So for this post I thought it’d be kinda cool to do an author interview. And I had the perfect person in mind. A fellow writer and good Twitter friend of mine, Sheenah Freitas, author of the Zincian Legend Trilogy. The first novel ‘The Chosen’ and the second, ‘The Number’ are available for purchase.
Official bio: A neek at heart, Sheenah Freitas has a love for the whimsical and magical. She looks to animated Disney movies and Studio Ghibli films for inspiration because of the innovative twists on fairytales, string story structures and character studies. When not writing, you might find her in a forest where she’s yet to find any enchanted castles.
And now for the interview.
Sheenah: I’m a dreamer. I like to create things. I like to help people. I’m self-taught. Having taken a creative writing class in high school, I could have gone to college on a scholarship but thought it’d be more rewarding to learn writing techniques myself. So I bought some books, subscribed to Writer’s Digest and started to take writing seriously. I guess you could say I’m a bit ambitious.
Before I started writing seriously, I had been thinking of going into web/graphic design since that was my hobby (besides writing fanfiction). Thankfully my knowledge of web/graphic design has helped me tremendously since I decided to start my own publishing business.
How long have you been writing?
Sheenah: The earliest story I remember writing was this Loony Tunes fanfiction (which I still have) when I was 8. After that, one could usually find me at the computer in class during free time writing up silly little non-fiction memoir short tales. Of course I didn’t know that’s what I was writing, I thought I was just writing something that had happened and put my own little spin on it. After 3rd grade, I don’t think I wrote too much for whatever reason, and the writing bug hit me again in my freshman year of high school and I haven’t stopped writing since.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Sheenah: I want to entertain and inspire and make my readers think. I want to make my readers laugh and cry. I want to make my readers to hate me and love me because they’re so invested in my characters and world. It would be a bonus if I could make a living from writing.
Which writers inspire you?
Sheenah: J.K. Rowling is at the top of my list because Harry Potter is magical and wonderful and made my childhood. I read a lot of Dean Koontz when I was younger and I think some of his metaphors and similes are just absolutely beautiful.
What genre are your books? What draws you to this genre?
Sheenah: My trilogy is a young adult fantasy/mythology series. I didn’t consciously sit down and decide one day that’s what I was going to write. It just happened. I think part of the reason I’m still so attached to the story is because it incorporates so many aspects that I love. It’s like this epic anime quest mixed with mythology and a huge fantastical world. Someone described it as a RPG-like world and I thought that was so awesome.
But I discovered that a lot of my writing has a little piece of fantasy in it somewhere. I’m not sure why. Maybe because of my love for Harry Potter? Maybe because of my love for Disney and Studio Ghibli? Or maybe because real life just seems so unmagical.
When did you decide to become a writer? Why do you write?
Sheenah: I made the conscious decision to take my writing seriously when I was 16. Originally I wanted to go into the medical field because I knew I could make a living. Working in the arts and making a living was, to me, like wanting to be an A-list Hollywood actress: it just didn’t happen. But then I learned I was horrible at chemistry and couldn’t quite stomach a lot of blood and gross stuff. There was the “oh my god, what am I going to do with my life” freak out phase and my dad suggested I write because he felt I was good at it and I seemed to be enjoying it, so I took his advice and I wrote. And wrote. And wrote.
I know a lot of writers say they have to write because the voices in their head won’t shut up. But I don’t hear voices. I write because I want to share my dreams. I write because it makes me happy.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Sheenah: I was writing full-time a couple years ago, but now I write part-time.
Where do your ideas come from?
Sheenah: Dreams. I have a notebook I keep where I log my most interesting dreams. I get ideas from real life, too. I remember I was outside and it was really cold and snow was everywhere and I heard crows. They were so loud. And I wondered why would crows be crowing so loud on such a cold day? And that developed into a short story. I’m also heavily inspired by music. I plan on putting together a collection of short stories that were all written because of music and songs.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Sheenah: I’m a plotter for the most part. When I work on a novel, I need to have an outline. I need to know what the beginning and ending is. I need to see all my plot points and follow those markers. Of course things go off course and that’s perfectly fine. For my short stories, I’m sort of a pantser with those but I usually have a clear ending in mind before I start writing them. I usually don’t write down an outline, but I might keep a loose one in my head. I write down ideas and basic things like character, POV, etc.
What is the hardest thing about writing for you?
Sheenah: The first draft. The blankness of everything is so intimidating!
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Sheenah: Everything. It’s the last book in a trilogy, so there’s so much I have to keep in mind: character growth, plot, etc. A lot of things I might want to do, I have to keep in mind that the story already happened in two previous books. I need to remember that some of my characters are now a certain way because of events that happened in the last book. And most importantly I needed to figure out how to create a satisfying ending.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Sheenah: For me, it’s editing. I think I’m backwards from most other authors.
Do you read much? Who are your favourite authors?
Sheenah: Not as much as I used to. Right now: J.K. Rowling, Rainbow Rowell, and John Green.
What part of your writing time do you devote to promoting your book?
Sheenah: I actually separate my time. Writing time is writing time. I don’t promote when I’m writing (though I might lurk Twitter and give an update or two). I’m still trying to find a right balance. Some days I promote more than write but most days I write more than I promote.
What are your views on social media for promoting your books?
Sheenah: Social media is amazing for promoting your book. If it weren’t for social media, I wouldn’t have discovered as many authors as I have and made so many connections to writers and readers, some of whom have become my friends.
Which social network works best for you?
Sheenah: Probably Twitter. I’m on it the most, anyway.
What do you think of trailers for books?
Sheenah: I love book trailers. The right book trailer will entice a reader to buy (and I’ve bought a couple books because of trailers.) I originally had my brother make me one and it was great. And then one of my Twitter connections sent me a message on Facebook about wanting to make me a book trailer for free because she had to for her college class and it’s amazing and beautiful and wonderful and I still can’t get over it.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Sheenah: My own book. I mean, sure I might say, “Oh my gosh, I wish I had written this book!” but it wouldn’t have been the same book because books are personal. They’re shaped by the author’s experiences and dreams and hopes and whatever else. If I had sat down and wrote Harry Potter, it wouldn’t be Rowling’s Harry Potter and my To Kill a Mockingbird would be way different from Harper Lee’s.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Sheenah: Just keep writing and learning more about the craft. Stretch your limits. If writing about a certain subject makes you uncomfortable, write about it. It’s important to go beyond your comfort zone every once in a while. And try not to take negative feedback too personally (even though you will every single time. So keep some chocolate nearby.)
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Sheenah: Readers can find me at my website: http://sheenahfreitas.com
I’m also usually lurking Twitter: http://twitter.com/SheenahFreitas
And I just started an Instagram. You won’t find anything interesting writing-wise, but you’ll definitely catch snapshots of my life: http://instagram.com/SheenahFreitas
I also have my own small press where I publish speculative fiction and YA stories: http://papercranebooks.com
Any parting comments?
Sheenah: Thanks for having me on your blog! It’s been a blast!
Thanks Sheenah. You’re awesome.
And that’s the first author interview guys.
Until next time.