Thursday, June 15, 2017

Homeschool Author and Mom Intisar Khanani

I have yet another homeschool-mom-author sharing with us today. Please welcome, Intisar Khanani

How long have you been homeschooling?

I suppose you could say we're just starting, since my eldest is finishing up first grade, but what that really means is I've been a stay at home mom the last seven years, working up to homeschooling this past year. :)

How long have you been writing?

Since I can remember! However, I didn't get serious about publishing until 2012, when I decided to quit the last ten hours a week I was working to stay home completely with my daughters. I figured if I was going to be home, I'd have LOTS of time to write--just kidding! But I knew I'd need some non-mommy related endeavor to keep me sane, and what could be better than a "job" that I could do when the kids were in bed?

What gave you the writing bug?

I've always had it--I have been writing and telling stories my whole life. In fact, those occasional timeframes when I wasn't being creative somehow always ended with me being miserable. Ha! I wrote my first novel while taking an "overload" schedule of classes at university plus working 20 hours a week. I'm not quite sure how I managed that, but it was a fabulous year.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Yes! It was about a good little fish who went to school. I remember drawing the fish with his backpack on. Apparently, I had a bad case of the puns even at the age of four!

What type of books do your write?

I write Young Adult Fantasy. I have a noblebright fairy tale adaption entitled Thorn, which retells the Grimms' tale "The Goose Girl." It's actually the final product of that first novel I drafted in university, although it went through about a dozen revisions to get there. (I learned a lot of craft along the way!) I also have an epic fantasy series called The Sunbolt Chronicles in process, featuring a street thief with a dangerous secret and her nemesis, the dark mage who killed her father. It's a fast-paced, unpredictable ride that has been absolutely awesome to write.

How do you find time to write?
I write primarily when the kids are in bed--which means lights out at 8 pm! I also get two mornings a week when both my kids are taking classes together. Those are definitely my best writing times. I have tried getting up early to write, but without fail my kids discover this and it ends much sooner than is worth it. So I write at night and whenever they're not about. My husband will also take the kids out or cover me for a daytime writing session when I really need the time, but I try not to ask that of him too much!

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

I'm finally getting to a point where there's no one major part of the process that is significantly more difficult than the rest. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean it's all easy. It means it's all equally hard. ;) Over the last few years I've worked through different plotting processes, different approaches to drafting, and different revision methods. And I'm finally, finally, finding the things that work for me. I still find myself challenged by plot twists that even I didn't see coming--plot twists that are better than anything I had planned, but leave me stumped about how to bring the rest of the book back together again. But that's a good (if frustrating) challenge, and I'm glad to occasionally face it.

Do your kids help with your creative process or give you ideas?

Not yet. They're still too young for the genre I write, but hopefully one day!

What is the single most significant thing you can tell us about your writing career?

Writing, like any other occupation, takes work and persistence. It takes time to develop your skills, and persistence because, until you've got that skill (and a good bit after that too, quite likely), you're not going to get return for your work. So you have to take a certain amount of satisfaction in the writing itself, and you have to Keep Going. Also, ignore all those people who say writing is easy. At least until they've earned a couple million off of their "easy" writing career. ;) I've been writing my whole life, but I'm now five years into my writing career as a career and not just a hobby. It took me three years to start earning an income, and now I'm at a point of earning as much as I did working 30 hours a week at the local health department. That's not huge by any means, but it means that my books are finally starting to sell and I'm reaching that point where all that work and persistence is starting to pay off. And it so completely worth it. :)

Can you tell us about a character in your current work in progress?

Hitomi is a street thief with a sense of honor, a whole inheritance of secrets, and an absolutely abysmal amount of luck. She's cunning, and quick on her feet, though, which keeps her alive each time things go from bad to worse. In the first book in the series, Sunbolt, Hitomi volunteers to help a noble family escape execution--only to be betrayed to the dark mage who killed her father. It will take all she can summon to escape with her life.

If you'd like to read a sample of Intisar's writing, here us a free short story. Just click on the cover to download and begin reading.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Homeschooled Student Author: Grace Fay

I have another homeschooled student author on the blog today. I love seeing young people make an impact on the writing world! Welcome, Grace!

Hello, my name is Grace Fay and I am a homeschooled Texan living in Dallas with my husband! I was homeschooled all the way through high school, and am the oldest of nine kids. I definitely also plan to homeschool my own kids one day! I write under my maiden name, J. Grace Pennington.

How long have you been writing?

Since I was about five years old, so over twenty years! I started publishing in 2012, when I was twenty-two years old, but I've been writing basically all my life.

What gave you the writing bug?

I was an early and prolific reader, and one afternoon I was bored while my mom was taking her afternoon nap and decided to write a book of my own. I've always loved stories.

Do you remember the first story you wrote?

Yes--at five years old I wrote (and illustrated) a small book called "If I Had Three Wishes." The first wish was that it would be a sunny, windy day with bunnies hopping on the grass, the second wish was that I had a pony, the third was that I could fly, and then I said that if I could have four wishes the fourth would be to be able to see God with my eyes.

What type of books do you write?
Click the image to go to Amazon

I write in various genres, but primarily I write young adult science-fiction. My YA series, Firmament, has four books published and I'm working on books five and six. I've also published a YA dystopia called Implant and a Western mystery called Never, as well as a steampunk fairtale in the Once: Six Historically Inspired Fairytales collection. But I also have general fiction, fantasy, and screenplays in the works. I just love stories in general!

How do you find time to write?

As a homemaker, my days are fairly flexible so it's more about making the time to actually sit down and put words on paper. I try to have set times each day to write, word goals, and deadlines to keep me motivated and committed. I also will fit writing in while cooking if need be. I find it helpful to get out of the house when possible to write--to the library, the coffee shop, Barnes & Noble, or even McDonald's!

Click the cover to go to
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Creative and non-confusing plots. Characters are my strong point, but when it comes to getting them into interesting and coherent situations, I struggle and usually require several rewrites to string together a decent plot.

What is the single most significant thing you can tell us about your writing career?

To me, the most important thing about my writing is to communicate truth--whether that's directly through non-fiction, or a display of truth through the narrative of a story. It can be explicit to my worldview or it can be more subtle and implicit. It can be an overt message or just a manifestation of the truth that laughter doeth the heart like good medicine. Regardless, I try always to communicate truth to my readers and to bless, encourage, and entertain them. 

Can you tell us about a character in your current work in progress?

My work in progress is the sixth book in my Firmament series. The book is called No Man and part of it follows the starship's helmsman and first officer, William Guilders, on his quest to help a man he doesn't particularly like. I'm really enjoying exploring Mr. Guilders' character right now. He's a stoic, principled, unemotional, highly intelligent older gentleman who is thrown completely out of his element and out of his comfort zone for this journey, and it will be interesting to see how he reacts and the choices he makes.