interview with author hannah a. krynicki!

Hey, guys!  I’m super excited today because I had the pleasure of interviewing the ever-awesome Hannah A. Krynicki, an author in the giveaway we’re both participating in!  (Click here to enter!)  I was also interviewed by Nate Philbrick the other day – check that out if you have the chance!

hannahauthor.jpgMe: If you could describe yourself in five adjectives, which would you pick?
Hannah: They tell me that I am probably the least qualified person to assess my own personality, and I recommend that you don’t make any big decisions or sign any contracts based on this information. Which is to say, let’s go for it!
-Analytical
-Focused
-Intuitive
-Perfectionistic
-Sarcastic

 
Me: Tell us a little about your novel, Alen’s War, by comparing it to movies!
Hannah: Basically Alen’s War is what would happen if a G.A. Henty book married Disney’s insane side. Prince Alen, a teenage esquire, has one job: capture Galer, a revolutionary who would make Les Miserables jealous. Of course Alen fails, and Agran erupts into a war nastier than Gone with the Wind. Who you gonna call? Alen recruits two helpers: Brandis, a Coriolanus doppelganger with command of the Black Pearl, and Turomar, a strategist with both the brains and the emotional range of Sherlock. Together, they are the Three Amigos, and they’re going to catch the bad guy.
(Ashley’s Note: OH MY GOSH THAT SOUNDS SO GOOD.  And you get all the brownie points for the Coriolanus reference.)

alenswarecover2.jpgMe: Have you ever done character casting for your novels?  If so, who are your top picks for Alen’s War?
Hannah: Of course! I always do dream-casting. Although I cannot for the life of me find a good actor for Alen (probably because he’s so young), I did manage to pick for the other more important characters.
Brandis: Richard Armitage
Turomar: Harry Lloyd
Galer: Matthew MacFadyen
Arila: Lily James
Reyis: Liam Neeson

Me: How did you come up with the idea for Alen’s War?
Hannah: I suppose it was born out of my affinity for magic, wars, pirate ships, and crazy plot ideas. I had an old draft of an even older story about a little band journeying to capture an evil wizard, which seemed a good place to start. So I tore out all the clichés, stitched in some new ideas, and patched it up until I had something reminiscent of Alen’s story. Fun fact: I had to reinvent the confounded thing four times *after* writing the first draft.

Me: In your opinion, what’s the hardest thing about writing and how do you overcome it?
Hannah: Finishing the book. I just looked, and I have fourteen documents in my “Unfinished Tales” folder, but I only published two books. The struggle is real, kids. Obviously, I don’t swear a blood oath that I must finish every draft I start, but I do have one way to tell when I’ve found a story that needs to be finished. I ask myself, Why do I need to write this story? When I can answer that, I have found the fuel that keeps me from giving up.

Me: What hobbies do you have outside of writing?
Hannah: It’s hard to define my hobbies, as I seem to have a new obsession every week- for example, economic theory followed by Norse mythology. Aside from that, I play (“play”) three instruments whenever I can, argue with myself about the complexities of life, and bake a mindblowing quantity of cookies.

Me: Name three favorite books and why you’d recommend them to someone!
Hannah: Of course, Miss Bates, but the trouble is that I will be limited to saying just three… (High five if you got the reference!) My top picks would be:
-The Lord of the Rings, because it’s the best introduction to fantasy you will ever read.
-The Book Thief, because it’s brutally honest and cynical.
-Charlotte’s Web, because every grown-up should learn to read good children’s books.(Ashley’s Note: I had to Google it.  #badlydoneindeed  I do love Miss Bates, though.)

Me: Do you have any guilty pleasure books or movies?  (These are books or movies that you love but, for one reason or another, can’t recommend them.)
Hannah: Not really. I’m actually quite picky when it comes to movies and books. The nearest thing I can think of is books like Orwell’s 1984- but I’d heartily recommend them to everyone mature enough to handle the icky stuff. Then again… does lobbying to watch Batman Begins with my folks every week count as a guilty pleasure?
(Ashley’s Note: HA!  No, unless you feel guilty for doing it.  ; ) Dark Knight Rises is my personal favorite of that trilogy!)

Me: Do you have anything else you’re working on at the moment?
Hannah: Yes, lots! as Mr Baggins said. I won’t talk about my speculative fiction thingy quite yet, nor my other top secret fantasy idea.. but we may see a serial story from the perspective of a certain raider. And then I have my fourteen other files and random pieces of inspiration that may yet see daylight…

Me: Any parting words of wisdom for fellow writers, whether seasoned veterans or beginners?
Hannah: Do what you want, break rules, tell the truth, and above all don’t be antisocial. Happy Advent.

LOVE IT.  Thanks, Hannah!  Everybody go check her out – like I said before, she’s awesome – and enter the contest, if you haven’t already!

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interview with author morgan huneke & cover reveal.

Hey, everybody!  Today is the cover reveal day for my friend Morgan Huneke‘s new book, Espionage!

Espionage Cover Front.jpg

“Sir Roland has invited us to visit for the Autumn Feast.”

“Do we have to go, Papa? I couldn’t feast with the most crooked politician in all of Briznom.”

As the daughter of a Briznomian vassal lord, Vannie Cumberland has spent her childhood immersed in the world of politics. Relations between Briznom and the neighboring country of Calhortz are strained due to the tyrannical rule of the strytes. A proposed alliance could calm relations between the two countries, but would come at the cost of Briznom’s freedom.

When her father’s political archenemy invites them to the Autumn Feast, Vannie uncovers an evil scheme endangering the life of someone close to her. Personal enmity comes to a dangerous head as Vannie struggles to expose the corruption and stop the alliance. Time is running out.

Events are becoming too big for her to handle. Will Sir Roland’s son help or will things finally spiral out of control?

Espionage, A Companion to Time Captives, will be released on May 16th, 2016. Stay tuned on Morgan’s blog and Facebook page for more information and sneak peeks.

Preorder on Kindle now!

Morgan Elizabeth Huneke is a homeschool graduate who lives in Georgia. She has enjoyed creating characters and writing stories since early childhood. Her other interests include reading, playing the piano and violin, and politics. She is the author of Across the Stars and The Experiment as well as the Time Captives fantasy trilogy.

You can connect with Morgan on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Morgan did interviews with some bloggers (including me) for the reveal, which you can see, plus some behind-the-scenes stuff, here.  Below are my questions and her answers!

Me: Wow, this picture is so breathtaking! What insanely talented and probably also insanely beautiful photographer did you use? *wink*

Morgan: Haha. You know exactly who the photographer was. 😉 You did a great job on the picture, though. If I had taken it, it would have been a disaster. You even arranged her dress just right. Thanks so much!

Me: What was the worst thing about writing this book?

Morgan: Hmm. Unlike Time Captives, this was a pretty easy book to write, so it’s hard to think of what was the worst. I’m going to say coming to the end every time with a burning desire to write a sequel and having zero plot. Though it was also difficult when I was a bit stuck because I couldn’t figure out how to get the evidence they needed.

Me: What kept you sane while writing this?

Morgan: My sanity wasn’t very fleeting on this book, though I believe it was during this project that my brain decided it would rather think about Becoming Nikki for a period of time. {Ashley’s note: HAHAHA sorry.} Fantastic music was good. I listened to The Giver soundtrack on repeat for days. And Vannie and Kyle themselves were great for keeping my sanity. I love those two.

interview: amy dashwood, co-creator of ‘masked.’

Hey, kids!  I’ve dragged Amy here again to talk about her newest project, Masked, which is a webseries based on the Scarlet Pimpernel books.  Check it out!  (And then go to Amy’s blog and send her lots of love, then follow Masked‘s official YouTube page, Tumblr, Instagram, and Twitter.  You’re welcome.)

masked logo 31) Hello, and welcome to inklings press!!!  I don’t think I can explain how excited I am to be interviewing you.  I love webseries and I love The Scarlet Pimpernel, so this is kind of a big deal.  : D  First of all, who came up with the idea to do a webseries of TSP and how did Masked eventually come about?

Thank you so much for featuring the show here! It’s so exciting to be doing an interview with you. 🙂  What a coincidence, I love web series and the Scarlet Pimpernel too… what a coincidence. 😀

I came up with the idea of making a web series based on TSP in January 2014… Emma Approved, a show I was really enjoying (and still do, though it’s ended!) was currently on hiatus and making me think about what a cool concept was utilized in literary web series.  It seemed like such a simple method *hysterical echoing laughter in the distance* of reinterpreting a classic for a modern audience, and I wanted to make one of my own.  It couldn’t be that hard, right? *more hysterical laughter*  I was casting about in my mind for a novel that hadn’t been adapted yet and wasn’t likely to be “taken” anytime soon by someone else, and I hit on The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Originally our plan was to tell the entire story in vlog format, but we quickly realized that certain elements of the plot just wouldn’t translate to that kind of medium! So we morphed into a more narrative style, and without giving too much away about the future, I think it’s safe to say that the method of storytelling is going to take some interesting twists and turns.  😉

2) I love how webseries like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Green Gables Fables update classic stories for the present day.  Without giving too much away, can you tell us how you’ve updated TSP for the modern era?

Absolutely! First of all, we’ve translated revolutionary France to 21st-century United States.  The main character, Margot, is an aspiring actress (unlike Marguerite St. Just in the book who is a professional actress) trying to save enough to put her younger sister through college.  The other main character, known at the moment as The Scarlet Pimpernel (no spoilers :P) is working to rescue victims of blackmail from drug rings, instead of spiriting French aristocrats out of prison during the Reign of Terror.  It’s been really interesting trying to balance the original source material with a realistic modern setting, while still trying to stay true to the story!

IMG_42113) I’m super interested in how you cast this thing.  Did you do open casting calls, or did you have specific people in mind when you started brainstorming Masked?

Well, when I first came up with the idea, I knew my friend Ally would be perfect for Margot’s character– and her sister Belle was a very natural addition to the case as Margot’s sister Suzanne. After that, we had open casting calls.  It was a difficult process– had one suuuuuuper fun experience with an actor signing up for a role and then dropping out without warning– but eventually we found everyone, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this cast is PHENOMENAL and working with them was truly a privilege.

However, when I say “open casting calls,” I should clarify– since the show was filmed in the Kansas City area and I was directing casting from Pennsylvania, all the auditioning and screening took place online.  Interested actors submitted resumes and headshots, Ally (co-producer) and Melody (assistant producer) and I reviewed them, then our favorites were asked to send in a video audition performing a selection from the script.  If we liked what we saw in the video audition, I then conducted an interview via Skype or phone with the actor to see if they’d be a good fit for the role.  And thennnnnn we made our final decision.  😉

4) How many viewings of TSP82 and readings of the book (and other Scarlet Pimpernel books) went into making Masked?

Good grief, I don’t even know! I mean, I reread the book before beginning to write the scripts and then paged through it again DURING writing so many times that I basically read it all over again.  I think Ally read it once while we were brainstorming, and I know several of our cast members read it while prepping for their roles– and almost every single person involved in the show watched the 1982 movie during production, either for inspiration or just to get a feel for the story.  So… yeah, it was a lot.  🙂

IMG_42315) This might be an off-limits question, but is Masked going to be a one-season deal, or might there be more seasons?  I know the stories could just go on and on because of the plotline of TSP... but will they???

Classified information. 😉  I will say, however, that a lot of the future of the show depends on audience reception, and how much interest people show in seeing more.

6) Was it hard to pick the cast?  Were any of the roles harder to cast than others?

Picking our cast really wasn’t too hard because out of all the people who auditioned, it was generally pretty clear who was best for each role.  Obviously acting talent and appearance (pretty open-ended but they had to be the right age and gender) played a big part in that, but commitment, dedication to the project, flexibility of schedule and interest in the original story were also deciding factors.

Probably the hardest roles to cast were those of the St. Cyr family, since they had to look at least somewhat alike!  Kristian Jett, who plays Angelo, was cast first, and Daniel Olson (who plays Tim) came along later, once we were on the lookout for someone who looked like he could conceivably be Kristian’s brother.  Becca Stabno, who plays Mrs. St. Cyr, also had to look sufficiently like both of them to make it plausible! (Also, we bought ourselves a little wiggle-room by making them half-siblings. Haha.)

7) Any special sponsors you’d like to recognize?  (If you don’t have any sponsors, now’s the time to beg for some.)IMG_4221

Well, we don’t have any corporate sponsors right now (although we would LOOOOOOOVE to have some– ModCloth, are you listening??) but we’d definitely like to thank some of the people and places that helped us out with filming!  The Neighborhood Cafe in Lee’s Summit, MO, the Metropolitan Community College of Longview, MO and the Songbird Cafe in Grandview, MO particularly come to mind.  We’re very grateful to Kelly, Amy (not me :P) and Ebony, especially, for securing us permission to film in those locations.

8) And, finally, any tips for someone thinking about doing a webseries?

Um.  Think long and hard before you throw your young life away so fast.  Haaaaaaaa.

…Kidding.  But seriously, it’s been a blast making this show and I definitely would like to encourage anyone who’s thinking of producing their own!  The most important advice I can give (what, why am I giving advice now) is probably just to take it slow, allow yourself wayyyy more time than you think you’re going to need, accept help when it’s offered, thank people when they do help you, and don’t be afraid to ask people for help. Seriously. People want to help young filmmakers achieve their goals, and it’s amazing sometimes just how much help they’re willing to give if you simply ask nicely.  Also, step outside of your comfort zone now and get ready to run circles around it and miles into the distance, because you won’t be seeing it again for a long time.  Heh.

Also… have fun. 😀

——–

Thanks so much, Amy!!!  (Gosh, I love that girl.)  Here’s the trailer again, in case you missed it.

Aaaaaand the first episode came out TODAY – BLAHHHHHH – so here it is below!

Support my friends and watch the show.  Plz.

interview with author morgan huneke

Morgan cropped blurred background

A few weeks ago, I was able to interview Morgan Huneke and ask her a few questions about her new novel, Creighton Hill, as part of her blog tour.  We talked via text, which was super-duper fun.  We got a little off-topic a few times, so excuse our pardon.  *wink*  Check it out!  (My words are in italics and hers are normal.)

Welcome to inklings press, Morgan! It’s great to have you. 🙂

–Great to be here!

First off, tell us a little about yourself and about your novel, Creighton Hill!

Creighton Hill Cover Front–I’m a Christian homeschool graduate, an author, an aspiring violinist, among many other things. Creighton Hill is my third book and first fantasy. It’s about a family that has had a child disappear without a trace from every generation for two hundred years. Four siblings set out to find out what happened to them, with their teenage sister’s skepticism following them all the way.

With interviews like this, I’d normally say something about how awesome that sounds, but since I’ve actually had the pleasure of reading Creighton Hill, I can say that it actually WAS awesome! I love how original your premise is and the time jumping between the historical and modern time periods.

–Yay! I’m glad you think it’s awesome. 🙂 I kind of got the idea of jumping between time periods from ABC’s Once Upon a Time, but I use it differently since I follow different characters in each time period. I’m rather addicted to that method of storytelling now…

Sweet! I love time jumping. (One of my favorite musicals is told in a non-linear format. Very original and totally awesome.) Anywho, what are some things you like to do besides write?

–Read, of course! My favorite series now is Ilyon Chroncles by Jaye L. Knight. I like to play the violin, and finished my first semester in a student orchestra a few weeks ago, in which I realized you’re better at sight reading than I am. I love to babysit because I really love kids. I sew and make a lot of my own clothes. I’ve worked in lots of campaigns, mostly for Barry Loudermilk. And I like to sing Disney and other musical songs. Like Phantom of the Opera. It’s amazing.

CreightonHill1I still need to read those… I’m glad you joined us! And thank you, haha! I’m only better than you because I had an AWESOME piano teacher who taught me how to sight read, though. I take none of the credit. 😉 We have so many of the same interests!!! And don’t even get me started on musicals – especially Phantom. I’ll start fangirling, which is NOT the professional thing to do during an interview. 😉 Which of your characters would you most like to spend the day with, and what’s the first thing you’d say to them?

–It’s crazy how many of the same interests we have. We might as well be twins, right? But I’ll try not to let you fangirl. 😉 Hmm, I think I’d most like to spend the day with Adriel, since he’s My Precious, but he doesn’t come into the story of Time Captives until book two. Of the ones who actually have a story in Creighton Hill, it would probably be Abigail. She’s sweet, she’s from the Regency era, and she plays the violin. Though Joey would probably be a lot of fun. The first thing I’d say… Hi, I’m your author and I’m sorry for ruining your life. Sort of. 😉

I liked Abigail, too! Especially her violin-playing and how realistic it was because you play, too. (We talked about that the other day, didn’t we?) If I ever met my characters, I’d probably say the same thing. 😀

–We did. I had to do a quick Google search to make sure she was playing pieces that were around in her day, but I made sure her playing was accurate. I could have gone into more technical details if I’d wanted to, but non violinists wouldn’t care. 🙂 (You’d need to say that. To Alec and Nikki, but especially to Daniella. I really want to read that book.)

arthur darvill - king joseph

arthur darvill – king joseph

Internet. So helpful. 😉 Yeah, that was my struggle in Becoming Nikki – being detailed enough to be accurate, but at the same time, be compelling enough to keep the interest of non-skaters. XD (Haha! You will… someday.) Speaking of my books, I love character casting! I’ve done it for all of my novels. Have you cast any actors as your characters?

–It’s a balance, for sure. (When is someday?) I have a lot of Pinterest pictures for my characters, but there’s only a few that I actually know are actors. Most of those don’t really show up till book two or three, but I’ll list them anyway. Grown up Estranna (an elf) is the lady who played Lilliandil in Dawn Treader. I ought to look up her name sometime. [Edit by Ashley: Her name is Laura Brent.]  Her brother Draewin is Tom Hiddleston, and I decided to cast Arthur Darvill as Joseph, the rightful king because Rory is awesome. Vannie Cumberland, the star of the companion book, only has a small part in Time Captives, but she’s cast as a young Lexi Johnson. My books I’m writing the rough drafts of now have lots of actors, but we’re here to talk about Time Captives. Oh, and I haven’t actually cast her, but Katie McGrath would make a great Toarna.

Definitely. (And someday is after I finish writing and editing it.) Hiddles and Arthur Darvill! Awesome!!!

tom hiddleston (duhhhh) - draewin

tom hiddleston (duhhhh) – draewin

–Yes. They’re amazing. 🙂

Moving on before I start fangirling again… How do you motivate yourself to write? Have you ever done NaNo? (Kinda two questions instead of one. #sorrynotsorry)

–:) I haven’t done NaNo, but I want to. I’m hoping to do Camp in July if I can decide what book to work on. The story itself is often a good motivator, but when it gets hard I set goals. Like, write this many chapters in a week, or try to finish the book by this date. I rarely make my goal, but it does get me to write. I did a contest with my sister one week to see who would write the most, and even though I lost and knew I would, it was still a great motivator. Limiting myself to one main project and having another I’m really excited about also helps, because then I want to finish so I can write the new story.

lexi johnson - vannie cumberland

lexi johnson – vannie cumberland

NaNo is seriously the best thing to jump-start your novels. I’m three for three, and have nearly two and a half novels to show for it. I love NaNo – can ya tell? 😉 That’s a great motivator! I try to do that, too, but it’s usually trying to write a certain amount of words in a sitting (because my writing time is insanely limited these days). I remember when you did that! I’ve written with a friend before, and that was one of my best writing days ever. (Thanks, Frankie!) Haha – limiting to one project is a good idea, too. I’ve started new novels while still writing and it’s pretty distracting. 😛

–I have a lot started, but I have to just focus on one, or none of them will ever get done. 😛 You probably also remember my complaining about how we HAD to have picked the week I banged up my arm for our contest and how much of a disadvantage I was at. 🙂

Very true! I’ve got something going in my mind right now, but I’m waiting to start it until I’m done with The Art of Letting Go. I do remember that!!! XD Excuses, excuses. 😉

laura brent - estranna

laura brent – estranna

–I like excuses. 😉

So do I. A little too much. 😀 Which authors and/or books would you say have influenced your writing the most?

–C. S. Lewis certainly had a lot of influence on me in countless ways. Narnia is such a part of my literary self, it’s impossible for it NOT to have influenced me. Martha Finley’s writing style is sort of where I get mine. It’s old fashioned and very neat sounding and I like it muchly. But to name every author that ever influenced me would take forever.

LEWIS. I love him so very muchly. I think nearly every young Christian author can say that Narnia impacted their writing. So. Good.

–YES. He’s fantastically amazing. ‘Nough said. 😉

Absolutely. Moving on. Are you working on any other novels right now?

katie mcgrath - toarna

katie mcgrath – toarna

–Actually, yes. I’m working on an outer space dystopian that has a society sort of similar to The Giver but in space and different. It’s about a girl who becomes a copilot and accidentally goes to another galaxy (the one from Across the Stars [one of Morgan’s previous novels – check it out!] where she starts to learn about reality. I love it muchly and Bradley James is the main guy, so, you know. Great story. I’m also working on a sci-fi in a fantasy world story that involves a kidnapped baby and a scientist and bionics. It’s inspired by Pinterest and Lab Rats, stars Brenton Thwaites and is going to be SOO sad. My goal is to make you cry. Muahaha.

Wow! Outer space dystopia is a lot different than time-traveling fantasy. 😀 Bradley James! That second one sounds great, too! And the goal is to make me cry? Gosh. 😛 Well, I guess that’s only fair since one of my goals for The Art of Letting Go is to make YOU cry because you allegedly “never cry in books except for Bridge to Terabithia” (which I will allow because that is A SAD BOOK).

–It’s very different from anything I’ve ever written, and I love it so much for that. Bradley James is awesome. And you need to watch Merlin so you know just how awesome and what an amazing actor he is. 😉 Bridge to Terebithia is super sad. It was when they took her desk out of the classroom that I totally lost it. I’ve cried over more movies than books, but it’s generally just when it’s based on or inspired by real events. Though “Doomsday” always puts tears in my eyes. TAoLG sounds really sad. You just might succeed.

It sounds like it! And I want to see Merlin SO bad – you know that. 😉 It’s on The List. Gahhhh, stop. I read the book for the first time and watched the movie as soon as I finished it. Can you say… MISTAKE?! Baby Josh ripped. my. heart. apart. T_T You should never watch or read Unbroken, then. You’ll be bawling. (Actually you should read or watch it. Because it’s awesome.) Haha, I’ll take that as a compliment. 😉

–We should have a Merlin marathon, then. Then I could work on getting over the ending. I had to wait for my birthday to get the movie, though I actually got it a few days early since I had just gotten my wisdom teeth out. Which may be why the movie didn’t actually make me cry. But so good. And I want to watch and read Unbroken. But I think we’re trailing off into fangirling territory. 😉

We should! And you’ve got to at least watch Unbroken, although the book is a million times better. Louis Zamperini is my hero. :))))) Haha, very true! But my last question is totally a fangirl question. Feel free to let loose. 😉 I think I already know the answer to this, but what’s your favorite BBC show and episode from that show?

CreightonHill7Doctor Who, of course. But how can I choose a favorite episode? My favorite Doctor is Ten because David Tennant is just awesome and my favorite companion is Rose. My favorite Ten and Rose would probably be “Impossible Planet” because it’s scary and even though they get separated they’re just so awesome together. So easy to ship there. 🙂 One of my favorite Eleventh Doctor episodes is “Let’s Kill Hitler.” It’s such a great representation of the show: funny, sad, intense, wibbly-wobbly. And I recently watched the 2007 Children in Need special where Ten meets Five and it was just amazing. Especially since we’ve been watching Five. I think I can pick a favorite Classic episode, which would be “Mawdryn Undead.” The Brigadier comes back! And it’s Five! I really love “Day of the Doctor” and “Time of the Doctor” almost made me cry last time. Can I pick almost every episode? (But not “Love and Monsters”, that was stupid.)

Haha, I knew it!!! I thought you’d pick “Doomsday” as your favorite episode, though. 😉 jk.

–I do really like that one. Like a lot. I’ve seen it three times. It’s good, but sad. And I love the song “Doomsday.” Just about made me cry at the recital, though that can partially be blamed on nerves. 😉

Oh my gosh, they played it so well!!! My sister and I were quietly fangirling in our seats. XD Well, that’s all the questions I have for you today. Thanks for dropping by! This was really fun. 🙂

–It was so good! Thanks for having me! It was a lot of fun. 🙂

You are so welcome! Best of luck with Creighton Hill!

–Thanks!

interview with author hayden wand!

Hayden 282C2Today, I’m here with the illustrious, newly-published Hayden Wand!  Her novel, Hidden Pearls, came out a few weeks ago.  Check it out!

Welcome to inklings press, Hayden!  Tell us a little about yourself and your novel, Hidden Pearls.  (SQUEE.)

Hello, Ashley! I’m a 20-year-old homeschool graduate, living with my family in South Carolina. I’ve been writing since the age of eight or so (my first “novels” were heavily influenced by Swiss Family Robinson and the the American Girl books 😉 and now, so many years later, I have an actual book! 🙂
 
Hidden Pearls is a historical Christian fiction novel set during the Regency era (I never give an exact date in the book, but it’s around 1815-17). It has a large cast and several POVS, but it mostly focuses on nineteen-year-old Constance Steele and her voyage overseas to visit an American aunt she’s never met.
Sounds fantastic!  Before we get into Hidden Pearls, though, what are a few of your favorite things to do, outside of writing? 
I simply love creating things, so I enjoy making paper flowers and bookmarks, working on embroidery projects, and other “crafty” projects. I also read a lot and I love movies. I’m also trying to take up archery (I got a bow for Christmas) but sadly, we don’t have a lot of room to practice in our backyard. After shooting a few holes through the fence, I decided to hold off on that for awhile, lest I hit a neighbor’s dog or something.
HA!  Okay, don’t lie – I know you’re a book and film junkie like myself.  😀  What are a few of your favorite books and movies?
How much time do we have? 😉
Really, though, I love stories wherever they’re found, so I am a big movie and book person. I love L.M. Montgomery’s books- especially Anne of Green Gables, Rilla of Ingleside, and The Blue Castle– and I also really like Sherlock Holmes mysteries. I love The Scarlet Pimpernel, Our Mutual Friend, Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, Captain Blood, Little Dorrit, An Old-fashioned Girl….maybe I should stop now? 
As far as movies go, I love period dramas, (especially Cranford, Little Dorrit, and Emma) Marvel movies, the Lord of the Rings,  action/adventure movies, classic black-and-white films such as Sabrina or Roman Holiday, and Disney movies. Oh, and musicals. You can’t forget musicals.
Who are some of your favorite authors, and how do you think they’ve influenced your writing?
Well, I’ve always been impressed by Charles Dickens’s intricate plots, Jane Austen’s wit, C.S. Lewis’s straightforward writing style, and the humorous escapades of L.M. Montgomery’s characters, so they’ve probably been my greatest influences.
One of the things I love about the behind-the-scenes process of writing a novel is learning how the auhiddenpearlskindlecoverthors got the ideas for their books.  What inspired you to write Hidden Pearls?
None other than the illustrious Jane Austen (I have a feeling most writers who’ve tackled the Regency era will give the same answer). However, as you can probably tell from the above questions, I also love action and adventure, so I decided to add a good dollop of that into a Regency-era plot. Thus Hidden Pearls was born!
Awesome!  Another thing I personally love about writing is dream casting.  If you had all the money and connections you needed, what would a film version of Hidden Pearls look like?  (Be sure to give detailed details about casting, setting, costumes, etc.)
It would be grand period drama! 🙂 Though I’ve “casted” many of my characters on my Pinterest board, I paid attention solely to looks, not acting skills or nationalities, so those aren’t hard-and-fasting casting picks 😉
The costumes would be such fun. And as there does seem to be a habit of ‘costume sharing’ in period dramas, I wouldn’t mind snagging a few dresses from Sense and Sensibility ’08, Emma ’09 or even Austenland. 🙂
The setting would be quite a variety. In England, we have both the countryside and the city, but there are a lot of scenes that take place on the ocean. Some take place in South Carolina, others in Bermuda, and there’s even a scene in Puerto Rico, so there’d be a lot of hopping around!
Wow!  I’d love to watch that movie!  Who was the hardest character to write?
Hmmm. Well, it’s always intimidating to write male characters because I am, in fact, female 😉 That being said, two of my main male characters- Jack and Arthur- were relatively easy. It was Edward Hartley whose personality it took me a while to grasp.
I’ve found that when I write in different settings, I get – for lack of a better description – different vibes that vary in each place I write, whether it be at the foot of my bed, in my basement, or in a library.  Do you always write in a certain place, or do you move around a lot?
That is so true! I write best in my room, without a doubt. I’m not one of those people who can write anywhere, although I do have different spaces that I find easier to write in than others. The main requirement, though, is that it has to be somewhat secluded. I can’t write with people hovering over my shoulder.
Same here!  I like to write away from prying eyes, too.  Now that Hidden Pearls is done, what’s next?  Will you take a break or are you already in the middle of your next masterpiece?
No breaks for me, unfortunately.  My novella for Five Enchanted Roses, “The Wulver’s Rose” is in the throes of its first re-write, and I also have about three other novels I’m working on.
Last question: Who would you cast as Percy in a reboot of The Scarlet Pimpernel?
Oh, you’re trying to sneak this one in, are you? 😉 I have the feeling you already know the answer to this question, but I’ll say it- Tom Hiddleston. (incidentally, there’s an “easter egg’ in Hidden Pearls that references the elusive Sir Percy, so be on the lookout for it!)
Thanks for stopping by!  Best of luck with all of your writing!

interview with kate hackett of classic alice!!!

I don’t think it’s a secret that I really – really – like watching web series. (Series? Serieses? Meh.) The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was the first one I watched, and I soon got slightly addicted. I’ve seen bits and pieces of different shows in the style of the LBD, but it’s hard to find any that are even close to the amazingness that is the LBD. (Shameless plug: I’m sure Masked will be amazing and I can’t wait to watch it!)

Enter Classic Alice.

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I discovered CA a few months ago and instantly watched all of the episodes that had been released up to that point. Here’s the synopsis from the official website:

Classic Alice’ is the brainchild of series creator and star, Kate Hackett. It is the story of Alice Rackham, a college student with a huge drive to succeed. When she gets a bad grade on an essay because she isn’t emotionally connecting to material, she decides to take it a step further and live her life according to classic novels. Her friend, Andrew Prichard, uses the opportunity to make a vlog-style documentary about the process, and together they create ‘Classic Alice’.

See what I mean? Besides a few very minor cautions (some language and a few mild innuendos), I’d recommend it to anyone who loved the LBD or Emma Approved. Seriously. You’ll love it. It’s top aces. 😉

So, without further ado, here’s an interview I did with the creator, writer, and star of Classic Alice, Kate Hackett!

465621_kate28webHey, Kate! Welcome to inklings press!

Thanks for having me!

First off, let me just say that it’s a pleasure to have you and that I’m so excited to be interviewing you! I discovered Classic Alice in August, so I had quite a few episodes to watch in a row and get addicted to. : ) I’m a huge fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved, and CA was the perfect thing to get hooked on after EA ended.

Oh, thank you so much; getting compared to Lizzie or Emma or really any Pemberley show is such a huge compliment; the Emma cast is such an amazing group of friends too, so I’m honored to be lumped with them.

My first question has to do with the concept. I love the premise of the show! Can you explain it for my readers and tell us about how you came up with the idea?

The concept came about because I was asked to do some hosting & I have no real love of hosting. So I asked the people who had approached me if they would mind a scripted narrative told in a format that bridged the gap from ‘hosted YouTube show’ to ‘TV programming’.

“Vlogging?” they asked.
“Yes.”
“Oh, like Lizzie Bennet.”
Yes. Kinda. 😉

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A lot of the show seems very casual and unscripted. How much of it is scripted and how much of it is ad lib?

Everything is scripted, but we do allow room for the cast to improv at the end of some takes. Sometimes we include those moments, sometimes we don’t, but the meat of every episode has been pretty meticulously written. Tony will generally get a few takes out with the lines nailed word-perfect & then add some of his own flavor to it. Kate does the same & will react to what Tony (usually) gives her. Elise gives us improv first then hits the lines for safety. Reid was word-perfect until we told her she could play and Chris gave us AMAZING improv during the Ewan-introduction, but then stuck very carefully to the script! (…as far as I recall.)

ec9677d6b6a8344a84a1253eecfb239bI think your cast is absolutely perfect, too. It must be so much fun to play the main character in something you created! Did you know from the beginning who was going to play every character, or did you have to look a little to find the perfect actors?

I did not know! I offered Cara to Elise, who was a buddy of mine already, but I had Tony, Chris, and Reid all audition — I had to find them.

I especially like the idea that the show can go on for as long as you want it to. Did you have the entire story planned from the beginning, or is a continual work in progress?

I have an idea of where I want things to go, but it’s a creative industry: things can change! I keep things open for adjustment.

andrewI think my favorite character is Andrew. I love him sooooo much! How’d you come up with his character? Are there any literary characters that you based him on?

Andrew was originally an Abed-from-Community kind of guy who we had to completely morph when my first draft wasn’t what the original producers wanted; after their projects fell to the wayside & I decided to make Classic Alice on my own, I went ahead and kept Andrew as he had became! He’s based on what I wish my boyfriend would be. WOMPWOMP!!!! Kidding. No, I think I just wrote him as a kind of human being that I could see in the Valeton universe; his development comes from me caring very much about the character I made!

Last question! Can you give me any hints about what’ll be happening in the future between Alice and Andrew? I ship them… REALLY hard. : )

Well. Without spoilers: you really want us to have a book 8.

Well, that’s fantastic, because I already wanted a book 8.  YAY.  Thank you SO much!

Interview with Author Kendra E. Ardnek!

Kendra E. Ardnek is the author of many books, four of which are published.  I had the honor of interviewing her to celebrate the publishing of her fourth novel, The Ankulen.

1.  I’m so excited to be interviewing an author again and sharing about another wonderful novel with my blog!  First of all, tell me about yourself.

Hello there! I’m a eighteen year old author of four self-published books, The Ankulen being my newest, and the eldest of four siblings.  I fell in love with stories before I could talk (and I was an early talker, incidentally) and started writing them as soon as I figured out how. I published my first book at the age of sixteen. Fantasy is my favorite genre, thanks to an overdose of Fairy Tales and Nutcracker as a child. I blog at knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com and my official site is kendraeardnek.weebly.com.

 2.  In a nutshell, what is The Ankulen about?

(I’m resisting the urge to make a snide, nutshell-themed joke here)
The text on the back of the cover reads, “Fifteen-year-old Jen can’t remember her imagination. She knows she had one once, though, and honestly, she’d like it back. It’s been eight years. One day she finds a young boy who claims to be one of her imaginary friends and that her imaginary world is being eaten by a hydra-like monster called the Polystoikhedron. He helps her find the Ankulen, a special bracelet that had given the ability to bring her imagination to life and together they embark on a quest to find friendship, healing, and perhaps even some family.”

 3.  Speaking of the title, I’m sure a lot of my readers are wondering what on earth an “Ankulen” is.  Care to enlighten them?

In short, an Ankulen is a piece of jewelry that brings imagination to life. Jen’s is a bracelet, mine is a ring. The owner is called an Anka or Anku, depending on whether they’re a girl or a guy.

  4.  I’ve always enjoyed the stories of how authors came up with ideas for their novels.  What inspired you to write The Ankulen?

This book began as a play that my younger cousin wanted to perform at our next family get together. We were both really into acting, and we had a “stage” in our backyard (Actually it was part of a really expensive bed, but it worked!), so we wanted to do something together. So we assigned ourselves names (I was Jenifer and he was Chris) and started making stuff up as we went along.
We could never come up with an ending that we could pull off with our limited special effects, so eventually we gave up. But the idea wouldn’t go away. Eventually I decided to change it into a book, and in January of last year, I pulled up a word document, started typing, and never looked back.

 5.  Are you working on any other novels so far?

Several. Right now I’m focusing on three. My Kingdom for a Quest, the third book in my Bookania Quests series which is my personal retellings and mash-ups of various myths, legends, and fairy tales. Worth of a King, which I’m co-writing with a friend, is the story of a pair of royal twins who were separated at birth, he to be raised as a peasant, she as a princess and the intended of the son of their father’s assassin. Water Princess, Fire Prince, the first book in my Rizkaland Legends, which are hard to explain without comparing them to Narnia and Oz, which sounds cheesy. The next book I plan to publish, however, is a short story collection.

 6.  Do you listen to music when you write?  If so, what kind?  What’s in your current favorite playlist?

Not often. Sometimes I’ll pull out my MP3 player and listen to a playlist that I’ve set up, but I’ve never noticed any real change in my writing for either positive or negative. When I do listen, my playlist is made of some Mozart, some songs from “Songs from a Broken Heart” (look them up – they’re really good Christian group, all the ones I’ve listened to are theologically sound, and they’re all FREE), and the songs off my Isaac’s CD. (A Christian Bluegrass group).

 7.  Do you like to drink coffee, tea, water, or anything else while you write?  What about chocolate???  : )
Call me a strange author, but I can’t stand coffee, and there are only a few teas that I will drink. I do like some lemon tea during the winter, but that’s because I get really bad sore throats. I always have water on my desk, because I don’t want to dehydrate myself.
As for chocolate, I can take it or leave it. I’m more of a vanilla person. I’ll drink hot chocolate, and if you give me chocolate, I’ll probably eat it, but I prefer white chocolate. On another note, I really like hot apple cider, but I don’t get it as often as I would like.

 8.  Besides writing, what are some of your other hobbies?

Knitting, crochet, various other handcrafts (but not sewing – embroidery I can don, but add a machine and I’m lost), pretending I’m an artist, putting together 500+ piece puzzles, helping my younger siblings in school, cooking, washing the dishes, building sand castles, growing herbs … oh … so I do have a life outside of my writing …

 9.  Tell me about the latest book you read!

The last book I finished was Abolished Impracticality, which I was beta reading for a friend of mine. It’s the unpublished second book of her steampunk series. It’s a good series, I highly recommend it.

 10.  What’s some advice you would give to an aspiring author?
Don’t talk about writing. Write. And read, both the classics and modern works. If you don’t read, you forget how the written word is supposed to look. Classics because they’re good enough to last, modern because you want to know what people want to read now.

Thanks, Kendra!

I hope you’ll all go and buy The Ankulen.  It’s a great book!

~Eowyn~