I will be gone for my friend Hannah’s 18th birthday from Thursday through Sunday, so I won’t be able to moderate your comments or email or facebook with you…. but when I come back, expect pictures and hilarious stories!! See you then!
These are a few questions, as you may have noticed; and since I didn’t have time for a full post, I decided I’d just – well, answer them!
1. Your name? Mirriam Elin Neal. (Mistress Of the Sea Nymph Warrior, if you want the translation. Is that not. the. most. epic. name. ever. I was so excited when I found out all its cryptic meanings!)
2. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Well, I’m a hair under five-foot-ten, I have curly dirty-blond hair, blue-gray-green eyes that are usually more blue-gray than green, I can’t remember dates and deadlines but I can quote lots of movies front to back. I love lots of strange things and am a picky eater. I tend to live inside my head, I love people and I love writing, reading, drawing, music… but you knew this already.
3. Do you have any published books? Not yet! (Yet, mind you!)
4. Tell me about your books. All of them? Ehehe…. There is too much. Let me sum up: I’m writing all the time. And I have been writing all the time since I was about four years old. I have completed three novels, have several half-completed ones, have written numerous short stories, and “have ten stories in my head right now” to quote Jo March.
5. When did you first start writing? I wrote my first real short story when I was thirteen, I won my first award, and that award created a monster.
6. What was your first book? I believe I tried to write the epic literary version of Ice Age. Yes.
7. How did you choose the genre you write in? I write in many genres. At first I only wrote fantasy, then I branched into science fiction, steampunk, thriller, fluff, short stories, semi-dystopic, and my current novel Monster which has no genre at all. Semi-science-fiction and semi-dystopic, partial thriller-romance with some mystery – I’m not certain that’s an actual genre. If you can pinpoint it, I’d love to know.
8. Where do you get your ideas? To coin a phrase from Beethoven, “When I get up in the morning it’s all I can do not to trip over them!” They strike mercilessly from everywhere, and while I love the attention I sometimes get overwhelmed with all the ideas and characters and lines and stories and costumes swirling around in my head.
9. Do you ever experience writer’s block? ’tis the bane of my existence.
10. Do you work with an outline, or just write? I write up a vague, organic outline and allow it to change as I write. It gives me something to work with, but gives me freedom to be creative.
11. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult? The classic Inklings: Tolkien, Lewis, MacDonald. Also Ted Dekker, Frank Peretti, Jane Austen, Shannon Hale, and more authors than I could ever, ever count or thank for inspiring me.
12. Can you tell us about your upcoming book? The year is 2053, and Eva Stewart is a promising young scientist assigned to a remote Alaskan facility to work for WorldCure, a global organization dedicated to finding the cure for fatal diseases. Soon she is made a Handler and designated her own Subject for research and experimentation. But Thirteen is not what she expected, and Eva is soon drawn into a horrific plot kept quiet by WorldCure. As everything she thought she knew begins to collapse around her, Eva must discover the truth behind her damaged, traumatized and tragic Thirteen – and risk her life and her heart in the process.
13. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination? Well, most of the emotions are based on real-life experiences, but I cannot honestly say I have been held captive as a research Subject in the future. I also cannot say that I am an atheist doctor, nor a British professor…
14. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? I have honestly loved the entire thing, but some of my favorite parts include when Mir first speaks to Eva, when Eva explains things like friendship and love to Mir, when Mir kisses Eva for the first time, and Eva’s conversations with Pocky.
15. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment? The toughest criticism… I can honestly say that the people who read my things are the kindest critiquers. Nobody has had huge, harsh complaints with what I write; all complaints have been grammatical errors or technique tips that were helpful to me. As of yet, no one has hated anything I’ve written (or if they have, they haven’t told me) – I honestly don’t know how I will react when the day comes. I hope I can do it with grace, but for now, I remain happy and secure and nestled in my feather-down world of lovely, wonderful critiquers.
16. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers? Don’t try to be someone else. Learn from other authors, learn your craft, learn to love it – but don’t try and fashion your writing after someone else. Also, as I said – love it. Love everything about it, even the days you hate it. Yep – love it all. And another helpful tip – let God guide it, let the characters take the lead, and write it all down as fast as you can.