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.