Hello, everyone! The BIG DAY has arrived (for us here at Ink-Made Maiden) to interview the lovely and talented Mirriam Neal! So, let’s get right down to business!! (Isn’t Monster’s cover oh so lovely??!!)
Mirriam: I’ve always had an overabundance of imagination, but I didn’t really write anything original until I was thirteen. (Before that I DID try to make novelized versions of both Star Wars: A New Hope and Ice Age, but neither of them were hits.) When I was thirteen I wrote a short story called “The Pegasus on the Mantle,” which won first place in an online contest. I continued to win short stories and poem awards, and finally I decided I wanted to write a novel. It was a fantasy, and, of course (like most first attempts at fantasy novels) a complete Lord of the Rings ripoff. With your help, as dazzling editor, it became an actual novel, and after it came more, and more…the rest is history.
Amanda: *laughs* My first fantasy was a LotR fanfic… so yeah. Okay, Of all the books you’ve read and authors you’ve come in contact with, what and who has been the most influential?
Mirriam: The most influential author…This is extremely difficult. George Macdonald greatly influenced me with the way he wove parables and truths into stories both dark and beautiful. Ted Dekker, Tolkien, and Jane Austen were also great influences; as was, oddly enough, Stephen King even though the only book I’ve ever read by him was his autobiography/book on writing.
Amanda: If you could choose any genre to write in and stick to that forever, what would you pick?
Mirriam: O_O There’s no way I could pick one. ‘Fiction’ is probably cheating – but there are too many genres, too many stories out there! Plus, half the novels I write seem to end up genre-less, so that’s another consideration. *laughs*
Amanda: Whenever I read your novels, I’m really astonished as to how real the worlds are. What’s your secret? What are your tips for writing believable worlds?
Mirriam: Tips? The biggest tip I can think of is, believe in that world yourself. You have to live in a world, you have to experience it, before it will be believable to other people. You can’t properly explain a city you’ve never visited to a person who’s never been there, and it’s the same with a world. Disclaimer: Don’t spend so much time worldbuilding that you forget to write the story. I’ve had this happen.
Amanda: Have you ever gotten really stuck and had to set aside a book? If so, what caused you to pick it back up?
Mirriam: When I set aside a book, it’s rarely because I get ‘stuck’ (though I do, of course, get stuck. Writer’s block plagues me just as much as anybody else) – it’s because I realize I need to rewrite it and don’t have time at the moment, or I realize I could finish it much faster at a later date.
Amanda: What is your favorite moment in writing? Did you discover a character or a plot line that you had no idea was coming, etc.?
Mirriam: My favorite moment in writing….I don’t have one! Ahh! I loved when Vey met Leila in Acceso. I love every conversation Skata has with Angel, Rukiel or Cassis in Not to Be. I love Calista’s first meeting with Ariel in Painkiller. Monster has the most ‘favorite moments,’ though – the singing, the battling, the dancing. All of it.
(Amanda: MONSTER! <3)
Amanda: What are you reading right now?
Mirriam: Right now I’m reading “Girl of Fire and Thorns.”
Amanda: Can you give us any insight into Monster, the seed ideas, and your plans for Eva and Mir now?
Mirriam: I’m not sure how much insight I can give you; but my plans for Mir and Eva are definitely…well, plans. I’m very excited and have a lot of things for them to go through in book 2.
( Amanda: awww. Sadness. Well, I know that I’M excited for book two!!)
Amanda: Can you see yourself writing for the rest of your life?
Mirriam: I can’t see myself doing anything else, or *wanting* to do anything else! *laugh*
Amanda: If you could go anywhere in the world for ‘research’ purposes, where would you go?
Mirriam: I would definitely go to South Korea or Japan for ‘research.’ I would also love to travel the British Isles, seeing as how most of my heritage is on the Gaelic side of things.
Amanda: If you go to the British Isles, you must take me.
Mirriam: As if I’d go without!
Amanda: Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about writing:
Mirriam: The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given about writing – there are two of them. One was something Stephen Kendrick said in his filmmaking class – make God the hero of your story. The second piece of advice is from Stephen King – you can write a scene as intense as you want without ever being graphic about it. Write so that the reader’s imaginations fill in what you don’t.
(Amanda: ^^ This is good advice, writers.)
Amanda: How has social media/Pinterest/Tumblr played a factor into your writing? Do you use any of them?
Mirriam: I don’t use Pinterest (believe me, I want to) but Tumblr has provided a lot of inspiration for me. So many pretty, inspiring pictures!!
Amanda: Do you have any new big plans for writing? Wanna share?
Mirriam: I have six or seven books in the works right now. It’s a lot, I know; but I’m hoping to get them all published at one point or another. I don’t write a book without publishing in mind.
Amanda: Why did you choose self-publishing? Will you look for an agent or a publisher in the future?
Mirriam: I chose self-publishing because, as it’s my first time, I wanted to be in full control. Mom and Dad bought the whole publishing package for me as a graduation present, and things moved quickly from there! I’ll probably look for an agent and publisher in the future, but who knows? I might be so happy self-publishing that I stay there!
Amanda: What’s your greatest writing fear?
Mirriam: My greatest writing fear is that one day I’ll wake up and not want to write. Every time I think about it, it frightens me. I know it’s far-fetched, but a life not writing isn’t a life I want.
Amanda: Lastly: Coffee or tea? Loki or Thor? Black or White? Snow White or Cinderella? Pen or Pencil? And the most important: Chocolate or Vanilla?
Mirriam: PG Tips black tea and black coffee, Loki, black and white are completely even, Rumplestiltskin, smooth-writing pens, and of course chocolate. Unless it’s perfume, in which case vanilla wins.
Well, may I just say that this interview was a blast for me. Mirriam and I have been very close ever since I edited her book two years ago and it’s been a JOY for me to watch her take a manuscript from start to finish to ALMOST publication! In any case, thanks SO MUCH for visiting Ink-Made Maiden, Mirriam!!! <3
THE BIG NEWS! Tomorrow, June 14th, over on Mirriam’s blog Thoughts of a Shieldmaiden, Mirriam has some BIG things planned. There’ll be the VERY FIRST Monster Giveaway, and she’s going to culminate all this week of blog posting with a book blitz on the 15th. (all this info will be included in her blog post tomorrow!)
IN THE MEANTIME:
Ink-Made Maiden was the LAST STOP of Mirriam’s lovely blog tour. What? You didn’t know? Well, hope on over to these blogs that have been featuring Mirriam for a week now and see what other surprises they (and the lovely Mirriam) have in store for us.