Here's a list of questions (and the responding answers) that I had a bunch of far too smart kids ask me this week. I wish I was half as clever at their age....
Q. What inspired your writing? I like sports
There were a lot of interesting experiences that I wanted to let other people experience through my eyes. Along with that, I was and am hoping to help inspire people to push past challenges. (I also like sports)
Q. What made you want to go into writing books?
I really enjoyed reading, and still do. At some point in high school, I made the decision that I wanted to try and translate all of that reading into writing my own stories.
Q. What was your greatest writing experience?
I may be misinterpreting your question, but the greatest experience I had while writing was in Scotland. I had the chance to grab a coffee and write at the same coffee shop J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter in. It was pretty crowded with tourists like me, but still really cool.
Q. How old were you when you started writing or wanted to start writing books
Thinking back to when I made a conscious decision to finish a book and make the time every day to work on it, I had just turned 20.
Q. What is your greatest memory of writing a book and what is your favorite book that you have written?
Since I only have the one published, I'd have to say A Leaf and Pebble since I actually finished. Greatest memory would have to be the Scotland writing experience.
Q. What inspired you to want to write the book, “A Leaf and Pebble”?
Honestly, I loved a book called The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, so much that it made me want to write for real.
Q. What made you get into writing?
Besides wanting to share stories, I realized after I was out of school that as a person, I needed a creative outlet. Writing had been a passion, and I wanted to pursue it.
Q. What made you want to write books?
Mostly reading a lot of books, and loving how they grew me as a person. I also won a persuasive essay contest in 3rd grade that made me feel like I was pretty cool.
Q. When did you start writing?
I kept a little journal back in high school for stories and ideas I wanted to write. I'd make little starts on them before chickening out. Right before my 20th birthday, I kicked over into making a committed effort to writing a book out.
Q. Will there be a second book?
It's coming along slowly, but it is on the way!
Q. Was it your dream since you were a little kid to write and make books?
I always thought being an author would be cool, but I wanted to be a magician or an actor when I was a kid.
Q. Where did you get the idea to write “A leaf and Pebble”?
It was a mix of Avatar the Last Airbender, and a book called Lies of Locke Lamora. by Scott Lynch, I wanted to combine the two, at least some of the broader brushstrokes, into a story of my own creation.
Q. Have you always liked reading?
I have! Growing up, my family was not really well off, so books were one of my only forms of entertainment. Plus, theres so many good stories out there!
Q. What made you start writing?
Mostly a mix of reading and adventure leading to me wanting to share stories and books being the only way I knew how.
Q. When you write about someone's interpersonal thoughts do you Italicize or do you quotate?
I try to not write from someone's inner thoughts generally. I like First person limited or third person limited. That said, I think you're technically supposed to go for italicized words for thoughts. That way if someone's thinking about something another person said, you can have the italics and quotations. Stylistic grammar choices range though, so just own what you do if you're writing your own story, and try to be consistent. Advice from a guy who's made lots of mistakes on that front, and even published a book with a few still in it.
Q. When you began writing did you ever experience writers block? And if so
how did you overcome it?
I never really experienced writers block. For me, it was generally a lack of motivation. That said, I hear walks and forced boredom are both really good for getting past writer's block.
Q. If you got the chance to work with any other author who would you work
with and why?
I'd really like to work with someone like Neil Gaiman or Brandon Sanderson. Both of them are some of the best writers the world has ever seen, and it would be cool to see how their minds work and what the nitty gritty of their process is. Plus, it sure wouldn't hurt my reputation.
Q. Who was your #1 supporter during your writing process and how did that
help you write?
This is embarassing now, but for most of the time period I was writing, I didn't tell anyone that I was doing it. Let me be clear- that is exactly the wrong way to go about it. But, I was embarrassed to be seen "trying" and didn't want people to judge me for either not finishing, or finishing poorly. It's easy to come up with excuses and reasons, but you should totally tell people if you start writing a book. That said, my family as a whole was really my strongest support group when I actually confessed to wanting to be a writer, though I also had some really important friends that helped me along the way as well.
Q. Did you grow up enjoying to write?
Not necessarily. I always liked stories, and I loved playing games. For a long time though, writing was something that you did at school, and I didn't realize how much freedom and fun could be found in writing for myself.
Q. On a scale of 1/10 how much did you relate to the book?
At some points, I was 100% a one. There were parts that I specifically wrote because I wanted to explore something I'd never experienced. But, there's also plenty of moments that come directly from my experiences, and that would be 10/10 on the relatable scale. Overall, I'd average it to a 6/10.
Q. What was the most difficult part of writing a book?
The daily effort. For me, writing is something I have to make time for every single day. It's fun and rewarding, but just like practicing an instrument, or learning something new, it can be hard and emotionally draining. A lot of days come by in which I'd rather play video games, read a book, or just go stuff my face full of cereal while watching Netflix. Getting past those feelings and sitting down to write consistently is incredibly hard.
Q. What was the publishing process like?
I went the Indie Writer route. If you want to learn more about actual publishing, Brandon Sanderson has a really great YouTube on the topic here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSa7ptjOLz8. The self publishing/indie writer option is rewarding and terrifying. For one, all the marketing efforts, cover creation, sourcing and such were on me. I had to ask friends to edit for me as I couldn't afford a real editor, and that embarrassed me a little. Apart from that though, it's cool to know that all of your efforts are directly affecting you, and you have the ultimate choice in what happens with your art.
Q. What inspired you to write?
There wasn't any one thing that pushed me over the edge. I loved Rothfuss' book, and the beautiful prose it had. I wanted to create stories and have an impact on people like I'd been impacted by other authors. I was and am hoping to find a career that doesn't have as much The Office feel to it like a lot of people end up with after finishing school. I also just really wanted an excuse to read more books, and being a writer seemed like a great way to make that a reality.
Thanks a ton for all of the questions guys! You are all too kind, and it was my pleasure to get a little introspective here. Feel free to reach out if you have any further thoughts, questions, or comments! Much love, Andrew Monroe