Krissi Dallas (KD): I wrote the Phantom Island series. It's about a group of teens at summer camp who find a portal to magical island. It's got adventure, romance, magic, drama, friendships. There will be four more books, but with time gap between them.
Jeramey Kraatz (JK): The Cloak Society is about a supervillain society. My main character was born into it; his parents run the organization. Teen superheros show up during heist; he saves one and has to decide if he can be a good guy but also prove himself to parents.
Mary Gray (MG): The Dollhouse Asylum is about teens who have been granted asylum from apocalypse, but have to reenact tragic love stories or die. It's a standalone. I'm working on something different. It's the type of story about one big moment so it's a standalone.
Victoria Scott (VS): The Dante trilogy is about a seventeen year old guy, sexy, cocky, who goes to work for the devil collecting souls.
Q1. Plotter or pantser?
MG: I was a pantser, but that may change. To be seen.
JK: Talking about plotting versus pantsing with kids, I thought it meant people pulling pants down. I'm a plotter. I always start with about 20 pages so I've got about 2000 words under my belt. I have to know where I'm going.
KD: I'm somewhere in between. I know my major points and make it up in between. I like my characters to dictate where they go. I recommend My Story Can Beat Up Your Story [by . Every project is different.
HR: I am a pantser. Yeah... I've tried plotting, but...no. It hems me in, feels like I'm handcuffed. The story starts organically with a character. I do plan ahead each day so I know where I'm going and what I want from each scene but nothing too rigid.
VS: I want to be a pantser, but I'm totally a plotter. I write a one-sentence pitch for my book, then write one main internal goal and external goal. For example, a character wants to buy a house (external goal), but her internal goal is that she wants a family. You often have to let go of the external goal to achieve the internal goal. I write out act 1, 2, 3, then add in bullet points. I think of scenes and where they should go.
Q2. How do you come up with your ideas?
HR: Anywhere. Pretty Dark Nothing came from own experiences with night terrors and depression when I was younger. What if that voice that tells you you're not good enough... this girl can see demons who exploit those fears. I saw a documentary on the Dust Bowl and got interested in that time period and want to do a story in that time. I have some ideas for that. I was sitting by the sea in Scotland when the character came, fully formed. I wrote four pages, couldnt do anything with her then because I was doing edits but maybe someday.
VS: I get my ideas kind of from ripping off other people. I heard about a book about a year and a half ago, loved it, but not what I expected so I wrote what I expected to, and that became Fire & Flood. Many ideas come from movies.
MG: I was living in Virginia and wanted to move to Texas. Since I couldn't move there yet, I wrote a book about going to Texas. I've been around manipulative people and wanted to explore that so I wrote about a girl trying to escape that poisonous relationship. I think the current day is lame because everyone is always on their phones; we don't interact so now I'm on a historical kick.
JK: This is the great and awful thing about ideas: they're everywhere, but I can only write so many of them. That's why there are so many unfinished novels on my computer. I read and collect comic books. I was doing a project in college and interning at Marvel for X-men, and I wondered, "What about this medium has me coming back? What do I like? What do I not like?" Villains exist for heroes to punch; then they disappear. There are lots of hero origin stories but not for villains. Oh, by the way, my cat's name is Loki. What would a kid supervillain be like? I filled notebooks full of questions. Writing a book is just answering those questions.
KD: I wanted to do something different. I couldn't do guitar because of my nails. I wanted to write novel or do music video with my students. Watching LOST, I started playing with an idea if a group of teens found an island. I spent a month plotting world and tribes. Spy novel I'm working on, had a dream, at flight school to become pilot, walked past window and a guy was there, but he was supposed to be dead.
Q3. What are you working on now in one word? [boy, authors ARE bad at math! :P]
JK: I'm working on the third book for Cloak Society. I hate this word, but... epic.
VS: Revenge.... prostitution....
HR: Sequel, sacrifice.
Q4. Favorite ice cream
VS: Fish food
MG: Cookie dough
JK: Chocolate w nuts
KD: Braums peppermint
Q5. Football: watch or fall asleep
KD: Watch football
[I think everyone else said they'd fall asleep]
Q6. Tea or coffee
MG: Hot chocolate
[Everybody else booed because hot chocolate wasn't an option, but I defended Mary's choice because she and I seriously don't drink tea or coffee. It's a religious thing.]
Q8. Who would win in a fight: you or the person to your left?
MG: Jeremy would win
JK: Krissi would win
KD: Heather would win
Q9. You have twenty bucks. What do you spend it on?
HR: Books or Xbox games
Q10. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
VS: Mexican food
MG: Beef jerkey
KD: French fries or pizza
Q11. What are you watching on tv right now?
JK: American Horror Story
KD: Big Bang Theory
HR: Sleepy Hollow
Q12. Favorite city.
Q13. [I don't remember this question, which sucks because clearly it was a good one! May have been wrestling an alligator vs lion.]
VS: Death by alligator. I want the death roll!
MG: Can't face either one
JK: Alligator because it's cooler. Swampy and atmospheric.
KD: Alligator bec allergic to cats. Unfair advantage.
HR: Alligator because it will fall asleep if you flip it over.
Q14. Will you participate in NaNoWriMo?
VS: Yes! Just signed up. Going to continue my current wip [work in progress] but I just want to hashtag all day long.
MG: No. I would neglect my children.
KD: I would like to, but I need to finish my current novel.
HR: I can't do nano because I'm currently doing edits due December 15.
Q15. Who is your favorite hero or villain?
VS: Joker, all day long. Especially Heath Leger.
MG: Scarecrow, played Cilian Murphy.
JK: Gambit! I have a poster of Gambit framed on my wall. Gallactis is my favorite villain.
KD: Loki just because of Tom Hiddleston. Superman has been there all my life, but I currently love Iron Man. Maybe that's just RDJ.
HR: Wolverine, but maybe that's Hugh Jackman. Lex Luther.
Q16. How long have been writing?
VS: I started writing 3 years ago in October.
MG: I grew up in a house where it was considered a waste of time to read fiction or write.
JK: I've always been a writer, but don't let that discourage you if you haven't always been. I didn't know would write for kids or even write fiction.
KD: Always. I wrote my first book in third grade. It was about a girl who formed band and became a rock star, then woke up and it was all a dream. I called it Golden Afternoon because I loved Alice in Wonderland and the flowers.
HR: Since I can remember. I used to compile stories I loved, rip them off [her notebook], staple them and carry around the house. When I was 19 or 20, I relized it could be a serious career. Just writing.
Q17. What did you read as a kid and what have you recently loved?
VS: R.L. Stine. Christopher Pike. The Lovely and the Lost & The Beautiful and the Cursed [by Paige Morgan].
MG: Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. Recently, research and lots of nonfiction. Steelheart [by Brandon Sanderson].
JK: Lois Lowry. The Ruins. The Shining. If You Could Be Mine [by Sara Farizan].
KD: R.L. Stine. Christopher Pike. Trixie Belden. The Baby-Sitters Club. Sweet Valley High. Nancy Drew. Recently: Pretty Dark Nothing. Splintered by A.G. Howard. The Collector.
HR: Christopher Pike. V.C. Andrews. Anne Rice. Dean Koontz. The Archived by Victoria Schwab.
Q18. KitKats or m&ms.
VS: Kit kat
JK: Almond m&ms. I'm like an old man.
HR: I have an allergy to wheat so no kit kats or regular m&ms. I like peanut m&ms.
Q19. Favorite movie.
VS: What Dreams May Come
MG: Gladiator and V for Vendetta.
JK: Return of the Lving Dead
KD: True Beverly Hills
HR: Beauty and the Beast, animated.
Q20. Most important piece of advice about being an author.
VS: Decide why you're writing the book. Writing it for art's sake or yourself or being commercial. It is different, writing for yourself or wanting to sell. Artsy books, having a niche, those stories need to be told, but they are different.
MG: I don't get to write full time yet. I hate myself if I write just for the sake of writing. Write what you love. I write what's important in my heart. Imagine editing a novel you can't stand.
JK: Write. Sitting down and forcing yourself to write, after those 20 pages when it's no longer a really great idea. Pillage on. No, wait, pilgrim on? Whatever, keep going on!
KD: Study your craft. Be good at what you do. More than read the works of others. Read craft books. Don't do it halfway. Just read. Read everything, every genre. The best way to have a story is to have a story in your soul. That's not just books, but movies and tv. Study bad books, well not bad, but stories that don't resonate with you and figure out why.
Giveaway:While at the event, I snagged signed copies of Victoria's The Liberator, Jeramey's The Cloak Society and Krissi's Windchaser for this giveaway. Open to the US and Canada. Ends 12 am cst March 27. Full giveaway policies are stated in the Site Policies tab at the top. All entries will be verified. Good luck!
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