Tag Archive: About Me

An Interview With Me

I got my sister, who goes by the screen name Siberia, to interview me today about my writing. I’ve interviewed myself before, but this one is more cohesive and more organic, I think, because she and I were able to play off of each other like I couldn’t with myself, lol. I hope you enjoy reading it. :)

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Siberia: Hello, Autumn. How are you doing?

Autumn: I’m doing well. How are you?

Siberia: I’m well. First I would like to ask you, what is your current project?

Autumn: My main drafting project at the moment is The Dark War Trilogy, and specifically The Shadow Raven. My main editing project is House of Mages, which I hope to have published sometime early next year.

Siberia: What are those about?

Autumn: The Shadow Raven is the second in the Dark War Trilogy, and definitely my favorite. It’s about a shapeshifter thief named Nissa Quail who ends up becoming friends with the prince after she steals his crown. When his father is murdered, her efforts to uncover the killer dig their country – Roenor – deeper into a war, which involves three different countries including Roenor.

House of Mages is about a girl named Lian Vandal, the daughter of a corrupt Archmage, who uncovers a plot of her father’s and has to save the world. There’s more to it, but I stink at coming up with descriptions of my books on the spot, lol.

Siberia: *chuckles* They sound very interesting. When do you think we’ll be able to read The Dark War Trilogy?

Autumn: According to my current plan, I’m hoping for sometime in mid to late 2018. I’m not 100% sure, because I’m not 100% sure how long the editing process will take, and there’s sort of a prequel that has to be published first, but I’m hoping for mid to late 2018 with the first book. The first chapters of each the first and second books are on my blog, and you can get access by signing up to my newsletter.

Siberia: Great! I can’t wait to read them. Do you have any favorite characters?

Autumn: Out of all of my books or just from my current projects?

Siberia: Out of your current projects. Who are your favorite characters in The Dark War Trilogy?

Autumn: Oh gosh. There are so many. The characters are my favorite thing in the series, lol. Um… If I had to pick two favorites from each book, they’d be Cor Claris and Tiberius Alister from The Last Assassin, Detren Everlind and Nissa Quail from The Shadow Raven, and Ismena Ivery and Toril Valda from The King’s Paladin.

From House of Mages my favorites are Lian Vandal and Darklin Hunter.

Siberia: Why are they your favorites?

Autumn: Cor is adorable, and he’s constantly spouting little bits of wisdom that surprise even me, lol. Tiberius is just a fun character. Detren is basically what I’d like to be: compassionate, merciful, always does the right thing even when it’s hard, etc. Nissa is a lot of fun to write because she loves fashion so much, lol. With Ismena and Toril, I think they’re the most well-developed characters in The King’s Paladin. Oops. That needs to be worked on.

Siberia: How do you feel about each of the books?

Autumn: The Last Assassin is cool to write. In the beginning I was writing it at the same time I was writing The Heart of the Baenor (the prequel I mentioned above), and since Catessa is a main character in both, but she’s at very different stages in her life, that was really interesting. Now the characters and their interactions are just really cool, and the overlap with the other books.

The Shadow Raven is, as I said, my favorite. Nissa’s arc is really cool, Detren is definitely in my top ten favorite characters I’ve written, and their interactions are really fun/interesting/dynamic/tragic. Dynamic, that’s a really good word for them. So, yeah, again the characters are my favorite part.

The King’s Paladin is my least favorite, but I think that’s because I need to develop it and its characters more. I really like the premise and the idea of Coraline (the MC)’s character, but it’s not translating to paper well just yet. I’m hoping that once I come back to it I’ll be able to write it better and I’ll have it better developed.

Siberia: What genre or genres do you usually write?

Autumn: The most common for me is fantasy; both of my current projects are fantasy. I also do a little bit in the dystopian genre, and my short stories are often contemporary.

Siberia: Do you tend to write the same genres that you read?

Autumn: Absolutely. My writing has always been heavily influenced by what I read. To start out, I read a lot of mystery, and so my first attempted story was a mystery. That totally didn’t work (pro tip: always plot out a mystery before writing it), and looking back it was quite disturbing, lol. After that I got into reading fantasy – I think I started with Terry Brooks – and so that was what I next tried writing, and that stuck in both reading and writing. I haven’t stopped either since. My dystopian writing started a couple of years ago when I started reading things like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, etc.

Siberia: What do you like most about writing fantasy?

Autumn: Definitely the freedom. That was most of the reason I stuck with it after I started, was that there aren’t as many rules, you can make it up as you go along and you don’t have to do a lot of research. I enjoy research sometimes, but I don’t think I’d enjoy writing a kind of genre that takes an extensive amount of it, like historical fiction.

Siberia: And what’s the worst part of writing fantasy?

Autumn: Avoiding common tropes and clichés, maybe? I don’t know. There are some fantasy writers who’d say the worldbuilding, and I agree with them to some extent. There are times when I hate the work of worldbuilding, and then there are other times when I love just getting lost in all the creativity of it.

Siberia: How do you usually do your worldbuilding?

Autumn: There is no ‘usually’ with my worldbuilding, lol. It’s different every time. With a lot of my books I don’t do enough, actually, and so there really isn’t a process to it. With Themar, the world on which The Dark War takes place, I went through it step by step, and you can see those steps in the Deep Worldbuild Project posts on my blog. There are others that are in the planning stages where the worlds were actually the first things that popped into my head, and with those I’m trying to go as in-depth as I can to make those worlds really shine and stand out.

Siberia: What are your favorite and least favorite steps of worldbuilding?

Autumn: I hate coming up with wildlife. I don’t know why, I just hate making up creatures and plants most of the time. I think my favorite would probably be the culture, and what makes it stand out from the others around it and how they interact and whatnot. This is particularly true of the two I’m developing right now, Parvani and Kersir, because they both have very distinct cultures within them, and those cultures tend to clash a lot, and then compliment each other in other ways, and it’s really cool.

Siberia: It does sound like it would be fun to write. What is your favorite part of writing in general?

Autumn: The characters. Characters are what I connect with most both in my own stories and in those that I read. If I don’t like the characters, I’m likely to not be satisfied with the book, no matter how good the plot is. Sometimes an intricate world can redeem a book with bad characters, but that’s a rare occurrence. So, yeah, definitely characters. I love getting to know them and figuring out what makes them tick and what makes them the way they are. That’s definitely my favorite part.

Siberia: Interesting. And your least favorite part?

Autumn: Generally plot. I tend to stink at coming up with plots. There are a couple of exceptions, but I’m much more likely to have incredible characters and no adventures to set them on than to have an incredible plot with no characters.

Siberia: So, you said that Tiberius is a really fun character. What makes him so?

Autumn: Honestly, it’s mostly when he’s around Catessa. She kind of brings out his playful side, and he returns the favor. It makes the characters with the two of them my favorite to write. But he’s just got a fun personality, too. And yet he can be really serious when he needs to be, which is something that I always love about characters. I love those characters who can be really playful and teasing and never take anything seriously, but when something happens to someone close to them or something really important has happened, they can be really sober and serious.

Siberia: I’ve also heard you have a psychopath in The Last Assassin. What’s it like to write that?

Autumn: Really fun, actually. It’s really cool getting inside his head, because he sees things in details. He takes a whole and pays attention to the details involved, and it’s really fascinating and really creepy.

Siberia: And you said earlier that Cor is really wise. Could you give us a couple of examples?

Autumn: Sure! He has two quotes that really stick in my mind, and I actually made them into images so they look cool, lol.

Siberia: Those are super cool. *smiles* How old is he?

Autumn: He’s nine.

Siberia: Wow. I love him already! I can’t wait to read the story! How long have you been working on this story?

Autumn: I’ve been working on House of Mages for eighteen months, and I’ve been working on The Last Assassin for four.

Siberia: That’s a year and a half for House of Mages! Have you gotten discouraged with it along the way?

Autumn: I have. Several times, in fact. With almost all of my stories I’ve gotten discouraged at some point in the process, but I always get over it in one way or another.

Siberia: And how long does it usually take you to write a book?

Autumn: That varies a lot. My first novella took about five years, but there have been others that only took a month (NaNoWriMo for the win!). It greatly depends. And the editing process is something I haven’t even gotten into with most of them.

Siberia: How many unfinished books do you have?

Autumn: Probably somewhere around one hundred.

Siberia: Woah! Do you have any plans to pick some of those up again?

Autumn: Some of them, but not a lot. Most of them I only keep for future reference so I know what I’ve written, and at this point I’d have to start all of them from scratch because my writing has grown so much. There’s one series that I’d really like to reboot, but I’m having trouble figuring out how to go about doing that.

Siberia: What are your plans in general for future projects?

Autumn: For now I have my hands full with The Dark War Trilogy. I’d really like to focus on that one and get it published. I consider it my “passion project,” and I’d really like to see it in print, on shelves, and being enjoyed by an audience. After that, I think my next novel project will be the hesitantly titled Dark Queen Rising, but who knows what I’ll actually want to focus on by then?

Siberia: *chuckles* Okay. And where can we learn more about your writing?

Autumn: I have short descriptions of each of my main projects on the “My Books” page here on the blog, and I also have Pinterest boards for a lot of those, which are linked on that page as well. I have a Facebook page where you can follow my short stories and some of my writing updates, and if you sign up to my blog newsletter you’ll get updates on my writing and my blogging, as well as the codes to the first chapters of each Dark War Trilogy book.

Siberia: Sounds good! I think that about wraps it up for today. Thank you for coming.

Autumn: Thanks for the interview. :)

Why I Write

I write for my readers. I write to make them feel. I write to make them connect with my characters to the same extent that I have, to make them care about fictional people as much as other authors have made me connect with their fictional people. When I get to see those reactions – their laughter or screaming or crying – it tells me that I’ve done a good job and I’ve done what I intended to do.

That’s why I adore my little mini fandom so much. Three friends of mine are reading The Last Assassin as I write it, and it’s amazing to watch their reactions and hear my sister try to puzzle out the mysteries, and see them be head-over-heels for a ship that I’m still claiming is unofficial, and squeal with them over the little tiny adorable child that is Cor Claris.

I love sharing my excitement over my books with others. I love making them love the characters and feel at home in the setting and making them shudder because that villain is just. So. Creepy. It tells me that I’ve done a good job, and it tells me that they’re enjoying my stories, which is why I write in the first place. I write to give people the same escape and enjoyment and impact that other books have given me. That is my goal as a writer.

The Leibster Blog Award

I was just nominated for the Leibster Award by Kaylan over at No Two Paths. Her blog name was inspired by Robert Frost’s poem “The Road Not Taken,” and specifically these lines:

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”

That’s really cool.

Thanks for the nomination, Kaylan!

What is the Leibster Blog Award?

In short, it’s an award for small blogs that’s passed between bloggers to explore growing blogs. Those who accept the nomination answer a list of questions given to them by whoever nominated them, write a bit about their favorite blogger, nominate 5-11 other blogs that have fewer than 200 followers, and provide 10-11 random facts about themselves. The official rules can be found here.

Nominees:

Melody at Melody Jackson, Author

Val, Remi, and Spanner at Our Mind Palace (I’m actually a fourth collaborator over there, so I’m not sure if this counts and I’ll post a sixth nominee, but I’d love to see their responses.)

Vinnie at Scribbles Playground!!!

Elyra at Two Roads Diverged (I highly suspect the name was derived from that same Robert Frost poem…)

Mandy at Jumping In the Puddles

Ruby at The Sea Calls Us Home

My Favorite Blogger

I follow quite a few writing blogs, but I think my favorite is Well-Storied (formerly known as She’s Novel). The author, Kristen Kieffer, does an excellent job of giving helpful writing advice in a number of areas. She has posts on publishing, editing, planning, writing, character development, etc. I think Well-Storied was the first blog I followed, and I’ve found Kristen’s posts helpful on numerous occasions, particularly as I get deeper into the writing process and am working on marketing. Marketing is something I know nothing about, and it’s really nice to have somewhere to go to find guidance in that.

11 Random Facts About Me

  1. I’ve been homeschooled my whole life.
  2. Autumn has been my screen name since September of 2015. I started using it when I joined the forums on the NaNoWriMo site and needed a nickname.
  3. I derived my pen name, R.M. Archer, from my initials.
  4. I’ve been in choir for nine years.
  5. I have yet to read Harry Potter. But I just checked it out from the library, so soon I can finally answer yes to the incessant question of “Have you read Harry Potter?”
  6. The question “Have you read Harry Potter?” kind of grates on my nerves at this point.
  7. My favorite author is Wayne Thomas Batson.
  8. I have about a dozen writing notebooks, and only three of them are full. Why? Because when I first started writing I would leave space between the current end of one story and the beginning of another so that I could finish the first one later. And then… I never finished any of them.
  9. I have finished about nine first drafts, two second drafts, and one third draft.
  10. My “pending” writing folder holds 375 files. My “archives” folder holds 171.
  11. My favorite villain is Loki.

Kaylan’s Questions

What’s your claim to fame? (It can literally be anything. Star of the class play in kindergarten? Go for it!)

I was one of the fastest runners at camp this year.

How do you relax after a hard day of school or work?

I read, write, or listen to music.

What could you give a 30-minute presentation on with no preparation? (In other words, what is something you totally geek out about?)

As my best friend can attest, I can rant on for half an hour at least about the Eragon movie or about The Maze Runner. She can also tell you that I repeat myself a lot when I’m ranting, so it would be half an hour long, but it would only be about ten minutes worth of information.

What city would you most like to live in?

Hmm. Is this real or fictional? For a real city… London? I don’t know, honestly. I’m pretty happy where I am, I think. And it has my choir and my youth group and some of my extended family. As for a fictional city, probably Minas Tirith. That place is just cool. But then again, so is the Shire, and it’s more peaceful, so maybe a home in one of the Shire’s cities would be a better fit. I’m almost short enough to fit in a hobbit-hole, too. ;)

What fictional place would you most like to travel to?

Middle Earth, The Seven Kingdoms, Erilea, The Four Lands… Probably most The Four Lands, since I’ve been immersed there so much through the dozens of Shannara books. But then again, maybe that’s a reason to choose a different one. I don’t know. Shannara is almost home for all the times I’ve visited, and I’d kind of like to know more about The Seven Kingdoms, so… I guess either one.

What job would you be terrible at?

Um… Pretty much anything… Sort of kidding. Um… I guess I’d be particularly bad at cooking. I can’t cook without totally going into panic mode. It’s really sad. So I guess I’m going with that.

What takes up too much of your time? (Sleeping? TV? Staring at a wall?)

Procrastinating. Browsing social media even when I know there’s nothing interesting going on. It’s awful. A friend of mine said she can’t imagine me wasting time, but oh man do I waste so much time.

What’s your favourite type of physical activity? (Sports? Hiking? Walking? Sitting outside in the sun?)

I like running, but I can only do it for a little while. “We dwarves are natural sprinters.” ;) Another one is swimming, even though that one tires me out pretty quickly, too. Call me cliche, but I love pretending to be a mermaid.

What’s your favourite Bible verse or quote, and why? (Your explanation can be brief, this is not an interrogation)

Acts 17:16-32. The altar to the unknown god. I don’t know exactly why, but that story always just fascinates me. I guess because Paul was able to use something pagan to point to God and the truth, and it’s always cool to me to find things that aren’t Christian, but yet still point to Christ, and maybe are even against Christianity but still point to it in some way. I made that observation with Wonder Woman, and when my little sister read it I thought her response was really deep: “This is how we know God exists; He’s reflected even in secular stories.”

I have to throw this one in here: what’s your favourite book? (I can never answer that question when I’m asked, but just name the latest one you read that you loved)

Well, it’s not the latest one I read and loved, but Heartless by Marissa Meyer. That one was so good!

What movie can you watch over and over without getting tired of it?

The Princess Bride. No contest.

Questions for My Nominees

  1. Who (other than God, of course) do you look up to?
  2. How long would you survive the apocalypse? Justify your answer! (Credit to somebody else for this question (who credited someone else) ’cause it sounded cool)?
  3. Would you rather have a book signed by your favorite author or an album signed by your favorite singer/band?
  4. Do you like writing prompts or would you rather not use them?
  5. Who is your favorite superhero and why?
  6. What is your favorite era? (Medieval, colonial, Civil War, WWI, WWII, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, etc.)
  7. What is your favorite play?
  8. Give a brief description of an old project you cringe at now.
  9. What is your favorite character name? (An existing one, and not one of your own.)
  10. What would your reaction be if your favorite author read and reviewed your current novel?
  11. What would your ideal playlist look like?

You know what’s annoying? When I make these lists of questions I then want to answer them. XD

Thanks for reading! Go check out the blogs I nominated, ’cause they’re awesome, their authors are awesome, just overall awesomeness. And if you have your own blog, link to it in the comments so I can check it out!

Farewell to April and May

I am so, so bad at doing these regularly. *facepalms* Oh well.

April’s Writing

I ended up writing 40k on The Heart of the Baenor for Camp Nano, instead of my goal of 60k. And that makes a three-time losing streak for Camp Nano. Hooray. I wrote 54k during Camp, though. The last week was spent hopping between random stories because I fell into an awful writing slump. :P

April’s Reading

I didn’t do a ton of reading in April, actually. I read about half of First King of Shannara by Terry Brooks, and I read part of The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler, but that’s it.

May’s Writing

Well, April’s writing slump decided to continue into May, so the beginning of this month was entirely nonconstructive. I wrote a tiny bit on a new story of mine (like I really need another one, right?) and progressed tHotB about 500 words. Woopdeedoo.

I did, however, start the next draft of House of Mages. I’m working on getting the money for an editor, also. (If you’d like to help out, I started a GoFundMe page for it.)

I also started on the first book of my series The Daughters of the Hylands, which I’ve been planning for years and just haven’t been able to get working. This is my third try, and I think this one will actually turn out okay. Here’s hoping.

May’s Reading

I continued April’s reading, as well as reading The Curse of the Spider King, the first book in the Berinfell Prophecies by Wayne Thomas Batson, and starting on Timebound by Rysa Walker. Both are very good, and Curse of the Spider King may have bumped Dreamtreaders down on my top five list.

 

Hello to February (Late) & the Beginning of a New Habit (Hopefully)

Hello, readers. :) Today I’m going to start something new and start doing monthly posts so that hopefully I’ll get into a habit of writing regularly. So each month I’ll post sort of a round-up of what I’ve read and written over the month past and what my goals are for the coming month. And since this is late, this post will also have what I’ve already read/written over the current month, plus a cool writing tool I discovered. So without further ado, here’s the post.

January’s Reading

Reading is imperative to writing, but even if it weren’t, it would still be awesome. And January’s reading was pretty cool.

First off, I read The Midnight Thief, by Livia Blackburne, which of course started my whole Deep Worldbuild Project blog series. This book was amazingly written. You know how occasionally you’ll read a book that was so good you can’t find any more reading for the next month because it was so amazing and nothing else is “good enough”? This was one of those. I highly recommend it.

I also finished The Silmarillion, by Tolkien. I started this one back in March-ish of last year, and I finally finished it in late January. It’s a really interesting book, just slow to get through. :P

And this month I reread The Door Within, by Wayne Thomas Batson, who is probably my favorite author. He’s awesome. You should check out his books. They’re amazing. I’ve now reread The Door Within three times.

I started a couple other books, too, that I sent back to the library after just a couple chapters. Usually I try to finish books I start, even if they’re bad, but… I don’t have a lot of grace left over for this particular author. I started Eye of Minds by James Dashner. It could have been good, maybe, if I hadn’t already read the entire Maze Runner series and gotten rather irritated at him and his writing errors (you can read my review post here), but as it was I wasn’t real excited about a book with the same type of “good” organization controlling the MC. No thanks.

On the other hand, I also read The Fever Code in January, and despite making me want to punch the “good” organization in the face the entire time, the book was fairly enjoyable. I like Newt even more now.

January’s Writing

I actually wrote quite a bit in January, and mostly on a story that I’m currently calling Rebellion Ever After. (It would still be called “fairytale retelling” if not for my friend Val, so thanks to her.)

In addition to that, I also wrote some on a rewrite of an oooooooold story of mine called The Half-Elves, which is rather bittersweet. On the one hand, the writing is significantly better because I started this thing seven and a half years ago and finished the first draft three and a half years ago, so my writing is a lot better now. On the other hand, it’s developing better now as well, which means that a couple of important pieces in the original might not even happen in the rewrite.

Other than that I did a little bit of writing in several other WIPs, as well as blogging more (yay!), but overall January wasn’t particularly productive.

February’s Writing

February has only been here for four days and it has already been more productive (or it felt more productive, at least) than January. Most of that, I believe, is thanks to myWriteClub, which I discovered a few days ago thanks to one of my favorite blogs, which was formerly known as She’s Novel and is now called Well-Storied. myWriteClub is a goal-setting site made specifically for writers. You can set goals by number of words, chapters, pages, etc., and you can set up a jillion of them at once. I currently have eight of them up, with all but three of them being novels.

So this month I’ve worked on both Rebellion Ever After and The Half-Elves some more, as well as working on other projects of mine like The Masked Captain, The Lowlines, and the second draft of House of Mages (tedious, but hopefully worth it).

February’s Goals

I am known for setting myself more goals than I can realistically hit, but if you aim for the sun you may get to the moon, even if you don’t get to the sun, and you wouldn’t have even gotten that far if you’d only aimed for the other side of the world. That’s not an amazing analogy, but oh well. Hopefully it got the point across, at least.

So, my goals for this month are mostly writing related. I want to hit the halfway point, at least, with all of my projects by the end of February. My deadline for all of them is the end of March, and I think this is totally doable. Especially since one of my New Year’s goals was to write two thousand words each day. If I write one thousand on each of even just two projects each day, I’m well on my way. Not that I expect to actually be able to stick to that super well. But one can hope, right?

I’d also like to finish the books I’m reading: Spindle by Shonna Slayton, The Rise of the Wyrm Lord by Wayne Thomas Batson, and Virals by Kathy Reichs. I’m reading a couple other books, too, but I know I can’t realistically expect to finish them all by the end of February.

I’d also like to write at least one blog post per week, if not more often. Starting, of course, with today’s posts. I’m thinking of doing a short post about one of my WIPs each of the next eight days (today included), but I don’t know if y’all would be interested in those. So comment below and let me know if you’re interested in that. Each post would have a synopsis (and probably a not-so-great one since I’ve never been amazing at synopses), and a short description of each of the main characters, what the current word count is, what I find most interesting about it, I don’t know. Just random fun facts, maybe some excerpts. I’m not entirely sure yet what those posts would entail. So maybe let me know what interests you in a post like that. I want you guys to enjoy these, I don’t want to just blog because it’s a thing writers do, or something. So let me know what you like to read on a blog and what you like to read about and stuff and I’ll try to write interesting posts. :)

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