Q&A with Rachel Wollaston

November 16, 2017

Hello, fantasy fans!



Thank you to everybody who joined me for my AMA feed Q&A session earlier this month!


I have picked out some of the best and am sharing them now here with you. If you have more questions, though, it's not too late--simply comment your questions at the bottom of this post and I will do my best to answer!





How long have you been writing?


If you're asking how long I've been writing stories, well, it goes all the way back to when I used to write about mermaids in the back of my exercise books when I was five or six. Since the moment I could put pen to paper, story writing has been a constant in my life and one of the very few things I have never lost interest in. Professionally, though, I have only been writing for a couple of years, but I hope to continue it for many years to come.



What do you think is missing (if anything) in the world of YA novels?


That's a really good question. I think I would argue that a lot of modern YA books lack a certain element of light-heartedness and humour. The YA genre—YA fantasy in particular—is one that sometimes takes itself too seriously.  There are only so many epic sword fights and tragic death scenes I can read before my interest starts to waver.  To keep my interest, you have to give me a laugh once in a while! I would like to see more YA books out there with a sense of comedy.



Do you sketch your storyline before you start?


I like to start with a vague outline of what I want to happen and how I want the story to end, but mostly I find the story writes itself. I don't like to stick too closely to a plan otherwise the storyline feels a little stilted. My characters have wills of their own and often surprise (and irritate) me by going off and doing their own thing!



Do you feel like your characters are your friends or are they more like extensions of yourself?


My protagonists certainly all contain elements of myself, but they are all characters in their own rights. I feel like I know them personally. In that sense, yes, they do feel like friends. Probably more like family.



What's the hardest thing about planning a book or novel?


Getting started! I've been known to rewrite a chapter ten times before I'm happy with it! There's so much to think about in an opening; it's impossible to get it right first time.



If you left on vacation tonight and could only take one book, what book would you choose?


It would have to be the book I'm reading at the moment: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas—the third book in her Throne of Glass series. I'm thoroughly enjoying it and highly recommend it to all fantasy lovers!



Do you have a special place where you go to be inspired?


Anywhere in nature inspires me to write, particularly forests and beaches. The is something truly magical about the beauty of the world around us, and I always try to incorporate the emotions I feel when surrounded by nature into my writing.



What do you do in your spare time?


Spare time? What's that?

I joke. Between studies and writing, I enjoy a bit of arts and crafts, particularly portrait drawing. However, I am finding myself with less and less time to indulge in these hobbies of late.



What do you think of the trend in digital media nowadays?


I think it's a shame that traditional mediums are going out of fashion. I, for one, struggle to read anything other than a tangible book. However, I cannot deny the incredible reach of social media, and I would never be where I am today were it not for the internet. So I guess you could say I'm kind of on the fence about modern technology.


Any advice for young writers?


Don't be afraid to share your work with others. The best gift any writer can receive is feedback. Start by joining an online writing community—you'll be surprised by how much you can learn from other writers!

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