April 23, 2016
NOTE: My sincerest apologies to Author Winchester. This interview was originally scheduled to be posted on April 16, 2016.
CTC – My interview today is with A. S. Winchester, author of Terra: Genesis and soon to be published Terra: Identity.
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for my readers. Let’s begin, shall we?
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
ASW – It wasn’t really a realization. I was born to be a writer just as I was born female. It’s ingrained in me.
CTC – How long does it take you to write a book?
ASW – That really depends on my schedule, the length of the book, and so many other factors I can’t begin to label. “Terra: Genesis” was a two year project. “Terra: Identity” is (hopefully) going to be considerably less if I can get it off the ground in April as planned. It really just depends. I have a project with a friend of mine called “Hunters”… it’s going on 9 years to write, re-write, re-plot, write, adjust, edit, re-write again.. you get the point. I can’t put a timeline to it since every project is different.
CTC – What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
ASW – Chaotic. I work full time and then some to support myself financially because writing is just a side thing. So usually it’s work all day, write on breaks or jot down notes when I can, and write at night. I usually have to force myself to write through the rough patches of just wanting to sleep or relax.
CTC – What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
ASW – I’m not entirely sure if I’m understanding this, but I’ll give it a shot. Physically, I really get into my writing… walking, pacing, hands waving, looking around… I really try to see and feel what it is I’m putting my characters through. As a result, I don’t write outside of my personal space much. I often forget where I am and continue doing ridiculous things.
Another writing quirk, which may be more writing style, is that I go into every project with the idea of one goal:I want to see how far I can push my character before they break and rise again or can’t take anymore. It’s my philosophy and I think it comes from me having gone through a lot in my life and rising above all that to the best of my ability.
CTC – Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
ASW – Internet searches mostly. I do a lot of science websites, articles, and so on. I also collect resource books as I find them in the B&N Bargain section. It all depends on what I’m looking for.
CTC – When did you write your first book and how old were you?
ASW – I was five. My mom typed it up for me. It was a story about a kitten who ran away from wolves, got stuck in a tree, and made friend with another kitten who helped it escape.
CTC – What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
ASW – I work a lot. That’s kind of how most people define me… “oh, you’re always working”. However, I have big dreams for my future and I’m building on that. Outside of that, I like to go out to zoos, museums, for walks, that sort of thing. I love to read, collect books, binge netflix when I can, do photography, and see my friends.
CTC – What does your family think of your writing?
ASW – They definitely support my adventure and are proud of me. They have my book and my sister has sent me snapchats on her shock at certain things. It’s nice to be able to share it with them.
CTC – What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
ASW – I’ve turned into a conscientious Earth person. I was incredibly unaware of the state of our planet until I started plotting how the Earth would “end” in Terra. The hardest realization came to be just how not far off I am when we look at birth rates, death rates, and usage of resources trends. Predicting the end of the world and not being far off if we don’t start doing something about it kind of hit me in the gut. Now I go out of my way to.
CTC – How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
ASW – Fully written and published? One. Written in general? Half a dozen or less. So far “Terra: Identity” is my favorite, which comes out in April so I’m super excited to share that. I have another brewing project that I think will end up blowing that out of the water, but I have no idea when it will happen. That’s a co-op project that’s just being done over time.
CTC – Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
ASW – Write every day even if it’s just 100 words. Don’t give up. And explore genres even when you’re struggling. I never thought I could write science fiction. It was never something I was interested in. I was always on paranormal fiction or chick lits. However, after failing at completing numerous projects, Terra formed in my head. It started out as a romance novel with a little science fiction undertone. The science fiction and plausible fiction hit me hard in a good way and I haven’t looked back since. I haven’t been able to. I found my niche without meaning to.
CTC – Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
ASW – I love talking to my readers. I’ve made friends with a lot of them and have just this tiny network of helping these young adults become stronger writers simply because we connected over “Terra: Genesis”.
CTC – Do you like to create books for adults?
ASW – I love it. Granted I haven’t much dabbled in anything other than writing for adults, but I do love it. There’s an ability to add darker content, more sexualized ideas, and push the story further than you could while sensoring for a young audience. My favorite example is actually in a WIP I have called “Hunters”. One of the characters, Andrea, has a mouth on her. She literally says the “f” word every few sentences. It may seem excessive just when talked about here, but as you see her, watch her interact, learn of her… reading a chapter where she never swears is the most uncomfortable thing. She’s not right without it. If it was written for a younger audience, she’d be sensored up the wazoo and be just a wrong character.
CTC – What do you think makes a good story?
ASW – The author has to write for the author and not the audience. It’s kind of like the way of selling your soul. As soon as you’re telling the story for someone else, you stop moving yourself and the entire story is affected. It doesn’t have the same resonating effect as it should.
I’m also huge proponent in strong characters can carry a weak plot, but weak characters can’t carry a strong plot. You need some part of your story that’s relateable to your readers and the only part they’re going to connect to is the connection to a thinking, feeling thing… your characters. Make a character real with flaws and strengths, doubts and confidences and suddenly your readers will see some part of themselves in the character and they will carry through to the end.
CTC – As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
ASW – A vet, a doctor, a teacher, a theater teacher, a pet orphanage owner, an English teacher, in the Army (which I actually tried for, but my vision is too bad for), an artist, an actor, an architect… I’m multi-talented in both creative and logical minded things so I’ve always had a hard time pinning down just one kind of career that I want to do. Heck, I’m 27 and I’m still struggling with this.
CTC – Is there anything else that you would like for the audience to know?
ASW – Support indie authors by leaving reviews and spreading the word by mouth. It’s hard doing the author thing all alone and even with a few friends and supporters, it gets way easier. I don’t care about the money… every person has told me “Terra” is a story that needs to be heard and I agree. Just trying to get it out there to be shared is easier said than done.
CTC – You can follow A. S. Winchester on
Amazon – http://smile.amazon.com/A.-S.-Winchester/e/B012Q93B2G/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/aswinchester
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ASWinchester3
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/a.winchester7688/?fref=ts
And, you can find her books on Amazon here:
Cala is not special. Cala is Exceptional. A young woman possessing a rare kind of intelligence . . .