On the first Friday of October 2015, we are having breakfast with fantasy and mystery author Angela Myron. Angela Myron was born in Vancouver and grew up in Summerland, British Columbia. After studying biology at the University of Victoria, she moved to San Francisco and fell in love with writing. She now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and twins, where she writes fantasy adventures for kids and paranormal mysteries for adults.
Angela’s first book, Ennara and the Fallen Druid, won a silver medal at the 2013 Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards for best pre-teen ebook. Book 2, Ennara and the Book of Shadows, was released last year.
For this sultry October breakfast, I’m having a blueberry biscuit, musk melon sprinkled with chia seeds and a hardboiled egg. Angela, what are you having?
I’ll make my favorite Christmas breakfast–citrus salad featuring oranges from my back yard with lavender-infused syrup, honeyed yogurt, and a croissant fresh from France (because try as we might, the yogurt and breads here are just not the same). And a nice, big mug of cafe au lait. Of course, no dream breakfast would be complete without Grandma watching the kids, so I can sit and enjoy it!
Oooh, la-la. I want what Angela’s having! So tell us about your writing process from concept to draft to revision.
My stories start as a premise that stews for years before something takes it to becoming an actual plan. At this year’s Day of YA at the RWA National Convention, Jude Deveraux told her panel audience that “A story isn’t one idea. It’s ten ideas on every page.” I think that’s very true. It takes me time to build up enough ideas to warrant a full story.
Once that decision is made, my process clarifies somewhat–I draw up characters, put them through comedy exercises, write backstory, and start a pinterest board for the new book where I collect people and settings. I plot the story, and then I draft it in a month to two-month long frenzy.
For editing and revisions, I like to leave the story as long as possible before I go back to fix it. I do a story map similar to this one here http://mentalfloss.com/sites/default/legacy/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/rowling_spreadsheet.gif, and/or (depending on my mood) using the Plot Whisperer’s technique (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CFimqYhUsAA_1sA.jpg:large). I look at larger development problems and fill in scenes as needed, fine-tune scene and sequel, and do final edits such as looking for repetitions, passive construction, and plain ol’ typos.
Somewhere between drafting and revisions, I usually pass a draft across my critique groups. It’s a difficult thing to do, giving the imperfect story over to someone else’s critical eye, but always there’s always benefit. Without fail, critique partners catch what I cannot see!
And, of course, the final stage is giving the story to a proper editor. Having professional eyes look at your story is an absolute requirement, if you want a story that will stand in today’s marketplace.
My brother wants me to use pinterest, but I’m afraid if I walk through that portal, I’ll never return. Tell us about the Ennara books. Why this series, why now?
Ennara began as an exercise in learning the hero’s journey. I took a class that used Christopher Vogler’s book, and as assignments I wrote scenes for each stage of the journey. As I realized that the scenes were forming a story, I incorporated themes I felt important–showing a girl hero who makes mistakes but learns from them, and who needs to rely on her friends to accomplish her quest. A world that struggles to recover from environmental tragedy. And the need to understand how one’s enemy suffers to truly rise above a bad situation.
Why now? Well, writing novels is something I’ve always wanted to do, but thoroughly convinced myself I didn’t have the time, money, imagination, vocabulary, history, personality to do it. (I used every possible reason you could imagine to remain stuck.) Four years ago, when I was on maternity leave with my twins, I decided this was my chance–I’d have six months “off” (ha-ha, how little did I know of motherhood then) do write a book, and if I could do it, maybe I could turn this into a “thing I do”. Needless to say, the first four months, I had no time to do anything other than take care of twin newborns and recover from giving birth to them.
Then I found that class on mythic structure, and I thought, I could write a scene by next Tuesday. And then I wrote another for the following Tuesday. Eventually, in 10 to 20-minute increments, I wrote my way through the whole hero’s journey with Ennara.
Another cafe au lait, Angela? What did you find fun/intriguing about writing Ennara and the Fallen Druid and what was difficult?
The funnest thing, by far, is sharing the story with kids, and their reactions to it. It’s inspiring. Middle graders are incredibly smart, inspired, and imaginative. There’s an amazing generation of kids out there, and I’m grateful to have the privilege of writing stories for them.
There were many difficult things about that first novel. First, I was exhausted. I probably should have been easier on myself, allowed myself more rest, and a few more late assignments. Then there was the critiques. I had critiques from my classmates, and from a local critique group. I came from two decades of technical writing where if you get feedback from people reading your manuals, it’s simply amazing. My user-centric history of software development made me take every critique to heart, and I had no filter for judging the good advice from the lesser ones. So there are some parts that seem overwritten, an opening that’s a tad intense, and a villain that is too absent. But I learned a ton, and am grateful for the experience.
Tell us about your next project and when it may be published.
I’m currently revising a paranormal novella featuring a young heroine who happens to be a werewolf. She’s thrown into a mystery and a bit of an existential crisis, and needs to find her friend and work stuff out before she get’s comfortable in her own skin and in her world. The story has the working title Lapse, and will be published under my pseudonym Chase Theroux, since it’s not a kids’ book. I currently have the story on submission with a mid-size publisher. Hopefully, they will like my revisions and you will see it sometime next year!
I plan to plot and write the third Ennara novel (working title Ennara and the Silver Throne) after I finish revising the novella and my draft from earlier this year, a YA fantasy called The Flying White Horse. I hope to release Ennara book 3 sometime in late 2016.
I have Angela’s first book (love that cover) and highly recommend the book for anyone of any age who loves an engaging yarn. I can’t wait till Lapse comes out! I love shapeshifter stories.
Thank you for inviting me to First Friday Breakfast with you, Michelle!
Learn more about Angela Myron at:
Website: www.angelamyron.com. You can order her books at your local bookstore or on Amazon at:
Entertaining Book trailers at:
Social media links:
www.angelamyron.com, https://www.facebook.com/myron.angela, https://www.pinterest.com/angelamyron/,https://twitter.com/AngelaMyron, https://instagram.com/angela.myron/, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9ggEGNYC3U-GTP7ML8RXYg, https://www.goodreads.com/angelamyron.