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The Book Smuggler’s Den was contacted but yet another fantastic indie author, Shay Siegel. Siegel is from Long Island, New York, and is the author of Fractured a contemporary young adult fiction. Fractured is a bold debut novel that I think all can relate to. Inspiring authors, continue reading to see what she had to say about being a writer.
What inspired you to write a book?
I have always loved writing, it’s the way I feel most comfortable expressing myself. Telling stories through writing comes naturally because it’s not always easy for me to express myself clearly when speaking. I can’t necessarily remember if I wanted to write a book since I was young, but given my inclination toward writing, and a lot of time spent with my imagination, it makes less sense for me not to write books!
Was there a book or author that you admired that played a role when developing your book?
I have always admired John Green. I wouldn’t necessarily say his writing or books influenced my own writing as I worked on Fractured, but I often think about the unique way in which he develops his characters and, more specifically, their voices. So, I pay close attention to voice because it has such a huge impact on the way a story turns out, and if the voice isn’t strong then it will be a totally different—and likely not as appealing—story.
It is often said that in order to write something, you must believe in what you are writing. Do you agree with that?
Absolutely. If you don’t believe it no one else will either and there will be a lack of connection to the work. The world and the characters need to be real. They need to have conversations in your head without you even inviting them in. They become living beings that exist inside you and force you to let them out. Creating a believable story is all-consuming and it becomes its own reality through the process.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
I used to have a set schedule when it came to my writing but with other work influencing my writing time, that schedule has changed. I definitely don’t only write when I feel inspired though. I’m not sure I even believe in the idea of inspiration a lot of the time. I think there are inspiring elements in our lives, but I don’t feel that they are enough to spark the work that needs to be done with any sort of consistency. So, if I want to get my writing done and it’s feeling like a struggle, I need to force myself and treat it as any other habit. I’m still working on the schedule part though!
Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?
I always find this question tricky, and I guess that’s because I’m still figuring out what sets my style apart. I’m not always convinced that all writers have a very specific style. Maybe they have a couple things they do in a unique way but is it enough to know automatically that they wrote the piece you’re reading? I’m not sure. I would say that voice is probably one of the strongest aspects of my writing style and digging into the uncomfortable personal thoughts a character can have in a relatable way, even if we don’t necessarily want to admit that we can relate.
What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing? What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?
The hardest part is getting started each time you sit down to write. It never gets easier. Some days it just isn’t coming as naturally as others, and there are so many periods of slumps we can find ourselves in along the way. Trusting the process and persevering is definitely the toughest for me.
The easiest part of writing is coming up with ideas, but then making those ideas make sense and translate from my head to the page is not always the easiest.
Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? How long do they usually last? Any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
Yes, of course, but writer’s block to me isn’t necessarily what people might think. It’s not a lack of ideas because I constantly have ideas, it’s more the resistance to getting them down because I can’t get them to make sense on paper the way they do in my head. And a lot of the time my “writer’s block” comes from perfectionism or fear of failure instead of simply focusing on the process and the day-to-day progress. I often look ahead and to what the finished product will be, which is terribly constrictive to the creative process. So, my advice would be don’t do that! And also, always consume other types of art to feel inspired and spark ideas in your own creations. If you feel you just can’t write, then read, or listen to music, or watch TV with your mind open and ready to let the ideas flow in.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing and don’t let other people’s opinions of your writing cause you to lose your drive or passion. Remember why you write in the first place and hold onto that tight. In terms of improving writing, keep practicing. Read as much as you can whether it be books in the genre you want to write or craft books about writing to help you learn. Always have an open mind and be ready to absorb. Writing is subjective and it’s something where you can never know everything there is to know about it, so that can be a freeing feeling!
Are you working on something new at the moment?
Yes, I’m working on another young adult coming-of-age novel. This one also has a male narrator but he’s very different than Mason from Fractured! This novel is a story that explores the complexities of friendship, family, identity, and finding your place in the world.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
You’re never alone in what you’re going through even if it feels like it, which I know it does a lot of the time! But there are people out there who understand and accept you even if you haven’t found them yet. If you ever want to reach out to me to talk about writing or anything at all I’d love to connect! My website is http://www.shaysiegel.com.
Thanks for reading, and please remember that authors appreciate honest reviews, wherever they are posted.
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