Friday, August 28, 2015

Author Interview - Madelynn

Oh look, it’s that time of week where I post again, for your enjoyment.
Today, however, I’d like to do something different.
Look back, before the post begins.
It’s been a busy month, this month. First announcing the winners of my short story contest, and posting their stories each Wednesday after that (not to mention the various critiques to hand out!). We started with Picturesque, a story about a boy who took a picture.
Then we learned about the Faeries of No-Lake,and the terrible justice they demand.
Finally, last week, we laughed, cried, and were moved by the blacksmith who smelled of the Stench of a Dragon’s Throat.
All the while my usual postings on Friday were about Allies, their need to exist, to be worthy of their title, and how they can “shine a light in dark places, when all other lights go out.” (That’s a Tolkien quote, not a quote from the blog post… just for the record.)

Now, now it’s time to return, for a short moment, to one of those short stories. The one that won first place with its humor, and continues to make me smile at the terror it holds. (Well that sounds morbid….) Passing over said story – for it already holds a place on this post as a link – we look at the author of the story. In fact, I interviewed her not too long ago, just for the purpose of this post!
Thus, without further ado (for there’s been much too much of that already), I give you, Madelynn Orion, who most definitely does not smell like a dragon’s throat. To my knowledge. Although… I never did ask her that… We can assume not. Best to assume not.

Hi, Madelynn, and welcome to Story Forger! Tell us a tidbit or two about yourself, if you don’t mind.

Hello!! I’m Madelynn—oh wait, you already know that. I write things, like that short story posted last Wednesday, and my biggest dream is to become a published author.

How/when did you start writing? Why?

I’ve always loved to read stories, and I made up quite a few as a child. I was constantly imagining. However, I think I first got “serious” about novel writing when I was about 9 or 10 years old. That’s when I wrote my first story—or should I say, started my first story. I didn’t finish it for another year and a half at least…which is pretty pathetic since the whole “trilogy” was a grand total of fifty pages between the whole three books. (I later rewrote it and got it up to almost 30,000 words, all three books combined into one.)
As to why I started writing—I wanted to be the youngest published author ever. Now I want to write because I feel like stories are a powerful way of conveying truth.

What are you currently writing? What is it about?

 Many things, actually, but my main focus is on my 8 book series The Myth-Keepers. It’s an epic fantasy following three generations of consecutive heroes as they struggle to keep the Mythical creatures secret from the Ordinary world and fight against a group of villains determined to unleash the Mythical powers upon the Ordinary world. Essentially.
I’ve currently written the first two books, Enter Destiny and Brave the Dark, and am writing the third book, Victorious Fall.

Did anything inspire this project? If so, what was it?

 It’s a long-time culmination of two different projects, a kid/teen espionage and an epic high fantasy. Somehow the two merged and many elements from both of the plots, characters, and world appear in The Myth-Keepers. I could go on for hours about what inspired these projects and how the two different stories meshed into the story it is today.
The foundation and some of the base ideas of The Myth-Keepers (and its preceding ideas) were inspired by these stories: The Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Harry Potter, and the cartoon Codename: Kids Next Door. The cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender helped to initially inspire my magic system of Element-Speaking, though it is different from Bending from the show.

Any other stories you’re meddling with that you want to talk about?

I’m currently writing The Queen of Imagination, a contemporary novel about a girl who runs away so she doesn’t have to move away from all her friends.
The Starlight Saga is also my main project, though on hold right now since I’ve recently finished the first book, Soar. It’s an urban fantasy about a boy named Cooper who seeks to save his mother and sister from Arcturus, a banished Celestrion. At the same time, young Celestrion Fayze is sent to Earth by his mother and joins Arcturus’ Shadow League.

What does your writing process look like?

I start with general brainstorming. After I settle on something I start with setting out a rough synopsis for each book (I usually work in series). When that’s done, I follow up with typing out world-building material (including history, which I use a timeline I make in Excel for) and character profiles. Then I’ll themestorm, when I come up with the themes for each book and the series as a whole and figure out ways to implement said themes. I’ll then outline.
Then I’ll write. Once the rough draft’s finished, I let it sit, then I edit, then I offer it up for critique, and…that’s about as far as I’ve ever gotten with a novel of mine.
But the plan is to use those critiques to edit, then release to a “non-writer” test group of acquaintances, use their feedback to push my novel to the next level, and then hopefully start pitching and get published.

What sorts of things do you do besides writing?

 I play piano, perform in musicals, draw, watch movies, do a lot of school, hang with my family (just about the only social life I have), and sleep. Oh, and drink coffee. Lots of coffee.

Who is your favorite fictional character (feel free to list a top three or something if you can't decide)?

Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings because he’s Sam and he’s amazing and he’s a Hobbit.
Narcissa Malfoy from Harry Potter—I know this one might be hard to believe, but her character intrigues me and actually inspired a character in The Starlight Saga. (By the way, this is Narcissa from the books, not the movies—I hate how they portrayed her character in the films. Anyways.)
Phineas from Phineas and Ferb because I love his optimism and sometimes he reminds me of me.

Do you have any advice for the readers (now is your chance to impress on our young minds your opinions)?

 Young minds, listen here—never give up writing, especially if you’re passionate about it. Critiques help you get better, so don’t let them discourage you. If you ever feel you’re drowning in negativity about your writing, pray. It’s helped me through a lot of writing-related rough spots.

Finally, if you were a pelican, what kind of pelican would you be?

 A pelican that can catch fish, because if you’re a pelican who can’t, well... your chances of survival are substantially lower. 

Thank you for stopping by today! Remember to take some of the complimentary coffee and donuts before you… Oh, it seems we don’t actually have coffee and donuts. Ahem. Well, thank you anyway! (And I’ll get on the coffee and donuts for future interviewees… hmph. I thought for sure we had some.)

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