Ello, everyone! I am here today with, Gillian Bronte Adams! She wrote the amazing Songkeeper which I raved about, and I am so excited to have her here today. Let’s get started!
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing at the ripe old age of seven, and my stories were a very interesting mash-up of kid detectives, cats, and characters from the Lord of the Rings. Totally best seller material. Growing up, I never lost my love for stories, but it wasn’t until I was sixteen and a friend invited me to participate in a NaNoWriMo type event that I thought about taking writing more seriously. Soon after, I stumbled across a blog belonging to one of my favorite authors and was shocked to discover that published authors were ordinary human beings like the rest of us. That’s when I decided that I wanted to be an author one day, so I started researching publishing and studying writing more intently.
What’s your favorite thing about writing? Your least favorite?
My favorite things about writing are also my least favorite things, because in the middle of the writing process, they are so hard. But when it all finally comes together, it is beautiful. I love crafting characters and really digging deep into their heads and figuring out what makes them tick. But until I figure out what makes them tick, it can be incredibly frustrating. I love pushing my characters to the edge of the cliff and running them through the ringer, because when they are stretched and prodded and tested beyond their limits, there is room for them to grow and become the heroes we hope they will be … even if they sometimes stumble along the way. But finding that balance of pushing them just far enough without it being obviously contrived is a tricky process. I love writing the epic battles, the teeth-gritting journeys, and the just-got-to-endure-through-this types of scenes, but a part of me hates them too, because I always stumble away from those feeling as weary and battle-worn as my characters.
How did you come up with the names in your books? Especially Gundhrold!
I love naming characters! Names are so important. My process is ever changing though. Some characters just stumble onto the page complete with a name. Amos was one of those, Birdie too. Gundhrold’s name took me a little bit longer. I wanted something that sounded somewhat Gaelic, and I think I just played around with different sounds until I liked the look of it. Other character names require a little more research. Sometimes there’s a certain sound that I am going for, and I’ll search baby name websites by either letter of the alphabet or the ethnicity that I’m trying to evoke until I find just the right name.
Who inspired you to write?
There are a lot of people that I can point to actually. My dad started my love of fantasy by reading Tolkien to me when I was five. My older sister was a creative writer and would occasionally let me read her stories, and I just wanted to be as cool as her. A friend gave me The Door Within Trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson for my fourteenth birthday, and this girl who had grown up reading the classics suddenly realized that fantasy was alive and well in the modern age too. It was also his blog that made me realize that authors aren’t that different from normal people like you and me. (Just a little bit crazier.) My mom was always incredibly supportive and a great well of insight into my writing. I discovered the Go Teen Writers blog and managed to win a few writing contests, and Jill Williamson and Stephanie Morrill both encouraged, critiqued, and helped shape my writing. So while I’m not sure there was one specific person who inspired me to pursue writing, there were a lot of people who helped me recognize my love for writing and spurred me on in my quest.
What advice would you give to young/aspiring authors?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I got to where I am today because a couple of authors who were big steps ahead of me were willing to give me advice, answer my newbie questions, and overlook my annoying mistakes, like cold-emailing an author with a request for a manuscript critique. (I was so nervous, but the author’s response was so gracious, even though of course the author didn’t have time to do what I had asked.) Not every author will have the time to invest – especially if they’re under major deadlines – and you do need to realize that and phrase your requests accordingly, but my experience has been that most won’t mind the request and are willing to help if they are able to.
And the most random question, what’s your favorite snack to eat?
This is a tough one. I’m slightly snacked out at the moment because I’m in the middle of hefty writing which means a lot of late nights, gallons of coffee and Dr. Pepper and too much snacking. So while I love junk food snacks (probably too much for my own good), I’m not the biggest fan at the moment. So I’ll have to go with dewberries. You just can’t beat fresh dewberries picked straight from the field at the end of a long day’s work. :)
Thank you for joining me, Gillian! You guys can find Gillian on her blog and Facebook.
One last thing! Gillian is having a launch party for Songkeeper TONIGHT (5/3/2016) So come and join us!