In a world where a relationship is defined solely by sex, two young men, Timmy and Aero, are redefining that standard with a single word: love. But when P.E.S.T., the international crime syndicate that they call home is ripped apart and hastily reconstructed, their leaders let slip a deadly secret.
Why/how did you start writing?
Ever since I was young, I excelled in my English/Literature classes. That influenced me to write often, but I didn’t seriously begin a novel until the 2009-2010 school year, when I was in eighth grade. That year, my advanced English class was extremely laid-back. We would act out and read pieces of literature, write short stories, and make artwork related to the pieces we had to study. It was amazing. In our spare time, I would pull out some paper and write a little. It started as just a little story to fill time, but I handed it to my friend, and when she read it, she encouraged me to finish it. So every day I would write a little more, my friend reading along as I went. That novel, originally called “Circe & Troy” after the two main characters, is currently on standstill.
What’s the most common mistake do you think that beginning authors make?
I’ve already had the luck to meet many writers in the year I’ve been part of the writing & WriMo-ing community, and many of these writers have been just beginning to write or just beginning to do so seriously. I find that everyone has a different writing style, and very commonly, beginners will try to conform to the techniques of more experienced writers. I think the key to writing is to find your own style—your own technique. Don’t worry too much about how other people say you should do it, you’ll find your stride soon enough.
What worries would you tell your past self to get over in the beginning?
Stop worrying about making it perfect the first time. It won’t be. Perfection is for the second draft (or third, or fourth, or hundredth…). This was hard for me to understand as a perfectionist, but once I made myself accept it, writing came a lot more naturally.
What would you tell your past self to worry about?
I would tell myself to worry about worrying too much. I was prone to being very picky about things that I shouldn’t have been, and I think that took up a lot of my time.
Are you a plotter, or a pantser-do you do outlines, or do you write what comes to mind?
I don’t use outlines, but I commonly have a good deal of my story planned out in my head, and occasionally a page or two of notes on plot and layout. My current project, Flux, has been planned out fairly well, to the extent that I have chapter titles and a basic idea of what’s going to happen before I start to write.
If you’re a pantser, how do you wrap up all the loose ends?
The loose ends in my novels seem to wrap themselves up. Maybe I just have a knack for it; maybe that’s how it works.
What inspired your first book?
“Circe & Troy”, as it was called at the time, was inspired by three things:
1) My recent return to my home state, Louisiana, inspired the swamp setting. I’d forgotten how beautiful it is here, and writing about it was a good way to express that love.
2) I had reached the age where I began to ask my family members about their life experiences, and many of them had been in the military.
3) Multiple close friends of my father and I went into the military around this time, also inspiring the subject material.
Do you listen to music while writing?
I always seem to have music playing, no matter the situation, with writing being no exception. (I’m listening to music right now.) I’ve tried to make playlists for specific novels, characters, etc., to get myself in the right mood, but they normally take to long to create and don’t get used often enough.
What’s your writing space like?
I have a particular chair that I smiled and winked the previous owners of our house into giving to me. It’s an old-school Hollywood style in gold. I adore it. It sits under one window in my room, facing the other three windows so I have a view of the street. There’s a rose-patterned afghan that my recently deceased great-grandmother gave to me and a bejeweled lamp on a side table, commonly alongside my favorite teacup.
Do you have any quirks when it comes to writing?
To keep my monthly WriMo files organized, each one of my novels has it’s own particular font. They change occasionally, but they reflect the feel of the piece. I also have a favorite that I use for short (as in short, short) stories and other things. This month?—Bookman Old Style.
How did you come up with Flux and who is she?
The main character of my novel Flux had been a female assassin and the head of an intergalactic crime syndicate, Flux. Her name was a little bit of luck. I had been working at NIST that summer, and as I was trying to think of a name for her, I glimpsed a page. My eyes immediately focused on a single word—flux. I can’t recall for the life of me what that page was about, only that word, but it fit so well with her personality that it stuck. It became the title when I realized the double meaning in that it is both her name, and the fact that the characters always seem to be in a state of flux—a constant state of change, that is.
What are you currently working on?
Currently, I’m working on Flux. It just passed its one-year anniversary, as it was started in July 2011, and I would like to have it finished before it reaches two years.
What wrimo sites are you on?
I mainly participate in Crazy Club Writing Year, a forum for writers and WriMo-ers who “redefine insanity, one word at a time”. I co-administer the forums with the wonderful host of this blog, Louisa Paarsmarkt.
What future plans do you have for your book?
Hopefully, one day, Flux will be published, but I feel like it’s a highly volatile novel and I hope to wait until I have a larger follower base before I unleash it upon the world.
If you could write any book that you’ve ever read, what would it be? Why?
None of them. It’s hard to explain, but I wouldn’t want to write anything I’ve ever read, not the best thing, not the most influential.
What authors may you have learned from, from sites and reading their books?
I have to credit a good deal of my writing to the author Erik Scott de Bie. In the year that I began to write, we were assigned a report on what we wanted to be when we grew up, involving an interview with someone in the field. I had recently read one of Mr. de Bie’s novels and chose to contact him with some questions. He was more than willing to answer them and even answered follow-up questions later on. Without his help, I feel I may not have been able to make it to the point I have made it to.
Which of your character do you relate to the most?
I find that all of my characters are pieces of my personality. To give a quick example, Timmy represents two distinct facets of me: one being the very confident, sexy, occasionally cocky side, the other being the caring, maternal side. Aero, his lover, is alternately a very needy character, who is desperate to be loved, but also a very clean and polished professional.
Do you prefer books to movies in the film adaptation from books?
I have no policy about always preferring film adaptations to books or otherwise. I normally try to read the book first, but every case is different.
Do you get writer’s block? If so, what do you do to pass the time, or get rid of it?
Everyone gets writer’s block. It’s the truth of the industry. We all hit a wall at some point or another. For me, the best answer is to watch a movie or read a piece. This will get me back on track easily.
One book you wish you hadn’t written, if any?
I don’t regret any of my books—maybe a character or a particular draft, but never the whole novel.
Authors you look forward to new books from the most?
Obviously, Erik Scott de Bie. He recently had a new novel come out that I can’t wait to get my hands on. More commonly I will keep track of people in the film industry—actors, directors, producers, etc.
Do you have a writing schedule?
I used to try for 50, 000 words per month, but I stopped that once I realized the horrors it was doing for the quality of my writing. Now I set long-term goals instead.
On the top of your head, how many plots and characters do you think you have or have created?
There’s too many count.
A short quote from your book that you love?
I can’t really say truthfully, because I just lost my computer and I’m still trying to save my files, so I only have a single hand-written page to go off of. From that section, though, I enjoyed this one:
“As per usual, Timmy had passed out on [Aero’s] bed rather than taking the effort to cross the hall to his own room. Aero had never been more glad of this habitual invasion of personal space.” –Flux
Your favourite quote?
I don’t have a favourite, per say, but here’s one I like off the top of my head:
"Warning: If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think every thing you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned- Tyler."
Niccy can be reached by email, Crazy Club Private Messages, and her blog, Call Me Niccy.
I’m Niccy. Essentially, I plan on taking the world by storm. I want to hike the Appalachian Trail, sail the seven seas, be elected to political office, place in Le Tour de France, win a Grammy, become a best-selling author and a critically acclaimed director, and that’s just the warm-up. Currently, I attend Baton Rouge Magnet High School and co-administer the Crazy Club Writing Forums. I speak English and am learning French, Spanish, Latin, and, just for fun, the fictional language Gallifreyan. I have multiple projects at the moment, but I’m mainly focused on finishing my novel Flux before its second birthday.