Tink: Thank you so Ms. Stolarz for taking time to answer some questions. I am super excited about this opportunity since I such a big fan of your books. I know you are a busy woman so let's get this show on the road, okay?"
Tink: "You have written many books, nine, if my research is correct not including, short stories published in Love is Hell and 666 or the newest Touch novel. Of all of your books which one was your favorite to write?"
LFS: "I loved writing Bleed because it was completely different in many respects to all of my other work. I'd just written a couple of books in my Blue is for Nightmares series when I started Bleed. I'd imagined writing it for adults, and so I broke many of the rules I had followed while working on my other titles. Bleed is also told from the perspective of ten different characters, and trying to get into all of their heads so that their language and actions were believable, was such a rewarding challenge. I also loved writing Black Is For Beginnings the fifth and final (and a companion) book in the Blue Is For Nightmares series. Black is a graphic novel, so once again, I got to experiment with something new, writing the book in screenplay format, and picturing all the scenes and characters like in a movie. I also got to work with an illustrator for the first time ever, it was an absolute thrill."
Tink: "Graphic novels are so my thing! And they have become very popular. I like when an author is willing to try new things and widen their fan base. Anyway, enough of my opinion, on to the next question. Your characters are original, yet readers are able to relate to them. Which character did you most enjoy writing about?"
LFS: "Stacey Brown from the Blue is for Nightmares series is my absolute favorite. She and I think a lot alike. We're both responsible; we both care deeply for our friends, and we tend to have a sarcastic side."
Tink: "Ah, sarcasm. It is an under appreciated art." (Sigh!) "In your recent series, Touch, you bring to light the gift of psychometry, the ability to sense things through touch. What inspired you to base your series around this concept?"
LFS: "I wanted to write a story where the main character has to struggle with the idea of falling in love with someone who could potentially be dangerous. I tinkered with this concept in the first three books in the Blue is for Nightmares series, as well as in Bleed. In Bleed, in particular, there is a young male character who was convicted of the murder of his girlfriend. His next relationship consists of pen pal letter he exchanges with a young girl while he is in prison. Without giving too much away, the relationship is briefly pursued once he's released, but I wanted to bring this concept to another level. Additionally, I wanted to continue experimenting with the supernatural, showing how we all have our inner senses and intuitions. I started researching different types of supernatural powers and discovered the power of psychometry(the ability to sense things through touch). The concept fascinated me and I wanted to bring it out in a character, showing how sometimes event the most extraordinary powers can also be a curse."
Tink: "Much like my power of beauty, it can be a curse." (Tink and LFS laugh!) "Given my love for reading, I have also dabbled a bit in writing. As an aspiring writer I am always intrigued by the process in which authors write. Would you mind sharing your personal writing process?"
LFS: "It took me two years to write my first book, Blue is for Nightmares. I spent another year and a half editing it. I learned a lot from that process. I now work with an outline and know where I am going and what my character needs to achieve, as well as what he or she needs to learn in order to achieve it. I draft a novel in six months time. I then spend another several months or so reworking it before I hand it to my editor. I still end up changing things along the way, coming up with new ideas and wanting to change paths. For my current draft, Deadly Little Voices, the fourth book in the Touch series, for example, I ended up throwing a good 80 pages away. But, I find that having an outline gives me a "home base." I can go back and reconsider. Always coming back to the basics of what my character wants and needs.
Tink: "I often use outlines as well, I chalk it up to all the college papers I wrote and had to submit outlines with. Great minds, huh?" (Again, Tink and LFS laugh!) "Some authors find themselves writing after they have already had another career. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?"
LFS: "I always wanted to be a writer, but I never thought it would happen. I'm so grateful that I am able to do this for work and never take it for granted."
Tink: "I love your attitude about your job, in my opinion, it is why you're books are soooo good! I try to absorb any and all advice I can from authors and other writing professionals. What is the most useful advice you have received as an author? What is the least?"
LFS: "My biggest advice is to persevere. There are many talented writers who give up after 5, 10 0r even 100 rejection letters. Be open to learning and getting better in your craft. If more than one person criticizes the same point in your work, chances are you need to look at that point again. Do your homework. Never pay reading fees to get published. Know to whom you are sending your query letter, who their clients are, what their track record is, and what they are looking for. Every letter should be personalized and reflect that you have done your research. And, lastly consider joining a writers group. There's nothing better than being in a group of like-minded writers who can help inspire and cheer you on, and who provide constructive feed back that helps to strengthen your work. The least helpful advice I've ever heard? Well, I don't recommend self publish their own work, unless the work is solely for them or a small circle of people."
Well, I am off to see what Sebastian has planned for us this weekend. Have fun.