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Joy's Q&A: Day 4

So, folks, please join in the fun of the second last day of Through the Looking Glass Literary Blog Party. . .
"The Modern Novel"

(or general fiction questions)

1. Who are your most-well-loved authors of the mid to late twentieth century (. . . 1930s-1980s)?
     I have a lot in this window.  I like
Margaret Sidney
Lee Roddy
Albert Payson Terhune
James Herriot
Paul Hutchens
Janette Oke and Arleta Richardson
     -- although they wrote about older times so I am not sure if they count as "modern"
some of Beverly Cleary
Barbara Robinson
some of Walter Farley
Alfred Ollivant
Jean Craighead George
Corrie Ten Boom
Brother Andrew (God's Smuggler)
Jack London (no, I don't agree with his philosophies at all, but I enjoyed his books)
Eleanor Porter
Stephen and Janet Bly
oh, my, the list goes on...!  I'll stop now.

2. Your favourite authors of the twenty-first century?
     I haven't read as many here.  But I've read Katy Pistole, Jenny Freitag, Rachel Heffington, Elizabeth Ender, and a few others.

3. Which genres do you tend to read the most and enjoy from more modern fiction?
     I love stories with animals in them.  I like stories with action or stories that I feel captures something really well.  I like stories that inspire me -- ones like God's Smuggler or the Sugar Creek Gang.

4. Are you more willing to invest yourself in a fictional trilogy/or series or prefer the stand-alone novel better?
    Depends on the writing...;)

5. While it is generally agreed that nothing beats classic fiction, there is much gold in the new too! What are the positive qualities and styles of modern works that you appreciate?
     Most modern works do not make me think as hard or as deep as the older books, and sometimes I enjoy the "light" entertainment and lessons (for there are lessons, both good and bad, in all books).

6. What is your greatest hope for modern fiction?
     That mine may be named among them.
     Haha.  That sounds egotistical and it wasn't meant that way.
     Modern fiction has a dual role of capturing an era (so that future generations may look back and learn from us) and of making the next era better (inspiring the current generation to great things).

7. List 5 books by modern authors you have read which you either hope or predict will become "classics" in years to come.

8. In reading modern books, do you predominantly read from the secular or Christian market?
     A mix of both, I suppose.

9. List three of your favourite novels written in this century.

10. Of various as yet-unpublished books that you know something about, what are 5 that you most wish to read one day?
     Books by Anne-girl, Jenny, Rachel, and myself...I don't know very many un-published books by others that I could name.

* * * * * *

"The Ink Stains" Questions. . .

(the writing tag)

1. For how long have you been seriously novel-writing? What sparked you to move from simply writing in a "dabbling" fashion for fun to pursuing your writing to a higher-level?
     For me, the definition of "serious novel-writing" has changes multiple times and will probably change further.  Before I was 10 years old, I was of the opinion that I was going to become a writer.  I even wrote a couple books. ;)  In my teens, I started several stories and didn't finish them.  Later, I entered a couple contests -- I did not win but they were a turning point for me.  Yet another turning point came for me in the past couple of years as I went from just writing to writing with an idea of what it would take to bring a novel to publishing.  And some of that was sparked from blogs I started to follow.

2. Do you wish, ultimately, to entertain your readers and make them smile, or rather to inspire, challenge them and move them to tears?
    I want to move people, to make them think. 
   I want to tell stories as they happened, leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions.
    I want them to laugh and to cry as they follow my characters through the tale.
    I want them to enjoy the book immensely as well as to be inspired by it.

3. What are two of your favourite genres to write in?
     I have not mastered the knowledge of genres, though I know that must come when I submit my works for publishing.
     I like telling stories in imaginary settings.
     I like telling stories from my own experience and from stories that were told to me.
     I like telling stories about animals.

4. Will you please tell us a little about your current writing project (novel-in-progress, short story, novella, etc. . . )?
     I once spoke with a representative from a publishing company (information-gathering only...I didn't have any immediate stories to offer), and she wisely recommended I focus on only one story at a time.  However, I am not exactly doing that.  :/
     I have a first draft that is currently under editing.
     I have a story that I have been working on for a while and suddenly (last week) shoved to a back burner to wait until later.
      I shoved my current WIP to the back burner because I wanted to try my hand at a Beauty and the Beast story for the upcoming Rooglewood Press contest.  I don't know if I will enter it, but I wanted to play around with a potential story and see if it was any good.  If it is, maybe I will enter it.
     And, since so many people are trying for this same contest, I am keeping my specific plot a secret.  Suffice it to say that it loosely follows the plot of B and the B, and that it contains no magic. 
Odd Fact Related to My Retelling of Beauty and the Beast: I have never read the book or seen the whole movie.  I am basing my research off of bits and pieces of the tale that I have heard from friends over the years and from a paragraph summary I found online.  I have hopes that this may give my story a more "original" feel, but we shall see whether my theory pans out. 

5. How long have you been working on it? What is the backstory of how you started this novel?
     a. The draft that I am editing is one that I started last fall/winter.  It is under the working title of Dungeon, if you want to look it up under my labels.  A random thought popped into my head and I wrote a chapter, intending to put it away and never open it again.  But shortly thereafter, the full story started piecing itself together and I could barely write it down fast enough.  I thoroughly enjoyed that one.
     b.  As I said above, I just started my B and the B project.  It was inspired by Rooglewood Press's contest.
Another Odd Fact Related to My Retelling of Beauty and the Beast: When I first starting writing, I made the Beast out to be a very unlikeable character.  But then I read a writing tip that recommended you make your introductory characters to have, at least, some redeeming qualities to make people want to read their story.  So I started over, making him a little bit nicer.  ;)

6. Have you written other stories/books (or currently writing others)? Do tell us a little about them please!
     I've written a few short stories that aren't even worth mentioning.  I have several others that are rotating on back burners (check out my Works in the Wings page to see a few of them).

7. Out of all the characters you've ever written, who is your favourite?
    Nope.  Not picking favorites.

8. When you complete this novel, do you plan on preparing it for publication or rather leave it to "marinate" and start a new work with the hopes of improving your writing first?
     Hey, that is not a bad plan.  But I am trying to go all the way to publishing now, in hopes that such an experience (whether successful or not) will help me improve my writing.

9. Isaac Newton was known to have said, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Who do you see as having been the literary giants or "Greats" that have inspired and influenced your writing thus far?
     When I was little, I read every book I could get my hands on, and I paid absolutely no attention to who wrote it.  Therefore, there are many authors that I am sure have shaped me without my knowing who they were.
     I stand on the Bible as the most amazing book ever written.  It has action, adventure, love, future predictions, inspiration, and everything else you could want.  And its true.
     For other inspiring authors see my lists from Joy's previous 3 days of questions.  :)

10. Can you picture any of your novels being adapted into movies? In the stuff of your dreams, who would you cast for your main characters?
     Sure!  But I haven't picked out cast for my characters.

11. As you write, how often do you find yourself learning any of the lessons or going through any of the journeys/struggles of your characters?
     Mmm...sometimes.  Usually, it is a struggle that I have already been through, and I just remember how it felt to be in it.  Some of them are current struggles, though.

12. As a Christian, how does your faith affect your writing generally? Is your current novel overtly Christian or more subtly under-girded with your faith and worldview?
    I do both.  I write with a Christian worldview always.  Sometimes I specifically talk about my faith, and sometimes it is just assumed.
     My two goals in this area are as follows:
         1. It should not feel forced.  If I write something and try to push Christian elements into it because I feel that I "should" then it will feel forced and awkward for my readers.  Blah.
         2. It should be vital to the story.  I want whatever I share to be relevant to my tale.  I remember several Christian novels where I could easily skip over the Christian part without missing anything.  And I remember how excited I was to find a novel where the "Christian part" was integral to the story.  If you skipped it, you missed a lot.  That's the way I want to write -- it should all be one unit.

13. In one word each, how would you describe each of the main characters of your novel?
     Lest I spill too much info on my Beauty and the Beast project, I will use Dungeon.  And I will use three words each.
     The Princess (Lina): ignorant, naive, curious
     The Villain: resentful, scheming, deceptive
     The Owd Un: wise, witty, talkative
     Jacob: moral, faithful, protective
     Rachel: kind, optimistic, thoughtful
     Abram: solid, dependable, devoted, non-confrontational (sorry, that's four words)
     Molly: ignorant, timid, grateful
     Fane: con-man, not loyal to anyone but himself, self-confident

14. Are there any aspects of your novel that have taken you by surprise?
     In writing Dungeon, I was often surprised at how things worked out.  I would write a scene and then, later, another scene would tie into it perfectly, making it seem like the author planned it all along.  I assure you, I was just as surprised as the readers.  :D

15. How do you think the main characters of your novel would react if he or she were introduced to you?
     If, in the introduction, she became aware that I was her author, she might resent the fact that I threw her into a dungeon.  But she would have to admit that she came out better than she went in.  So I suppose she would forgive me.

16. Do you plan, Lord-willing, on pursuing the traditional mainstream route of finding an agent, etc, and waiting it out, or do you consider indi publishing (self-publishing) a healthy alternative?
     Both perhaps.  I love the fact that in indie publishing, I remain in control of my book.  But I also find the acceptance of a traditional publisher to be a rewarding thought -- perhaps worth waiting for -- and appreciate the fact that they still seem to dominate the market.

17. Out of the many themes and messages, what would be the one closest to your heart that you should like to share through your writing?
     Only one?


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