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Q: Where did you get the idea for your most recent project? What is it about?
1. “Alloland” From a desire to have a world where I could include anything: magic, science, social commentary, drama, humor, whatever my heart desires.
Alloland is about a land where human societies exist in isolated World Trees. It follows Princess Chroma Sona and her team of young Scouts who travel from World Tree to World Tree, seeking new cultures and technologies in an arms race against the March — the greedy people of Isla Maris who seek to possess as many genetic modifications, technologies, and bloodpowers as possible. Chroma soon learns that her own monarchy’s laws surrounding powers may not be perfect, either, but there’s no time to stir up social change: she has a job to do, her enemies are becoming more numerous, and she is still unsure if she can trust her teammates with the secret of her curse. Because the more the Scouts learn about genetics, the more commoners will suspect that her curse lies buried in the genes of the entire royal family.
Book 1: Augon and the Blood Thieves, follows Chroma, Flor, and Ka to the World Tree of Augon, a strange place where nearly every person is born as a twin, electronics have advanced far beyond the capabilities of their home Tree, and no humans are allowed to be genetically engineered. The Scouts are all set to live among one of Augon’s Artist Communes, but their plans are disrupted by a last-minute addition to their team: Klyra Rubia, a girl with an illegal but useful bloodpower. Chroma tries her best to befriend a local chimera, a boy accused of killing his twin in the womb, while Klyra and the others try their best not to rip each other’s throats out. Beneath every new custom and fight she has to keep track of, Chroma can’t shake the feeling that something is going on behind the scenes. Something watching them, something causing “accidents,” something that may want their blood.
2. Shhh, it’s a secret!
Q: What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t write for anyone but yourself! Don’t write to impress an imaginary critic or whoever TV says is your audience. Don’t worry about whether or not an agent/publisher will like it. Write something YOU like. Odds are, if you like it, someone else will, too! The worst thing you could do is try to imitate something/someone else, because that will always lead to a project lacking passion and experience.
Q: What is the best thing about being a writer?
The best thing is having the assurance that all my stories and opinions matter. Without writing, I would just be another person with an idea. But writing means that other people, maybe for generations into the future, will be able to interact with my innermost thoughts.
Additionally, writing allows me to discover things in a unique way. Being a “discovery writer” leads me to discover things about myself, my imagination, and my characters that mere thoughts would never have revealed.
Q: What inspired you to write?
That’s a funny question, actually. I was very young and loved telling stories verbally. One day, my parents were busy and told me to write down my stories for them to read later! Annoying your parents can be productive!
I originally wrote short stories, then got the idea to write novels after reading The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.
Q: How do you deal with writer’s block?
There are two types of writer’s block: a lack of inspiration/ideas, and a lack of motivation. The lack of motivation can be solved by simply sitting down, looking at your previous day’s work, and focring yourself to write. But the lack of ideas can be solved with another very simple method. Look back on the times you’ve been most excited about your work, or where you have gotten most of your inspiration from (for instance, I get plenty of inspiration from watching TED-ed videos or from reading other books). Then engage in that activity. Set aside an hour or two to do that, and then use the energy it gives you to get back to writing! Remember, the more often you write, the easier it will be to write the next day!
I also wrote a more detailed FreshU article about this very topic: here’s the article.
Q: What are you currently working on?
The question is what I’m not working on! I’m currently:
1. Rewriting (again) Alloland Book 1
2. Writing the first draft of a secret project
3. Trying to get various short stories and poems published
4. Applying for UT Austin’s creative writing certificate program