Book Nerd Interview
Greatest thing you learned at school
I think the greatest insight I gained in school was from my English teacher in 10th grade. Beginning with Catcher in the Rye, she showed us every author has a worldview, and whether they realize it or not, that is being expressed in their writing. It’s beneficial as a reader to pick at the text until you find it. Then you may choose to agree or disagree. But you won’t be taking it in and changing without your knowledge.
Conversely, as a writer, I want to stay aware of my truth lying beneath my words. I need to make sure it is worth my time to write it and another’s time to read it.
Defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer
Because I was a serious ballet student, I didn’t have writing aspirations for publication. However, in 6th grade I won a Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest and gained self-awareness that I was a writer.
What fiction most influenced your childhood, and what effect did those stories have on HIT?
This was fun to think about as I hadn’t really pieced the influence together. But going back, I landed on two titles by Lois Duncan: Killing Mr. Griffin and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Makes sense, yes? Thanks for helping me realize that!
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
I encourage them to read as much as possible, letting elements sink into their own work: pacing, cadence, language, etc. By writing extensively, those characteristics which are true to them will soak in and the rest will evaporate. By immersion in others’ words and then writing your own stories, your own unique voice and style will bloom.
Is there such a thing as a formula for storytelling?
Writers can follow a formula for their story. And likely readers will see it and grow bored as quickly as the story took to craft. On the other hand, there are repetitive quests and themes common to humanity, and those can be found in shared myths across cultures. The hero and heroines’ quest have trajectories that are repeated over and over. I don’t think of it as a formula but rather a map that we all weave along, in literature and life.
Books on this subject that have been invaluable to me include: The Writer’s Journey, The Heroine’s Journey, Women Who Run with the Wolves, Hero with a Thousand Faces, and Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principle of Screenwriting.
Mr. Haddings has noticed Sarah's attention; the fallout from any perceived relationship with a student is too great a risk, and he has decided to end all speculation that morning.
But everything changes when Mr. Haddings feels a thud on his front bumper when he glances away from the road, and finds Sarah in the street with blood pooling beneath her.