Friday, January 27, 2012

Interview: Resa Nelson

Welcome to Jagged Edge!
Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?

Thanks so much for being part of my blog tour!  I’ve been selling short fiction for many years, and I began selling novels a few years ago.  As a novelist, I’ve been sticking to fantasy.  But as a short story writer, I’ve written fantasy, science fiction, and horror.  In real life, I love museums and ballet and travel and summer.  And baby owls.  And baby polar bears.  Oh, and chocolate – as much as possible, please.

What inspired you to write?

When I was in the 2nd grade, my teacher gave group assignments to retell familiar stories in words and pictures.  My group did The Three Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens.  I adored the girls in my group, and we had the most fun working together on our project.  We wrote the story in our own words and drew pictures to go along with the story.  Our presentation was a smashing success.  (Either our teacher thought we were brilliant or I just like to think she did.)  That’s when I realized I wanted to become a writer.

What authors influenced you as a writer?

When I was little, I loved fairy tales and folk tales.  Eventually, that led me to try fantasy and science fiction.  As a teen, I read lots of Ray Bradbury, Jules Verne, and Isaac Asimov.  But I’m also a big mystery fan.  Currently, I love Harlan Coben and Dennis Lehane.  Within the past year I’ve started reading Ed Gaffney.  In childhood I loved Edgar Allen Poe, Agatha Christie, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as classics by Jane Austin, Louisa May Alcott, Mark Twain, and Charles Dickens.

What is your favorite Quote? Why is it your favorite?

“What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.”  I’ve read a little Nietzsche, but his work often feels too mopey for my taste.  This is the one quote that rings true to me.  There have been many times in my writing career when I lost hope, but every experience helped me learn and grow and adjust my perspective.  I’ve come to believe true success is impossible without failure, because failure is such a great teacher.

If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne.  I like adventure, and I think it would be fabulous to travel in a hot-air balloon.

What is at least one thing that every writer needs to have or do?

Every writer needs to work constantly and consistently at the craft of writing.  One of the things I love about writing is that no matter how long I live and no matter how hard I work at my craft, I’ll never know everything there is to learn about it.  Writing fiction is such a complex thing.  It’s like learning how to swim:  you have to learn how to move your arms, move your legs, move your torso, and breathe – and then you have to learn how to do all those things at the same time and to do them all well!  I love the constant cycle of learning.

Are your books different to your personal favorite books by other authors?

Very much so.  It’s important to me to be as original as possible.  My ideas come from my own life experience and how I perceive the world.  I do learn from other writers and my favorite books, but I fold that knowledge into my own ideas.  For example, one of my favorite books is The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.  It’s science fiction, and it’s about a female graduate student who uses time travel to do research.  If I were to boil it down to its most simple elements, I could say The Doomsday Book is about a girl with a plan, but everything goes wrong.  I could say the same thing about my first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword:  it’s about a girl with a plan, but everything goes wrong.  My novel is nothing like The Doomsday Book – they’re completely different novels in pretty much every way imaginable.  But I think Willis did an amazing job of throwing problems and obstacles at her main character, and I wanted to do that to my main character.

What lead you to writing in this genre?

Reading fairy tales and folk tales.  When I was a kid, my town’s public library was a grand old building, musty and damp and full of echoes, and the children’s section was sequestered away in the basement.  I always loved roaming around in the basement, looking for something new and exciting to read.  It felt like exploring a maze or the hidden chambers of some lost civilization.  Once I’d read all the fairy tales and folk tales in the children’s section, I wandered into the science fiction and fantasy section and pretty much stayed there.

What is your favorite part of the writing process?

I love writing the first draft.  I love staring at a blank screen, taking a deep breath, not really knowing what I’m about to do, and diving into writing.  It feels like jumping off a high diving board, scary and exhilarating and tons of fun.  I love letting my characters take over.  I feel like I’m in a different world and running by my characters’ sides, trying to keep up with them and writing everything down as fast as it happens.  Writing always feels like a great adventure.

Least favorite part of the writing process?

Getting the final draft of a manuscript ready to submit to my publisher.  I’m not a fan of dealing with tiny details.  Spellcheck makes life a lot easier, but it’s also a matter of making sure I have no continuity or consistency issues, and not just across a single novel but across an entire series.  It’s making sure everything flows smoothly and I haven’t left any bumps in the road.  After awhile it all makes me feel cross-eyed and mush-headed.

What are you currently working on?

I’m in the final stages of writing the last novel in my 4-book Dragonslayer series.  I’m also thinking a lot about the next series I plan to write.

Where readers can find you?

My website is http://www.resanelson.com.  I have a hidden page where anyone who would like to sample my work can download a free “mini” ebook containing the two short stories that I wrote in my Dragonslayer world before I wrote my first novel.  There’s no cost or obligation, and I don’t collect any information – I just like giving away samples so people can read them and decide for themselves if they like my work.  Everyone is welcome to download my free “mini” ebook (“Dragonslayer stories”) at http://www.resanelson.com/files.

I’m on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Resa-Nelson-The-Dragonslayers-Sword/122200661871

I’m on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/ResaNelson

I’m also on GoodReads and Shelfari as Resa Nelson.

LAST QUESTION:
Was their a question you wish I would have asked but didn't?

That’s a great question!  How about “Have you ever encountered a character in someone else’s novel that you care about as much as you care about your own characters?”  My answer is yes:  Lisbeth Salander in Steig Larrson’s Millennium series (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.).  I doubt I could have created her, but I love her dearly.

1 comment:

mike draper said...

I enjoyed this interview.
I agree about Lisbeth Salander. I think she's one of the most original and exciting characters in literature.
Mike Draper

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