Originally hosted on My Fiction Nook
Let’s take another look at what went into “Portraits of a Faerie Queen” behind the scenes!
When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it?
Freshmen year of high school. It was a joint effort between me and my best friend. We had a notebook and we would pass it back and forth between classes. I don’t remember any real inspiration, per se. We just really enjoyed those characters we had created and wanted to see what they would do. I was particularly attached to one character in particular, Caleb, because he was biracial like me and I had honestly never seen another character with my background at that point.
I’m still trying to put together a real book out of our ideas. I think readers would enjoy them as much as we did, especially since they’ve grown so much over the years. I just have to figure out how to piece it together.
Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?
Mostly when I can find the time, but I do try to find the time everyday.
Briefly describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first? Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?
I’m a hardcore plotter. I used to pants when I was in college and nothing ever got done, so I switched gears. I do listen to a lot of music when I write, though. I have different Spotify playlists for each type of scene I go back and add to from time to time.
Where did the desire to write LGBTQIA+ stories come from?
I realized I was queer while I was attending a Christian college and I was a very involved youth group kid growing up, so coming to a place where I feel comfortable in my skin has been quite the journey. While I always had plenty of accepting friends and my college had a good support system in place for LGBTQIA+ students (they did in my opinion, anyway,) seeing characters like me still did loads of good. It helped me feel like we had a place in the outside world and seeing those characters experiencing happy endings gave me hope.
I’d like to pay that sense of peace and comfort forward, especially to teenagers. High school was honestly not a great time for me, and I think a lot of that was due to not feeling like I fit in the world the way I was supposed to. I want to teens to know that they’re fine the way they are and that they are worthy of love, and all the adventures life has to offer. Most importantly, I want them to know things will be okay in the end.
How much research do you do when writing a story and what are the best sources you’ve found for giving an authentic voice to your characters?
It depends on the story. For “Portraits,” it was mostly researching faerie lore, and reading other retellings of Tam Lin. For “Smile Like You Mean It,” a short story also coming out from NineStar Press, it was watching a ton of Japanese horror movies. For the book I’m working on now, it’s been reading old manuscripts about Ireland’s mythological history. My curiosity is all over the place, so my research is all over the place.
As far as an authentic voice for characters goes, I try to start with a theme for each character. For example, the theme for both the antagonist and protagonist of “Portraits” is “Responsibility.” I sat down and tried to figure out what sort of struggles would a person deal with if their sense of responsibility, whether to a family or an entire realm, was a central part of their identity? How would they interact with other people? How did that come to be so important to them? Questions of that nature usually get me off and running.
What’s harder, naming your characters, creating the title for your book or the cover design process?
Character naming, hands down. You’ve got to find names that stand out and are memorable, but still appropriate for the time and place all while making sure everyone can still pronounce them if you decide to get creative.