ve just graduated in Psychology in the UK, and I am ready to take on the world! In my spare time, I like Twittering, reading about Positive Psychology, spending time with good friends, and working on my writing projects. Right now, I’m fretting about finding a job… and how great would it be if I landed a sweet internship in Publishing!
I can’t get enough of Violeta and I am sure that you too, will want to watch her journey. Here’s how!
I am @lympha13 on Twitter. I joined recently but am now totally hooked! I have a facebook page, but that’s personal, so you can’t have it! Though you can probably Google it…
Also, I’ve two blogs, both relatively new. I write my flash fiction story (The Burning of Innocence) on one of them (http://burning-of-innocence.blogspot.com), and the other is reserved for my writerly updates. Warning: my head is an odd place to be (http://lynmidnight.blogspot.com). I am relatively low on followers, so if anyone should enjoy my silliness, they’re welcome to join! J
Don’t forget to leave your comments and don’t stop writing!