Congratulations on your debut novel ‘Circus Mirandus’ which is out this June! How does it feel to be a published author?
Thank you so much! It feels wonderful. It’s not always easy to tell people that you’re a writer before you’ve had work published, because you feel a little bit like everyone is going to ask you to prove yourself. That’s not how you should feel of course! But I did. Now, with Circus Mirandus coming out, a lot of that pressure is gone, and it’s fun to talk to people about what I do. I’ve also started to receive messages and comments from early readers, and knowing that this story I love so much is reaching people I’ve never met before is the best thing ever.
How long did it take you to write ‘Circus Mirandus’?
I wrote the first draft in a week! But it was very, very thin compared to the book it is now, so I’m not sure we can count that. I spent a little more than two years revising the novel, and it’s become something so much more in that time. Circus Mirandus is definitely a story that grew out of the revision process.
Have you always had a love for writing?
I haven’t always had a love for writing, but I have always loved reading. And I was making up stories in my head when I was very small. I have a younger sister whom I forced to play all of the side characters and villains in my make-believe worlds while I took the role of the hero. This went on for years, but she’s mostly forgiven me by now I hope. (She’s a children’s book author too.) I was a teenager before it even occurred to me to seriously attempt to put some of those stories down on paper, and I was surprised to find that it was a lot of hard work!
Do you have a special place that you go to write?
I can write anywhere as long as it’s fairly quiet, but I do have a few places I prefer. I love to write outside when the weather is nice, so I spend a lot of time on the back porch. We live in a rural area, so there isn’t much to interrupt me. I also write with my sister at the farmhouse in our family’s pecan orchard. It’s a perfect place because it doesn’t have internet or television or any of the other distractions that can pull me away from what I’m supposed to be doing.
Circus Mirandus is a story centred around a mysterious magical circus and the heartwarming relationship between a boy and his poorly Grandfather. Where did you get the inspiration for this story?
I was writing a very different book (one that is thankfully hidden away in the bowels of my filing system now) when I had the idea for a story about a boy and his grandfather and the magician who changed their lives. Grandpa Ephraim was actually the first character to pop into my head, and that same evening I started thinking about how his encounter with magic might have had an impact on his grandson’s life. The heart of the story is their relationship with each other, and that was there from the very beginning.
If you could give one tip to a young aspiring author what would that be?
Only one?! Hmmm…I think the most important thing is not to get frustrated when the words you’re putting on the page don’t match the vision you have in your head. A story rarely comes together the way you’d hoped it would on the first pass. The rough patches are natural, and you should never feel like the whole project is a loss because one particular element isn’t working out. Solutions tend to present themselves as you go along, and as long as you’re willing to revise, you’ve never got a lost cause on your hands.