Interview With Author Brittany Wang
I'm so honoured to have Author Brittany Wang on my blog today!
She is the author of the upcoming young adult fantasy novel,
"On Wings Of Ash & Dust".
Today she is sharing more about her inspiration and writing process!
Elira: Welcome to my blog Brittany! It's great to have you here. You are currently
working on a YA fairy fantasy series. What inspires you to write? And when did
you know you wanted to become a writer?
Brittany: Thanks so much for having me, Elira! And wow, so many things inspire me when crafting a story. I think the times I’m most compelled to write are when I have a deeper message I want to explore or share and an idea for a unique character, world, or
situation to communicate that message through. Many people pick up a book or watch a movie to be entertained, to escape - but I think the stories that stick with us the most are the ones where we learn and grow right alongside the characters. We can see
ourselves, identify with their struggles and successes, or at least learn something along
the way. These stories give us hope or make us consider a different point of view, often
without us even realizing it, which I love!
As for my own journey, whether books, movies or theatre, I’ve always loved stories and
creating them myself from a very young age. In grade school, the written word
captivated me and I wrote songs, short books, fanfiction… I even ran my own RPG site
for a while. But at the time, I didn’t see becoming an author as a career option. Instead,
for most of my life, I pursued a career in telling stories through music as I wrote,
recorded, and performed my own original songs. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I
got back into writing novels. I was going through a really hard season and since my job
at the time involved music, I found I needed a different creative outlet to process what I
was going through. I pulled out an old story from my early days I wanted to revive, took
some writing courses, and fell in love with it all over again. I started to believe that I had
found my voice again, that I could really do this, and getting involved in the online
writing community just gave me the extra push I needed to go for it. It’s been a wild ride!
Elira: Does your novel carry a message?
Brittany: Of course! If I say too much I might give too much away but two themes I’ve been focusing the most on are ones that surround “unity amidst diversity” and “redemption”.
Elira: Do you have a set schedule for writing, and do you aim to write a set number of
pages or words each time?
Brittany: I’ve tried so many times to set a schedule for specifically writing every day, but because there are so many stages in the book-creation process, I refer to them more as “book sessions.” Currently, I work from home as a full-time writer and creative entrepreneur and I’ve set aside time blocks as “book sessions” where, depending on what stage of the book I’m in, I could be using that time to plot, write, work with my CPs or beta readers, edit, work my query/synopsis, etc! I talk about this a lot in some of my YouTube videos but generally, I base my goals around what stage my book is currently in.
Elira: Do you believe in author's block?
Brittany: I’ve heard some people say that writer’s block or author’s block doesn’t exist, that it’s more fear than lack of inspiration. But in my opinion, fear is a block, right? Haha! I think if someone is using the idea of “writer's block” as a way of not working on their book for weeks at a time, then I don’t think that’s a healthy or right way to think of it. But if someone simply says, “I feel blocked”, I don’t think it’s helpful to respond with, “Well,
writer’s block doesn’t exist.” Instead, I feel like we should say, “Well what do you think is
blocking you? And let’s try to find ways to overcome that.” I hope that makes sense!
Elira: You are the co-host of the Save The Cat Experiment (#STCExperiment) with
author Bethany Atazadeh. Did you follow the Save The Cat beats when writing
your upcoming novel and what impact have they had on the initial story you
Brittany: OH. MY. GOSH. YES! Once I read “Save the Cat” and “Save the Cat Writes a Novel” storytelling and good plot structure just clicked for me. Not only did I it help strengthen my plot and my main character’s arc in leaps and bounds, but I now also see the beats in all the books and movies I read without even trying, which helps me learn organically.
The one thing I would change for my next book project though is to not spend as much
time plotting before I start the fast draft. With this current story, I plotted for MONTHS
before I started writing a word and, while it did help a lot, I also found that certain things
had to change as I drafted and got to know the characters more.
At the end of the #STCExperiment, Bethany and I got to interview the author of “Save
the Cat Writes a Novel”, Jessica Brody, and I was dumbfounded to hear that she only
spends a week or so doing the initial plotting and setting up the “story beats”. Then she
gets right into fast drafting. After the fast draft, she goes back to her outline and re-
works it based on what she’s learned more from writing that draft. Genius! I can’t wait to
try this out with my next story.
Elira: In your opinion, what are the easiest and most difficult aspects of writing a
Brittany: Well there’s definitely not a lot of the writing process that I’d say is “easy”. Haha! But I think anything worth doing, is hard. It’s hard but FUN and rewarding. If I had to pick one “easy” thing, it would probably be the times when a great idea hits me in the face and everything is just flowing out of my fingers as I type. I love it when the characters and storylines take on a life of its own and you’re just scrambling to get it all down before it flies away.
The hardest parts for me though are staying motivated and knowing what to do when I get stuck. If anyone else struggles with these things, you’re not alone! The things that help me most are to keep learning from reading and researching writing craft (I love watching AuthorTube for this!) and to also find a support system of other writers.
Seriously, it’s a GAME CHANGER!
Elira: Once you are ready to share your story with the world, will you publish
traditionally or become an indie author?
Brittany: I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and honestly, I’m more torn than ever! My first dream has been to be traditionally published and that’s what I’ve been pursuing, but there’s also so many reasons I’d love to be an indie author too. Who knows, I just might have to become a hybrid author :)
Elira: What do you think are the pros and cons of indie publishing and traditional
publishing? What are you taking into consideration to make your decision?
Brittany: For traditional. I’d love to have the support, guidance and influence of an
agent/publisher team helping improve my story and get my book out to more people.
They’ve published books time and time again, so I know I’d learn so much from them
and also not have to spend time learning all the things it would take to self-publish well.
I’m actually entering PitchWars later this month to possibly be mentored by a
traditionally published author, so wish me luck!
That being said, traditional publishing takes a LONG time whereas indie publishing
allows you to get books out there much quicker. And you have more freedom like
deciding on the book’s cover design which sometimes traditional authors don’t get a say
in. Plus, lately I’ve had soooo many fun ideas about how I would market my book if I
went the indie route and I have tons indie-friends that share their tips with me, so I think
it would be fun to self-publish for sure.
But my plan is to first apply to some mentorship programs, do some querying, and if I
get feedback that I still need to work on the story – I’ll do that for sure! But if they say my
book is well written but the thing standing in the way of publishing is something like, “it
doesn’t fit the market right now” or something like that, then I would totally self-publish.
So, we’ll see.
Elira: Who is your favourite author and what three questions about their writing,
writing process or books would you ask them if you could?
Brittany: Picking just one is so hard but I think I’m going to have to be a bit cliché and go with J.K. Rowling. (I keep waiting for MasterClass.com to have her create a writing course. How cool would that be??)
Anyway, I think I’d ask (1) What are you best tips for writing a successful series?
(2) What do you think helped develop your unique writing style, voice and characters most?
(3) What are your best tips for interweaving rich world-building and magic systems into your story without info-dumping?
Elira: You started a Youtube channel over a year ago and it's already so successful!
What is your secret, and what advice can you give to aspiring authortubers?
Brittany: Ironically, I have created a couple authortube videos that tackle this exact topic, haha!
But the first thing I’d say is, learn how YouTube works. There’s a ton of things you can
be doing to get your videos seen and find the right people that will love what you put
out. But you have to learn that YouTube works a certain way and rewards certain
behavior and kinds of content. In my videos, I reference some great YouTubers that
actually teach how to be successful on YouTube no matter your niche (for free!), so I’d
definitely check those out!
The second is to use your first series of videos to give others value, not just talk about
yourself. Either teach what you know or share what you’re learning about books, writing,
and other things your target audience would be interested in. Study other authortubers
and make notes of what you enjoy seeing and what you think you might like to do
yourself and then try it out. Continue to make videos that you enjoy and that your
audience seems to love most.
Finally, MAKE FRIENDS! Even if you only have one or two people commenting on your
videos, engage with them. Answer their questions and make them feel like the coolest
people ever (because they are for commenting, right!?). Also, get to know other writers
and authortubers. Collaborate with them to share audiences and get viewed by more
people. Interview other authors about their writing process and their books. Share tips
on a subject and then send your audiences to the other’s channel for more tips.
There’s so much more I could say but you can definitely check out my videos on the
subject for more!
Elira: Let's get to know better. Ready?
Are you a morning or night person?
Brittany: Morning, all the way! My husband can’t understand it but I always wake up with so much energy.
Elira: If you had the ability to be in more places at the same time, where would you be
and what would you be doing?
Brittany: Home writing or reading, out with family and friends, travelling with my husband.
Elira: If your book was made into a movie, which actors would be in it and what roles
would they play?
Brittany: Oooh! I literally just started to figure this out the other day! My feisty leading lady would be played by someone like Adelaide Kane, Troian Bellisario, or Marie Avgeropoulos. (Can you tell I have a hard time choosing?)
Then she has four kind of “frienemies” throughout the story that would probably be played by actors/models similar to: Zhao Yi Qin, a redheaded Sophie Turner, Thomas Brodie Sangster and Tessa Thompson.
I also have a massive Pinterest board with character art that inspires me as well as
some aesthetics on my website!
Elira: Name one thing that makes you happy.
Brittany: My wonderful husband, Ben. He’s honestly my best friend and his support and encouragement is what got me back on this writing journey and keeps me going.
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