Friday, February 10, 2012

Interview with Anna Staniszewski

Please give a warm welcome to the charismatic 
Anna Staniszewski!

What part of your first novel did you find hardest to write?

The ending of My Very UnFairy Tale Life was definitely the hardest. Although the last page has stayed pretty much the same since the first draft, the last few chapters have changed dramatically. At first, the ending wrapped things up too much, then not enough. My agent helped me to find the right balance. Then my editor helped me to make the story’s climax and resolution more satisfying. I was glad to have so much guidance in getting it right!

What scares you most?

This is a hard one since I’m the kind of person who worries about everything. But I guess my biggest fear is that I won’t be able to accomplish the goals I’ve set for myself. And, of course, I’m terrified of anything that’s creepy crawly.

Do you start writing when you have a plot mapped out or start plotting when you have started writing based off a spark of inspiration? 

I’m a pantser at heart. I tend to start writing with very little idea of where a story is going, though I do try to keep the character’s emotional journey in mind. Once I’ve completed a first draft, then I outline to figure out what I have and use that outline to help me rearrange and strengthen the story.

Was there ever a moment when you wouldn’t trade what you do as an author for the world? What was that moment for you? 

The first time I referred to myself as an author was amazing (and a bit surreal). I’ve been writing almost my entire life, and becoming a real author has been my dream for years. When I was in elementary school, I would climb a tree and write terrible poetry in a notebook. Now kids that same age will have a chance to read a story that I wrote. Did I mention how surreal this all this?

Aspiring writers often hear, "Read what you want to write," "Hone your writing craft." and, above all else, "Be patient." What other advice would you give them?

Never stop writing. I had a project that I thought would definitely get me published. That didn’t work out. I had another project that got me an agent, but not a publishing contract. Luckily, through all of that, I kept working on new projects until finally one of them clicked. You never know what will stand out, so you just have to keep pushing yourself forward.

Is there rhyme and reason to how you choose character traits?

I like to draw on odd traits that people I know (including myself) have. Then I take those traits and adapt or exaggerate them. For example, when I was working on UnFairy Tale Life, I was drinking about four cups of tea a day. I decided to run with that idea and make one of my characters completely obsessed with tea. It’s also fun to think of wacky things characters might do. For example, my main character keeps a mini-golf club and ball in her bedroom so she can practice her swing when she’s stressed out.

Thank you for joining us Anna and to all of our readers, I hope you enjoyed the interview and thank you for stopping by!

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