Sunday, April 21, 2013

Interview With Teen Author Miriam Joy

Here it is! The long-awaited recently announced interview with fantastic (and hilarious) teen author Miriam Joy, author of St. Mallory's Forever! Miriam will be responding to comments and answering any questions you might have, so be sure to leave her one! Enjoy! :D

1. Who or what inspired you to write?
I've been writing for so long that I can't really remember how I got started. However, the first thing I properly remember writing of my own accord was a play that was heavily influenced by JRR Tolkien. Oh, and I wrote Lord of the Rings fan fiction, though I didn't know what "fan fiction" was at the time. Later, the author Kate Thompson was a massive inspiration for me. Her novel "The New Policeman" was one of the main reasons I got interested in Celtic mythology, something that I write about a lot now. What was more, when I was about eleven or twelve I emailed her explaining how much she meant to me; after some correspondence, I sent her a story of mine and she encouraged me to keep writing. So she was a huge influence on me. But I think generally it was books that inspired me to write. Which would make sense.

2. What are your top three favorite novels?
Wow, so that's a difficult question. I find it hard to differentiate between "novels that influenced me" and "novels that are AMAZING", so I'm going to choose three that are on both lists. That means that even if something was awesome, it might not be here, because it didn't influence me. Maggie Stiefvater's "Ballad" is one of my all-time favourites and I re-read it whenever I'm sad. I absolutely adore the Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud, too, but my favourite of those would be "Ptolemy's Gate". And "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett will forever hold a very special place in my heart because it is the funniest novel about the apocalypse that I have ever read.

3. What is your favorite genre?
Well, I love Young Adult fiction, but that's a very broad term, as it incorporates a whole load of other genres. I think my favourite genre would have to be science fiction / fantasy, even if I have particular subgenres I prefer (for example, I'm a MASSIVE fan of 'urban fantasy' but not of 'paranormal romance'. The latter is similar to the former but with more kissing and less torture. Ugh). When I stray into Adult fiction, which is often, it's usually the SF section of the library, though I particularly like humorous fantasy such as Tom Holt or Terry Pratchett.

4. What is your favorite thing about writing?
Being able to take revenge on people I know in a way that doesn't get me arrested, i.e. writing them into books and then killing them painfully. No, I'm kidding. I just love writing. I love having the chance to live entirely different lives through my characters, and experience things I won't do in real life. It's also a great emotional outlet and sometimes I use my characters' problems to work through my own. I love the idea that one day I might help someone else work through their problems. And I like watching my beta readers' reactions when I do something awful to their favourite characters. There's a lot of that evil-genius style glee involved in my writing process, I'm not going to lie.

5. What inspired you to write St. Mallory's Forever!?
This question is difficult, because it wasn't actually my idea -- it was Mark's (one half of the Saffina Desforges writing partnership; yes, there are two of them). He's always wanted to write a novel set in a boarding school, and when he found out that Charley actually went to a boarding school, he wanted to collaborate. Initially, I just kind of came along for the ride. While I formed just as many of the characters and plot points as, say, Charley, the initial idea process wasn't mine.

6. What is your favorite thing about writing the same book with other authors? How about your least favorite thing?
Favourite thing is knowing that I'll get a reaction immediately, so I'll know if something works (and if it does, I get to watch them crack up over a line or whatever). Also, if I get stuck I knew I could just ask one of the others to work on it. However, I'm a control freak and it's hard to get over that to relinquish aspects of plot to other people; it can also be frustrating when documents cross in emails, edits don't go through, or people seem to be working to a different timescale! Fortunately we managed to overcome our difficulties though.

7. What advice would you give to other teen authors who want to get published?
Have a blog (that's how I met Mark). Talk to other writers on the internet (that's how I met Charley). Keep writing, keep improving, and make sure you're always learning. Be willing to take advice. Read craft blogs and industry blogs so you know what the writing world is doing before you send out a novel. And don't let anyone tell you that you're too young to be a writer. Follow your dreams! :)

8. Is there anything else you would like to add?
A fifty foot inflatable pink aardvark? Every blog post needs one ... what? That's not possible? Okay, I think we're done here.

Thank you so much, Miriam, for letting me interview you! And remember, she will be responding to comments so feel free to leave her a question, compliment, and anything else that comes to mind.


Rich said...

Awww, that was an awesome post! And I wright a little bit, I don't think I'm as good as every one says... But I do have 2 chapters on my blog

1st chapter;

2nd chapter ;

If anyone wants to read'em.

The Magic Violinist said...

You're only as good as you think you are, so think positive! ;) Keep practicing!

By the way, I got a sample of your book on my Kindle and the story is intriguing so far! :D

Dr. Mark said...

Excellent interview! I really enjoyed reading it. I think it's amazing how much the internet is bringing so many young authors together. Kudos to all of you for putting yourselves out there and networking. This is a skill a lot of adults could work on, myself included. Thanks!

Charley Robson said...

Ehehehe, that's my co-author! Have to say I just second everything she writes here - especially the 'evil genius' emotions of writing. I think Mark was a little worried we were going to kill something because we seemed to enjoy causing havoc. Well, maybe HE wasn't, but I entertained doubts on the matter anyway :P

The Magic Violinist said...

Thanks! :D Miriam is wonderful!

Thanks for commenting over here, Charley! :D I'd probably be concerned, too, if I didn't do the exact same thing in my writing. ;) (Kidding). But I did tick off a few of my friends after killing off a certain character in one of my books. (My best friend yelled at me).

Boquinha said...

Love this post! Like I said in your previous post, I'm so intrigued by Miriam Joy as an author AND as a person, based on many of her blog posts. Impressive girl!!

One thing in this interview that gave me a good chuckle was seeing you ask her about her "favorite" and seeing her respond about her "favoUrite." Do British people know how enamored we Americans are with them??

Love it. All of her answers sounded British in my head (well, I mean, of course they did). I'm just thoroughly entertained by that. It's the simple things . . .

I have a question for Miriam (and I'd love it if Charley and Mark would like to chime in on this as well):

I'd like to know how, of all the authors you meet online, did the 3 of you, in particular, decide to work together? Were you seeking each other out? Did it sort of just naturally evolve? Did you look for matching "voices" or similar writing styles or was it more of a "let's just go for it" kind of whim? I saw the "boarding school" connection, but when it comes to actual writing style, what did you all think/consider? Thanks!

Boquinha said...

P.S. One of the things I love about interviews like this is learning new things, discovering new books, blogs, etc. I looked up "Good Omens" and it looks HILARIOUS! Thank you for that recommendation!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Boquinha!

So, Charley and I had been very good friends since 2009, and we'd collaborated before. Mark found us via my blog, which led him to Charley's. Because she went to an actual boarding school, he saw her as a super useful person to work with (obviously), but he also knew that I was a teen writer, and as our characters are teens, we wanted the authenticity that teen writers can bring to their voices. And I wasn't going to let Charley get published without me :D So while it happened by accident, Charley and I had already written together and were more than happy to work together again.

In writing style we didn't really consider it. St Mall's is very different from what Charley and I usually write (pain, angst and death, mainly), so we were having to change our 'voice' to fit it. It's written in the style of blog posts, so it was also a lot different in terms of formality to what we generally do. So that wasn't really a concern - we knew we'd be fitting our voices around the story, and not the other way around. As Charley and I wrote a lot of our early stuff at the same time, and read each other's work, we've developed the ability to imitate each other, too. Or at least, I sometimes imitate her. Don't know if she imitates me ;D

Good Omens is brilliant. I would recommend it to everyone.

Anonymous said...

@The Magic Violinist (sorry, I don't know what to call you):

I yelled at Charley for ages after she killed one of her characters. There was a lot of profanity involved. I was furious. Mind you, she did the same to me when I killed one of mine, so it's a mutual torture-thy-beta-reader thing.

The Magic Violinist said...

A lot of British spellings/grammar things make much more sense to me than stuff Americans do. (What's with putting punctuations INSIDE the quotation marks)?

Magic Violinist, Kate, you there, bottom commenter, evil fiend, whatever works for you. ;) (Though I HAVE been called a purple bunny before by my friend's crazy cousin, and I just don't think it fits). Luckily I've never had to deal with my friends killing off beloved characters. Most of the time we're plotting together how we're going to kill a character that we hate. ;)

Boquinha said...

Thank you, Miriam! I love hearing back stories. One more follow-up question: Have you and Charley met in person?

Whenever we get over to England, we'll have to meet our friends "across the pond!"

Anonymous said...

Boquinha -
Charley and I spent a weekend together at my house in November. That's unfortunately our only 'real life' meeting so far, though we regularly Skype, sometimes for hours at the time. If all goes according to plan, I'll be spending a week with her in the summer at her house! :)

Anonymous said...

Cool interview! It would be cool to write a book with someone else, especially if you can't meet in person to work on stuff.

Boquinha said...

OMG, what a great idea. Nevillegirl should totally come visit us this summer and you two (TMV and Nevillegirl) can write a book together. :)

The Magic Violinist said...

We should totally do that! ;) I haven't actually written an entire book with anyone else and I think it would be really fun to do.