Answering Author Questions
I've been writing for a long while. In that time I've learned how to polish my craft in a way that is recognizable to my readers. I tell an 'easy read' that has realistic dialogue, fast-paced plots, and excellent character development. That last one I've worked on over the years to make the journey of the characters change them in a way that makes sense and isn't forced or lacking.
Here now are a few answers to questions I've received over the years:
1.What made you become an author?
I've told this story alot. I used to write short stories all the time when I was young. But I only got serious about writing in high school where I found a copy of Dean Koontz novel Intensity in the library. After reading it I decided I wanted to draw emotions from people the same way Dean had done for me when reading that particular book.
2. Did someone read to you as a child?
Yes. My mother used to read to me all the time. She loved books. I ran one of my short stories past her when I first started writing and she gave me the blunt truth: it was boring. She was right! I would rather hear that than have it sugarcoated. To date, she's really the only one of my family who have ever read my work.
3. What was your first book?
My very first novel I ever wrote is titled The Crescent. It's the story of female gladiators battling it out for supremecy. I got the idea from a documentary on the same subject narrated by Xena Warrior Princess herself Lucy Lawless. Since it's publication the novel almost came to screen 3 different times. Fingers crossed it actually makes it into a miniseries!
4. How many books have you written?
This question makes me have to count. At latest count I have about 15 novels and 3 short stories. It would've been better if all 15 of those books were in one series but I get my ideas randomly and they don't always link together. That's another question I get alot: where do you get your ideas.
5. Which book is your favorite?
Asking an author about which book they've written is their favorite is like asking a mother to pick her favorite child! I love all of them. They all have deep meaning. But if I have to narrow it down I will say Lucky Sevens. It's the story of a down-on-his luck security guard who saves Las Vegas from a magician dabbling in black magic. I wrote the novel as a love letter to my hometown and sprinkled in characters I've known from living in Sin City for so long.
6. How long does it take you to write a book?
Depends on the book. I've written a full 300 page novel in as little as 3 months or another has taken over 3 years. There's no hard and fast rule to finishing a book, those that tell you otherwise are selling you something. Write at your own pace. If you rush the novel it will only come out half-baked. The more important thing is that the book gets finished. That's a promise I make to all my readers: I will always finish my story!
7. How much world-building do you do before starting?
Again, depends on the type of book. If I'm writing an urban fantasy and basing it in Las Vegas, I already have my backdrop. I know the city inside and out. The world building would be more on the characters and the actual story itself. If I'm writing a sword & sorcery novel that will take more prep. That involves creating the entire world including magic systems, politics, religions, monetary systems, monsters, etc. You can have alot of fun with a full blown fantasy as the rules are your own. It can also become a little overwhelming.
8. Do you play music while you write?
Sometimes I play music but it can only be movie or TV scores without any lyrics. I find lyrics distracting. I often choose music based on what I'm writing. For instance, if I'm writing a high fantasy I use Conan, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, stuff like that.
9. Which characters are like you or people you know?
The reality is most of the characters will have a tiny bit of myself within them. I draw from my own experiences to inform their decisions. That's why I write about female warriors alot. I've used mannerisms or sprinkled in certain appearance factors from people I know but I never outright use them completely.
10. What is some advice you'd give your younger self?
I would tell myself to focus on one long series rather than jumping around to different stories. I'd also learn the business side of things much earlier on and I wouldn't let myself get sidetracked
11. What advice would you give a new author?
Don't try to follow the trends, they'll be over before you finish your novel. Instead, write something you're passionate about. Take your time, develop your characters and story, then try to write every day at least for an hour. Don't compare yourself to other authors. You're not going that way. Find your own writing voice and make sure you enjoy the process. If you don't love your work nobody else will.
12. What's the best part of being an author?
I absolutley love the start of a new novel. When I get the spark of an idea and I start to flush out the characters and the world they live in it brings me great joy. I also love hearing reader feedback. When I can have a reader tell me about how they envisioned a certain scene I wrote and it matches what I had in my head that is a euphoric feeling. It means I did my job well.
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"Original Cyn" Cynthia Vespia writes fantasy novels with edge. This blog is dedicated to all things fantasy and my author journey.