Hi Readers! This week I would like to introduce you to Janice Hardy. She writes a blog, Fiction University, which always has something that resonates with me.Author bio
Janice Hardy is the founder of Fiction University, and the author of the teen fantasy trilogy The Healing Wars, where she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her novels include The Shifter, (Picked as one of the 10 Books All Young Georgians Should Read, 2014) Blue Fire, and Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. The first book in her Foundations of Fiction series, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure is out now. She is also a contributor at Pub(lishing) Crawl, and Writers in the Storm.
Ava: Is there one person/group/thing that inspires and/or encourages you more than anything else?Janice: My husband has always encouraged me and been so supportive about my writing, and it helps a lot to have a partner who gets your passion. I also have two writing buddies who are my rocks (Ann and Juliette). We share work and offer feedback to each other and we're always there with a hug or a cheer when it's needed.
Ava: Describe your writing zone. Have you built a place in your home that is your “Author Cave?” Or do you write anywhere and everywhere?Janice: I used to write in a few places, mostly my desk in my office or on my laptop in the living room when I really needed to focus. My office is the best place when I'm editing. I have two monitors, so I can have feedback and notes on one and the manuscript on the other. While doing NaNoWriMo this year, I've discovered I get a lot more creative drafting done when I can shut myself away and focus. I'm about to carve out a writing cave in one of my guest rooms. Just me, a desk, and my laptop.
Ava: Are you a Plotter or a Pantser or a combination of the two?
Janice: Plotter for sure, though I do like to let my characters make their own choices in the drafting process. I need my plot points figured out before I start writing, otherwise I spend too much time chasing ideas that don't move my story forward. The more I can figure out beforehand, the easier that first draft is. And summarizing a novel makes it easier to throw out ideas and try something new, because I haven't spent time writing nine chapters before I discovered that's not the best way to go. I will follow the muse though, but I keep her on a tight leash.
Ava: Do your characters ever “take the wheel” and lead you in an unplanned direction?Janice: All the time. I always know where I'm going plotwise, but rarely how I'll get there. I point the characters at the goal and see how they solve their problems. It's a nice mix of plotting and pantsing that lets me keep control and stay focused, while also letting the story grow organically.
Ava: What is one thing you must have at hand when you write?Janice: Valencia Orange Refreshers from Starbucks. Can't get enough of those things.
Ava: What is your favorite part of being a writer?Janice: Having story pieces come together in unexpected ways, and that takes the story to amazing places. There's just something fun when a little throwaway detail suddenly becomes the key to fantastic plot twist. It's like my subconscious knew I'd need it later, even if it didn't tell me at the time.
Ava: What is your least favorite part of being a writer?
Janice: The uncertainty of publishing in general. You can spend two years on a novel and not be able to sell it. That can be stressful and sap your creativity.Ava: Do you prefer to work under a deadline?
Janice: I do. I like having target dates to aim for to motivate me. Without them, it's too easy for me to get distracted and not get anything done.Ava: What is your favorite quote? Who said it? What do you like most about it?
Janice: "Don't get it right, get it written." by Ally Carter. It's a great reminder not to get caught up with making everything perfect and to get the story down first. Once you see how a story unfolds, then you can make it better.Ava: Describe your next writing project. Fiction and/or Non-Fiction.
Janice: I have several things in the works right now. There's a YA futuristic suspense that's with my agent and will be going out on submission soon. I'm working on an adult paranormal suspense for NaNo that I'm having a blast with. And I'm in the planning/prepping stages of the next writing book for my Foundations of Fiction series.About your book
Ava: Is there a story behind how you came up with the idea for your series? If so, can you share it?Janice: I'd been playing around with various fantasy tropes, trying to turn them on their ears and into something new. During that time, I went to see the first X-Men movie. One of the characters (my favorite superhero) is Rogue, and she has the ability to steal people's powers by touch. She has no control over this and it causes her a lot of heartache. When I left the theater, I thought, "Gee, I wonder if you could do that with healing?" Could you bump into someone and accidentally heal them? This idea went through a lot of brainstorming sessions, but eventually I developed a world where healers healed by pulling pain and injury from people and storing it in a magical metal, and that pain-filled metal was turned into weapons. People literally bought and sold pain. My protagonist was a girl who couldn't put pain into the metal, only other people--she was a weapon all by herself, and I loved the conflict of a healer who was also a weapon. At the core, I wanted to do a story where healing could be used for good or evil, and it had consequences and repercussions.
Ava: How do you balance your time between writing your own Fiction, writing such a helpful blog as the Fiction University, and writing your Non-Fiction books on the craft of writing?Janice: Some days I have no idea (grin). I try to set aside blocks of time to work on different projects. Fiction gets my mornings, as that's when I'm the most creative. The blog gets afternoons and Saturdays, because that type of writing uses a different part of my brain, and that part still works after 12pm. I also alternate between projects, so one is out with beta readers while I'm drafting another.
Ava: What is the next book in your Foundation of Fiction series? Do you have a publication date for it at this time?Janice: The next one is Developing Characters and Character Arcs, and I'm aiming for a spring/summer release. The writing books always take more work than I expect though, so that might change as I get into it.
Thank you so much, Janice, for visiting The Road to a Dream. It’s been an honor to introduce you to my readers.Have a great holiday week, everyone. Until next time…be kind to each other…and to yourselves.