Here we are again with another installment of Kari's Queries, where I answer the burning questions of high school English students. (well, so far, not a lot of burning, but I have hope)
I don't know about ya'll, but I'm enjoying this.
How do you create the plot lines for your books?
Often, it starts with one scene. One image, one moment that just sticks in my head. It makes me want to know, what lead up to that moment? What is going on, how did they get there? What happens next?
Sometimes, I’ll start with the end. Especially with the JJD series, I have a list of things that must happen to Jesse over the course of the series. So, each book is simply a way to get him there.
Each plot has to have a start, it has to have conflict, it has to have different threads that ultimately come together. It feels like braiding really long cords so that the colors line up just so.
I get stuck, sometimes. I have them at point A, and I know they need to get to point B, but I have no idea how or why. Usually, I follow Jim Butcher’s school of thought there. (If you haven’t read any of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series, go find it. Now. I’ll wait.) His rule of thumb is, if it makes his hero’s life more difficult, put it in there.
I think it’s amazing that the fictional characters of the world haven’t formed a union to protest their treatment.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
Oh wow… Good question.
Ok, understand that I was an only child, and we lived in the middle of 50 acres of forest. Needless to say, we were quite a ways away from any other kids. So…I read. A LOT. The first fantasy book I remember reading was The Hobbit. I was in first grade. (we’ll discuss my freakishness later) I think that was the book that showed me how awesome the worlds inside my head could be.
And, because I was alone a lot, I had a lot of time to explore those worlds. The people I made up, the adventures I had… I think I was probably in third grade before it occurred to me that I could write down those worlds, and other people could visit them too!
The first stories of any length that I remember writing were essentially fanfic of my favorite comic growing up. I didn’t use those characters, but I put my own characters in that world. I made my friends into elves and we rode giant wolves. (Bonus points if any of you recognize the comic)
The thing is… I’ve always been a writer. Even if I’d never been published, I would STILL be a writer, ‘cause I couldn’t stop if I had to. I’d go nuts. Being an author, being published… That’s just gravy.
How many books did you write before your first book was published?
Again with the counting! Ya’ll are just trying to fry my brain, aren’t you?
Ok, well… We’ll start with this thing I wrote before I ever had a computer. Typed the whole thing out on my mother’s Brother typewriter. Epic fantasy, separated twins, girl with silver hair…a wolf with wings… It was bad. REALLY bad. I was….um….twelve, maybe? (1) Then I wrote a couple novel-length type things that were essentially bastardized fanfic of a couple different fantasy series that I loved, so we’ll count both of those. (2) (3) And then I wrote two (still fanfic, never let anyone tell you it’s not good practice) novels based on some RPG characters some buddies and I played. (again, freakishness, discuss it later) (4) (5) This takes me pretty much up to my…second year of college? So…20-ish.
Then I started Avarice. Got 78,000 words into it before I realized it was fatally flawed, and since I had the idea for Devil already, I swapped. But we'll count it as a completed novel at that length. (6) That makes Devil number 7. Lucky number seven. However, while I was going through the querying process with Devil, I also wrote Muse. (8)
So, technically, I wrote 8 novels before my first was published. I’ve written three more since then.
When you put it that way, wow. I’m way more prolific than I thought.