Our first interview of 2012! Oh yeah! Welcome, readers, back to the start of the new year and new writing advice. We have an amazing author here whose book is coming out in 2013. Sit back and read a little bit about Shelly Li!
Can you share a little bit about yourself?
1. I am currently a freshman at Duke, studying economics and philosophy. I graduated last spring from a large high school in Omaha, where I was captain of the varsity golf team and vice president of my class, as well as an IB Diploma candidate (now a recipient.) I'm a writer of science fiction and fantasy, and I've published over 30 short stories in places such as Nature, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction, and Science Fiction World. Lastly, my first novel, THE ROYAL HUNTER: THRONE UNDER SIEGE, is forthcoming in Summer 2013 from Philomel (Penguin Group).
How were you inspired to be a writer?
2. I was inspired to be a writer early on, you could say. My fourth grade teacher was very adamant about curse words, and forbade even the "soft" curse words in the class. As is my character, I set out to push the boundaries, and I did so under the banner of "Creative License." I wrote a horrifying, fantastical tale about a dragon trapped in a castle, and about the girl who came and saved him--a girl who swore every other sentence. As you can imagine, my teacher was shocked. But I had just gotten a taste of the writing life, and I wasn't going back.
Can you tell us about your book? Without giving it away, of course.
3. The book is about a thirteen-year-old boy, Adrian Hall, who is recruited into the army to hunt creatures called dastyxes, creatures that possess magical abilities that transfer to humans upon the animals' death. Along the way, he finds himself deep in a community crippled by hidden agendas, and as he grows up and learns new secrets about the powerful people who surround him, he must face his own dilemmas and fight for his own notion of right and wrong.
If you were in a story, what would the genre be? If your up for it, give us a short summary of what the story line would be.
4. I would most definitely be in a science fiction story--preferably a Ted Chiang one. I don't want to give a summary, because I think a mind-blowing story goes way deeper than plot. In terms of what the story would be made of... probably a lot of serious growing up business, a splash of humor, and maybe one or two things going awry/blowing up.
When you wrote your book, did you prewrite or just go with the flow?
5. I made a brief outline about where I wanted to go with the book, and some ideas about the main character and his background. After that, I wrote by the seat of my pants, and a lot of twists resulted from that. Now, when I write short stories, that's another matter. Because there are only so many words you can use in a short story, you have to tighten everything as tightly as you can--if something can be said in one sentence, don't ever make it a paragraph in a short story. Therefore, when I write short fiction, I plan meticulously.
Can you give one piece of advice for new writers?
6. The best thing you can ever do for your writing career is to put pen to paper. And the best thing you can ever do for your life is to live wildly, recklessly, and use the best moments of your life to color your stories.
Give a round of applause for the amazing Shelly Li! When 2013 comes around, be sure to check out her book, I know I can't wait to read it!