The Teen Appeal

Giving truth to Memphis youth

Exclusive Q&A with authors: Part 1

The Teen Appeal sent reporter Madison Woods to speak to various authors to find out how they were inspired to write and inspire others to do the same. We will be bringing you these interview in two parts, so please look for Part 2 tomorrow. If this inspires you to get writing, don’t forget that you can still get involved with the Teen Appeal this year.

By Madison Woods (Arlington High School)

Q: Why and when did you start writing?

Lily Paradis: I started writing as early as first grade, and then I wrote for my high school newspaper until I became Editor-in-Chief my senior year. After I graduated high school, I started seriously writing novels!

J.D. Netto: I’ve been fascinated with the idea of creating alternate universes since I was a child. My favorite past time was writing and drawing stories with dinosaurs, hunters, knights and dragons. Never did I have the desire to take writing seriously until I had the idea for The Whispers of the Fallen. I couldn’t think about anything else but this young boy with this dangerous book. I knew Isaac’s story had to be shared with the world.

Sarena and Sasha Nanua: We began writing at the age of nine! We were on a trip to St. Maarten, and while on the airplane Sasha began writing a story in a journal we brought with us. I liked what she wrote, so I continued from there! We’ve been writing books ever since.

Sarah Daltry: I have always written. Growing up, we didn’t have a ton of money and I had few friends, so I escaped into stories. My best friends were fictional characters and the people I imagined. Writing was a natural extension of reading for me and so I created my own worlds when I ran out of things to read or didn’t have a book nearby (admittedly, this wasn’t often). I always wanted to write about those people who didn’t usually get their own stories.

Pete Clark: I started when I was a kid, maybe six or eight. I enjoyed reading and all stories at that age so decided I wanted to create my own. Books I read often didn’t go in the direction I wanted them to, and I figured why not write what I wanted to read?

Q: What is your favorite thing about reading? About writing?

Lily Paradis: That you can be transported to different worlds, and that the characters become so real inside your head that you feel like you know them. I like it better than TV because it’s customized to your head instead of being created for you. About writing? I love crafting the stories and the characters, and seeing how others perceive them!

J.D Netto: Reading is very personal. You read a book and you imagine everything as you wish. The books you read become your own little world. Writing allows me to express my creativity freely. I also love the fact that you get to kill bad guys without getting arrested. I love that part! No, I am not a serial killer, I swear!

Sarena and Sasha Nanua: Reading is such a fantastic experience. It’s a way to escape into a new world for a while … that’s probably why we love fantasy so much! Writing is also an equally cool experience, excerpt you’re the one creating the story! We have always loved writing because it’s our creative outlet! Writing just feels natural! The best part is probably thinking up new worlds and stories for your readers to experience.

Sarah Daltry: Reading helps me to feel less alone. When I pick up a book, I often find that the people in the story make more sense to me than the real people in my life. However, if I have a hard time in real life, I can read a book and not only are there these amazing characters to find, but the author also created them. That means someone in the world somewhere has the same feelings and thoughts and books help to link us. Writing, for me, is the same. I want to tell stories about people you don’t usually see as the main characters. Nerdy or shy or awkward or weird or depressed or somehow different – these people make up the majority of the world, but it often feels like movies and books and TV try to tell us that they don’t, or that we should be like someone else. I like to write because it gives me a chance to build characters and worlds where people learn to be comfortable in their own skin.

Pete Clark: I enjoy virtually every aspect. I love the art and style of it – a clever storyline, a well-turned phrase, energetic dialogue, and powerful description. Everything. I guess this is a cheap answer, but I do like everything.

Michelle Madow: My favorite thing about reading is finding a book that I love and can’t put down. I love going on “adventures” with the characters in stories. My favorite thing about writing is knowing that other people will eventually read and experience the stories I create in my mind — and that’s a pretty cool thing!

Q: Where do you get inspiration?

Lily Paradis: I get inspiration from a lot of different things. I love listening to music and scrolling around tumblr for inspiration. Other times, I’ll just be brushing my teeth and a scene pops into my head!

J.D. Netto: I seek and get inspiration from everyday life. Whether I am reading a book or going out with my friends, I find that the ordinary things give me extraordinary ideas. My experiences leak into every single page, becoming one with the fantasy world I have created.

Sarena and Sasha Nanua: We tend to take inspiration from things all around us. Of course, we obviously take inspiration from other authors–JK Rowling namely being one. If we ever feel like we need inspiration, we’ll think up a random object and think of how we can add a fantastical twist! (For example, we once saw a Coke can with a kite on it … and then built a whole idea around it in our second book, The King’s Jewel!)

Sarah Daltry: Everywhere. Many of my stories are personal in some way or another, but ideas are always running around in my head!

Pete Clark: No place in particular. I just have ideas. It can come from another story or something I notice on the street or in the way a person says something, and often those things lead into a larger idea. But really they come from nowhere. Sometimes I just start typing for the hell of it and amongst the garbage a good idea sometimes emerges.


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