Written: The Interview
When I began transitioning the site, I knew I would be adding more posts, which meant I needed to remove more of my personal stuff. This included changing my “About Me” page to the Meet the Writers, since it is now a team effort. (By the way, have you met the team yet?)
I decided to give you my interviews here in one post, as another way of introducing myself (or reaquainting for some) to you. Enjoy!
What is your name (real or otherwise)?
My moniker is SAM, but I’ve recently started using my name, Stephanie Ayers.
Describe your writing style in three words.
Chilling, emotional, descriptive
How long have you been writing online?
I wrote my first online short story, titled The Heat Is On, on July 23, 2010. I started blogging February 21,2010.
Which writing challenges do you participate in?
I participate in Inspiration Monday, the writing prompts from Studio 30+, Picture It and Write, 3 Word Wednesday, #FridayFlash, and I host two weekly writing memes on Our Write Side called Master Class and Fractured Friday. Sometimes I find inspiration from various other sites, but these are the ones who inspire my muse the most.
Describe one way in which you could improve your writing.
I really need to work on adverbs and adjectives. I’m somewhat purple and need to learn not to overwrite.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Just write, even when you don’t feel like it. Just sit down and write. Even if it’s rubbish. The blank page is only as intimidating as you let it be.
Who is your favorite author?
Stephen King, hands down is my favorite author, followed closely by JRR Tolkien and Terry Brooks.
How do you make time to write?
I am fortunate to be able to devote the weekdays when all four of my children are in school to writing. I try to keep my evenings and weekends free for my family.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I’m not writing, I’m usually playing parent to four scoundrels, hanging out on Facebook, window shopping, or reading. For downtime, I usually relax in front of the television three or four evenings a week to catch a favorite show like The Voice, Once Upon A Time, American Horror Story, etc.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I usually find interesting eBooks in the 100 best free kindle section of Amazon, by word of mouth, or promotion on Facebook. I currently have more books in my Kindle app than I will probably be able to read this year.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first story I remember writing was a fourth grade assignment about a talking and dancing peanut. I have no memory of what the story was really about, and unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of it, either.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is like asking me to choose a favorite child! Though I am mostly a horror and fantasy fan, I read in many genres. Here are the first five that come to mind:
- The Stand by Stephen King- I pretty much love almost everything he has ever written, but this is the one story that has always stayed with me, entices me to write as creatively.
- Divergent by Veronica Roth-this is a new favorite because I am the protagonist in this story.
- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke-I have yet to see the movie because I’m afraid it will ruin the book for me, I love it that much. Reading people in and out of stories is an amazing idea of magic in a story rich with interesting, inventive characters, even as she skillfully weaves the modern world and the fantasy one together.
- The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton-The vivid descriptions and lack of cliches inspire my own writing.
- Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll-what’s NOT to love about this book? I’m thoroughly jealous of his imagination and Wonderland is one of my favorite escapes ever.
Describe your desk/writing space:
My desk is a light wood fragile beast with a small hutch and three drawers situated neatly on the far wall of the small office built into a converted garage. It is neat but a bit cluttered, much like my mind.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I’m born and bred just south of the Mason-Dixon line in good ol’ Virginia. I’d say my upbringing influenced my writing more than my location did, however, the days spent turning the gully behind my house into a rushing ravine and the willow tree that stood at the entrance to the woods certainly helped keep my imagination alive and thriving. Many afternoons were spent hiking the ravine as rescuers, or in need of rescue, running from the creatures that haunted it, and having long conversations with the fairies that lived underneath the boughs of that tree.
When did you first start writing?
My first memory of writing is that fourth grade assignment I mentioned above. Mr. Peanut was my inspiration and my teacher sharing it with the class was such an encouragement that I kept writing. I remember teachers sharing my stories with the class as I grew older, which only continued to fuel the fire within me. I won first place in a regional school writing contest in sixth grade with a nonfiction story about penguins based on a prompt about animals. I also won first place as a freshman for the same contest, then went on to state and took fourth place. I started writing “chapter books” as a teenager, though I never completed one. In my early 20s, I wrote mostly songs and poems instead of stories. After a long time of not writing anything, I started blogging in 2010, which led me to a writing group, then called The Red Dress Club, which awakened my muse. I’ve been writing non-stop since.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When my readers react to my stories, when I’ve managed to touch their emotions in some way or to carry them away to another place, that is when I experience the greatest joy.
What do your fans mean to you?
They challenge me to write better, to want to keep them at the edge of the seat, to make them keep turning the pages, and never wanting my stories to end. Their reactions encourage me to keep writing, and most of all, to continue sharing my words.
Here’s a quote that sums it all up in a nutshell: “The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.”- Ursula K. Le Guin
What are you working on next?
I am currently working on several things: I am putting a collection of my horror stories together in hopes of publishing while my readers await the fantasy story I’ve been writing for over two year snow, currently titled “A Most Unlikely Hero.” This story is about a small and scrawny human, Edgar, who is convinced by Tribba, a dwarf, to put his own journey aside and champion her against her elven neighbors in the Elven Games so she doesn’t lose her home and her livelihood. I am also working on finishing a long short story titled “Rolling in the Deep.” It’s almost finished, but life keeps getting in the way.