Hello folks! Hope you’re having a great day! We’ve got lots of loud construction going on across the street, so we’re a little ticked off…our private corner is no longer private, bummer!
Anyway, we didn’t come to rant we came to post an interview with our friend Saraina! So we met Saraina on New Seddleton…(that fansite for rabbit books where we met Abbi) and kind of hit it off both having lots of siblings and living in the country, oh and of course being homeschooled! Saraina’s great! She gives awesome writing advice and she just…aww, she makes us happy! Her writing, oh, she has a vivid style her details and everything come alive!
So we hope you like the interview!!! Enjoy everyone!!!
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a homeschooled Christian girl living in the Illinois countryside. Some of my favorite things in life are words, music, quotes, daydreaming, and a good book! Also, movies that either inspire or are just entertaining. Even though I practically live off inspiration (I’m very much an idealist), for the passions in life I’m dedicated to, I spend a lot of time working on them and am very determined. I’m undoubtedly the quietest in my family, which is saying a lot as the 2nd oldest of 11, soon to be 12 (*applause in background* lol)! I love learning about how to improve my writing, Myers-Briggs, singing, psychology, and other random yet fun topics. 🙂
2. Why did you start writing? What’s the story behind it?
Hmmmm, since I’ve been writing stories since I was younger than I can remember, I can’t quite tell why I began writing. But maybe because of that, I can be sure it was a passion God instilled in me from the beginning. The homeschool curriculum my mom had us doing contributed to my love of writing – it hinged on reading: reading good and old books. I loved the books (like Horatio Alger books, The Rover Boys, and The Bobbsey Twins) so much I practically plagiarized most of them in my own stories, lol! Looking back, it’s so funny how I thought my plagiarized stories were quite creative! I later began writing more originally, although one book whose first draft I finished in about 2018 (called “The Rivermans”) was indeed based off my own family’s experiences and had a writing style strangely similar to authors I loved! All that is to say, I’ve read too many books for me not to write.
3. What author inspires you the most and why?
J. R. R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit), S. D. Smith (The Green Ember series), and Andrew Peterson (The Wingfeather Saga) have inspired me the most. (I couldn’t answer with just one haha!!) Each were/are fantasy writers that have penned epic stories ultimately about the battle between darkness vs light, good vs evil. Not only do I love their writing styles, but it’s also hard to find words to describe how I feel about their books. To me, they’re so timeless, so full of truth – they’re the sort of books that give me chills.
And since I can’t bear to leave out my other favorites, honorable mentions include C. S. Lewis, L. M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, and Jocelyn Green, for either their writing styles, storylines, or characters (or, I guess, all 3 reasons).
4. Do you have a favorite book? One that you go back to again and again. (It’s okay if it’s a book series 😊)
The Green Ember series, absolutely. (Lol, thanks for saying it’s okay if it’s a book series! *winks*) I’ve finally decided it’s my favorite book series ever, which says a lot as I can be so indecisive on these matters. Other books I always inevitably come back to are The Wingfeather Saga (second favorite series, by the way <3), Anne of Green Gables, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Little Women.
5. Are you an outliner or a pantster? Or maybe a mix of both.
I definitely tend to be a pantser. I love just going with the flow and exploring where loose plot threads lead to. But over the years I’ve discovered the benefit of outlining, so I try to have at least a general idea of how the beginning, middle, and ending will go. It helps to know where the direction of a scene is going, yet at the same time, it is so fun when I give myself the freedom to just write anything. When that happens I tend to come up with either dramatic and crazy or horrible and boring ideas, but every now and then, I’m like, THAT one could actually work!
6. Could you tell us about some of the projects you are working on?
This is such an exciting question! So I’ve had two main projects that I’ve been working on since… maybe 2018? One is a fantasy book about hope and identity, following the story of Meremas, an uncrowned king haunted by his past. He and four companions embark on a mission to reclaim their native land (Gandwen) and take back a stolen Jewel from an enemy queen. Meremas battles feelings of unworthiness, despair, and an untimely love as he encounters his worst fears and struggles to hold sight of their goal. The restoration of Gandwen. (That’s the slightly longer version of an “elevator pitch” I finally was forced to write down after too many flops trying to tell people what my book was about, haha!) It was inspired by two random things: snow and Lord of the Rings. I came up with the title very soon after beginning the story and I haven’t changed it since: The Quest for the Jewel. So far I have about 180 pages written.
The other writing project is a novel you could classify under historical fiction. The main character, Magnolia, lives with her parents in 19th century Virginia. The story is about the challenges she faces in experiencing a scarlet fever epidemic. Her mother is a doctor and the issues that arise from the epidemic rock Magnolia’s entire world. (*laughs at deliberately ending on a vague cliffhanger*) So far this book is 133 pages, a good bit less than Quest for the Jewel, which betrays the truth on which book I’ve been most absorbed in. 🙂
7. What project are you most proud of, excited about, at the moment?
Hmm… I think I would say I’m most proud of and excited about the work I’ve put into The Quest for the Jewel, because of the scale of the worldbuilding, the length of the book so far, and the depth I’ve gone into developing the characters. That doesn’t mean I don’t get super discouraged about it, but I have to admit that I’ve put the most work into it over any other writing project (so far at least)! I’m also rather proud of the fictional book I wrote called “The Rivermans” which I mentioned earlier… I wrote it when I was younger and it’s the only substantial first draft of a book I’ve actually finished, as badly written as it is!
8. Do your books have lessons in them? Morals? Or do you just write fun and engaging stories?
That’s a great question! Even though part of me would love to write a fun and engaging story just for pure entertainment, the deeper side of me just won’t let me do that! Like, the books that I am dedicated to just have to have themes and lessons that personally matter to me. My overall aim in writing is to spread hope and remind readers of truth, so that affects how and what I write about; however, that doesn’t mean I will NEVER write stories that are just for entertainment! I probably should write stories like that now and then just to have a break from the heavier stuff, if that makes sense! 😀
9. Do your characters seem to take over the telling of the story or do you feel like you have complete control?
*grins* Such a fun question… I would say that in general, I never feel like I have complete control. As much as I think I have something planned out, there is always that crack (or sometimes mile) of space that the character has to wiggle around in and forge new, unexpected paths. There’s always that sense that there is more than what I have planned. Especially in a fantasy world, where there are so many backstories and worlds and cultures to unravel. There was one time where I was narrating to myself a made-up-on-the-spot scene between two characters, and the situation they led me to was so awesome I kept repeating the sequence of events over to myself until I had a chance to type it all down. You can be sure that my fingers weren’t typing fast enough for my thoughts. 😉
10. What gives you inspiration for your stories? A good book? Music? Social interaction? A quiet place alone with your thoughts?
Quite literally all of the above! A quiet place alone with my thoughts gives me the least, however, which is strange seeing that I’m an introvert and love to be alone a lot of the time. Social interaction, on the other hand, gives me so many ideas, and seeing the dynamics between people in everyday life has been a constant source of inspiration, whether it be what they say, how they act, any of that. Good books and movies also inspire my writing, as well as music, music, and some more music. I can’t get enough of good movie soundtracks to inspire my stories! One last thing I’d mention would be that my own experiences in life also give me inspiration – especially emotional journeys behind the external experiences. But besides that, pretty much everything can give me inspiration! 😀
Thank you so much Saraina!!!
Thank you so much for the chance to do this!! It was truly so much fun!!!
Hope you guys enjoyed reading it and have a restful day! *Sighs* We’re gonna try to ignore all this noise and keep the dog quiet…See you all later!