Once upon a time, the writer of this blog went to Orlando, Florida for a Harry Potter conference, Ascendio 2012. During this conference, there were many wonderful events in the programming. One of the best sections was called the Quill Track, which featured a variety of authors, agents and editors who were all Harry Potter fans. They were excited to talk about YA, publishing, writing and books in general. In one of the workshops, this blog writer met the author Christina Farley. From that moment on, I’m proud to say that she is my friend.
Besides the fact that we both have the same first name, she is an amazing writer willing to learn and write incredible diverse characters. I believe this comes from her experiences with teaching and traveling internationally. Christina was inspired to write the GILDED series. A YA series based on Korean mythology, about a Korean-American girl who takes her destiny into her own hands. The first two books of this series were published in 2014, one in March and the other in September. Her next book, BRAZEN, will be published this September. If you haven’t read her books yet, I would recommend reading them.
I want to thank Christina for taking some of her time to answer my questions.
1. What is your favorite part about the writing process?
My favorite part of the writing process probably is the first draft because it’s scary and thrilling all at the same time. I never know how the book will turn out of even if I can pull it off, and that’s a really crazy feeling. Definitely a rush!
2. What is your writing routine?
My routine pretty much is after I send my kids off to school, I start either revising or drafting first thing in the morning. I take occasional breaks on Twitter or Facebook. Then after about four hours, I’ll go for a run. Then three nights a week I also write for about two hours.
3. How does your family and friends impact your work?
It doesn’t at all. Family comes first. For my friends we have get together lunches and movie dates a couple of times a month. Lots of fun!
4. How has your experiences with teaching affected your writing?
I think it’s helped me keep my ‘teen’ voice. I’m not sure if I ever totally grew up! I think the biggest help for me is my school visits because I can really teach writing to kids in a meaningful way.
5. How do you accomplish writing about things you’re not familiar with?
I do a lot of research through interviews, articles, and YouTube. If I can take lessons, I always try to do that. When I wrote the Gilded series I took Tae Kwon Do and archery lessons so that those scenes could be more accurate.
6. What kind of tips would you give to writers who want to write more diverse characters and settings?
My tips would be expand your horizons and be open to learning about new places and people. Take time to spend with them, read all the books you can on that culture and watch movies and videos. I try to immerse myself in that culture and it really does make a difference! But more than anything, don’t be afraid to learn and try something new. And don’t be afraid to ask those from that culture to read your work and make sure you got it right.
7. What advice would you give to writers; especially ones who want to publish their work?
Read, Read, READ!!!!! When you read, study how the author lays out their plot. Analyze the character’s growth. Consider why they choose that particular word or why they may have used that sentence structure. Plus reading what is currently being released keeps you up to date on what is happening with publishing now.
Finally, write because you love to write. Always focus on the love of writing and then you won’t get pulled down into the negativity and frustration that can come with rejection.
8. How have blogging and creating videos helped your writing and promoting your published work? What do you enjoy the most about having an engaging platform?
I really love blogging and vlogging! Videos are a fun way to interact with fans, have them experience each book’s journey, and a great way to teach others how to become better writers themselves. I blog here and vlog here.