From my old blog/Von meinem alten Blog | 01/15/2016
I’m very excited about today’s post, because I have A.J. Celis over, a super nice and super funny writer from the US who I’ve gotten to know through Shanna. I was lucky enough to beta read his novel „Someday My Pain Will Mark You“ which is a heart-warming, emotional and at times just heart-breaking story. I FREAKING LOVED IT!! OK?! I’d love to see this story published, so I can hold it in my hands and read it all over again (and maybe just hug it?)! But without further ado, here is the interview (did that just rhyme??):
Hello A.J., I’m so happy to have you on my blog today! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hey, Kim! Thanks for having me! And oh, gosh, I’m so bad at telling people about myself! I’m 5’6, 22 years old, black hair, brown eyes, my social security number is—
I’m kidding. I would never give that away.
But seriously, I’m sooo not good at telling people about myself. Maybe that alone should tell you something about me? Haha.
You’ve finished writing your first novel „Someday My Pain Will Mark You“ last year. When and how did you get the idea for the story? What is the story about?
Actually, SMPWMY is my fifth novel! But it’s the first novel that made me very serious about publishing.
Other than my personal circumstances, SMPWMY was inspired from when I was walking to class one day (this was back in my senior year of high school) and I noticed this gigantic scratch along the side of my arm. And I inspected it and I was like, “Where did that come from?!” because I didn’t recall scratching an itch on my arm or scrubbing my arm against something. It was just THERE. (And apparently, this happens to everyone, where they notice something on their skin and don’t know where it came from.) So then this story started forming in my head, and that’s how it all began. It’s funny, because I was in the middle of working on a novel back then, and I completely disregarded it just to work on SMPWMY. That particular novel remains unfinished to this day.
In the simplest way I can explain, mainly because I don’t want to post spoilers, SMPWMY is a story about a 16 year old girl named Caroline, who must stay away from the emotionally troubled boy she’s falling for, or risks her physical well-being and the safety of her family.
What?! Five novels already?? I didn’t know you were a superhero!! Ok, back to the questions. A.J., you’re querying agents at the moment. Pitch „Someday My Pain Will Mark You“ in 140 characters or less!
Oh, gosh this is like #PitMad! Okay, okay, let’s see…
“ELEANOR & PARK meets THE GREEN MILE. Tadashi discovers his ability to heal pain is actually being transferred to someone else.”
You’re still quite young and yet you have written a complete novel! (Or rather five like I’ve just learned!) At what age did you start writing?
I’ve always had a thing for writing since I was a child, but I didn’t get serious about it until I participated in National Novel Writing Month with my writing club back in high school. I was in the 10th grade (I was 15/16 years old), and I didn’t have any clue on how to write a novel. But I learned a lot that year, and I still use what I learned back then to this day.
Are you a plotter or a pantser? How much do you outline your story before you start writing your first draft?
I’m both a plotter and pantser! Before I start working on a book, I immediately know what scenes are set in stone. For example, I might know what happens in Point A and Point C, but I don’t know what happens in between, aka Point B. It’s those gaps between the “major” scenes that force me to outline, which can be frustrating at times, but those gaps provide character growth, which is just as important.
Do you have a favourite time of the day and a favourite place to write? What are you doing when you’re not writing?
I can write at any time of the day, just as long as I’m alone. Haha. I do prefer to write late at night, because for some reason, that’s when most of the creativity juices in my brain start flowing, and I’m a lot more emotional, which allows me to better connect with the story and characters. I know, that sounds weird.
My favorite place to write is in the office area of my bedroom. I can’t do it anywhere else.
When I’m not writing, I like to read (obviously). But I also LOVE to binge-watch shows on Netflix. I’m currently bingeing The Office, Jessica Jones, and Twin Peaks.
„Someday My Pain Will Mark You“ is a contemporary with paranormal/fantasy elements. Can you see yourself writing stories in other genres, too?
Oh, absolutely. I love writing, in general. Whether it’s fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, so forth. I just want to tell stories regardless of the genre.
You’re working on a new WIP. Would you like to share some details about it?
Sure! It’s a YA contemporary book (see, I told you I can write in other genres! Haha.) and I’m not quite sure if I can tell you the title yet, since it’s just a working title. Anyway, my WIP is about two internet best friends, Lorelai and Atticus, who happen to be famous figures on a popular blogging website and decide to meet for the first time when Lorelai receives the opportunity to visit her dream college in upstate New York, close to where Atticus lives. There, they get to know one another, but soon their friendship blossoms into something unexpected and must deal with the consequences of the relationship they decided to pursue.
Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers? Something you might have had to learn the hard way yourself?
Keep reading, and writing. I’m sure these advices have been given out from many writers, but it’s true. Read so you know how authors do a certain thing; write so you can practice it. I’m a firm believer that writing takes a lot of practice, AND a lot of patience, but if you keep at it, you’ll find your style and your voice. It took me years to find mine, and luckily, it was when I wrote SMPWMY.
Thank you so much for this interview, A.J.! I hope you find the right agent soon and wish you all the best! (And I’m dying to read your new WIP!
No, thank you! I’m honored to be interviewed. And thanks! I’m also dying to send you my new WIP, but it’s not finished yet. It will be soon, though!
You all have to agree that A.J. is awesome! Don’t you think?! I’m super happy I got the chance to meet him and I’m proud to call him my friend!
Go follow him on Twitter: @aljoncelis