Hello, all you Fanatics!
We have great news– we have our very first original work coming out soon by the lovely and wonderful E.J. Haven! In this post, we’ve decided to pick her brain about the serial that she’ll be publishing with us starting this Thursday, March 8th!
JM: Welcome to Fanatic Musings, E.J.! We’re so happy to have you!
EJ: Thanks for having me. I’ve definitely been feeling the love.
JM: We know you’re busy putting those polishing touches on The Black Forest, so let’s dive in. Tell us a bit about The Black Forest. How’d you come up with this idea? What makes it special for you?
EJ: Well, every story I start and manage to make some major headway on is special to me, but I think The Black Forest holds a special place on my desktop because of how I came up with it. Like so many of my stories, it grew out of another story that I was writing at the time and an incredibly strong character. In the case of The Black Forest, two of them.
JM: Would it be a spoiler to ask who these incredibly strong characters are that demanded their own series?
EJ: Well, I’ll tell you one because you’ll be meeting him first. That’s Percival. The second you’ll meet in enough time and let me tell you that he’s quite a character.
JM: What made Percival such a strong character for you?
EJ: Well, he’s one of about ten characters of mine, across all stories, that I always know what he looks like. To explain, I keep character notes on features, personalities, etc. and because I write so much I make sure to refer to them often to keep the lines straight, but Percival is someone I already had a clear image of what he looked like, how he held himself and how that would change over the course of the story. I really enjoyed writing most of his scenes just because it was like watching a movie.
JM: Does the Black Forest stand alone or will we be seeing more serials with these characters or in this world?
EJ: I’m definitely getting convinced that an expansion of the world might be necessary, but that depends how Fanatic Musings likes this one. For now, we’ll just see how it goes.
JM: How did you get into writing? Were you a write-a-holic, it just sort of happened, or was this just a special case?
EJ: I write a lot, or at least I used to. Becoming a write-a-holic just happened because I had spare time and my imagination is rampant, to say the least.
JM: You say you write a lot, doesn’t that get exhausting?
EJ: It can depending on what I’m writing. I know that writing really emotional scenes takes a lot out of me. It’s sad actually. I’ll just be on my computer or scribbling in a notebook and I’ll start crying. I have to force myself to take a break then lest my keys get wet.
JM: Is that because you feel the way your characters are feeling or…?
EJ: Sometimes. It’s hard to get in the mindset of people who are so vastly different than I am. Like writing people who are outright evil or crazy, incredibly deluded– those kinds of people and personas are hard for me to grasp so I end up having to do a lot of research around it. Reading excerpts and so on. But sometimes it’s because the emotions of the scene, the emotions of the characters are just so powerful that it’s hard not to be pulled along. Like watching that one movie that always makes you cry. They’re people and I think that if I couldn’t sympathize with them on some level then I probably shouldn’t be writing and no one else will be able to either.
JM: Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly or sympathize with their characters?
EJ: I’m not an expert, but if you can’t sympathize with anyone, you probably can’t understand them either. It would be incredibly difficult to fathom motivations, emotional reactions and so on if you yourself don’t feel and can’t connect.
JM: You mentioned research. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a story?
EJ: It depends on the story. Some stories require almost no research besides definitions, maybe a few dates here and there, but I seem to like the ones that will take serious research time. I’d say at least a few weeks of research on average. The Black Forest took about a month of research before I felt comfortable with drafting some of the scenes.
JM: People have said that the research is the most difficult part of the writing process. Would you agree?
EJ: Nope. Research, for me at least, is the fun part. It’s part of the planning process. I also don’t think of research as just reading mountains of information. Sometimes, it’s as simple as asking questions about the world I’m trying to build and writing explorations for characters and so on. It’s an ongoing process.
JM: If not research, then what is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
EJ: Editing, hands down.
JM: Would you call it your writing Kryptonite?
EJ: Nah, that’s grammar. Editing is hard because it feels like I’m cutting up the story after working so hard to finish the draft.
JM: Spellcheck and grammar books are your enemies?
EJ: Not exactly. I just know that I don’t always write grammatically correct because I don’t think in semi-colons and dashes. You know the issue of stream-of-consciousness writing and all that.
JM: What do you feel is more important: originality or giving the reader what they want?
EJ: Well, that’s a loaded question. I personally like to sit in the middle, but that’s honestly because as a reader I want something original, but I also like a good ending. There’s a way to do that. As a writer, I’m always on the side of doing justice for my characters no matter what that looks like.
EJ: Yeah. I enjoyed the Harry Potter series as much as the next person and when I was younger I wanted to be the next J.K.. However, I never want to get seven books and millions of dollars in franchise and royalty contracts in just to have to tell my readers that I didn’t like the ending either.
JM: You’re not a fan of Ron and Hermione, are you?
EJ: Was it obvious?
JM: Very. Well, we’re running out of time. I can’t hold you hostage much longer, so how about a fun question: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
EJ: A baby turtle.
JM: A baby turtle?
EJ: You asked.
Again, we at Fanatic Musings, are super happy to have her publishing with us. Welcome to the family E.J.! The Black Forest will be going live on March 8th, 2018 and a new chapter will be released every other week on Thursday.