Welcome to the three hundred and seventy-seventh of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with young adult fantasy / romance novelist Breeana Puttroff. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Breeana: My name is Breeana Puttroff. I have been in love with the written word since I was a small child. I have always loved to make up stories and write, although for many years most of my writing was either for one of my degrees, or for teaching writing to elementary school students. I always thought that maybe I would write sometime, but there finally came a point where it all clicked, and I began doing it for real.
I was born and raised in the Denver area, and that is where I currently live with my daughter.
Morgen: I love it when you say “something clicked”. That’s how I felt when I went to a creative writing critique group back in January 2005. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Breeana: So far, all of my published work is in the Young Adult Fantasy / Romance genre. I will probably stick with that for quite some time as it has become a favourite of mine, and I have ideas for several stories bubbling away in the back of my mind.
Morgen: As they do. What have you had published to-date?
Breeana: To date I have published the first two books in The Dusk Gate Chronicles, titled Seeds of Discovery and Roots of Insight. The third book in the series, Thorns of Decision, releases on June 1, 2012.
Morgen: Oh good luck with the launch… how exciting. Are your books available as eBooks? Were you involved in that process at all? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Breeana: My books are available as both eBooks and paperback. I was involved in the entire process for both products. I have a collection of several thousand books at my home – and there isn’t room for any more! I love paper, but these days I almost exclusively read eBooks, with a few paper books from the library.
Morgen: I’m still some of each although having so many with me when I go out is fantastic. Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Breeana: My current books are all part of a series, and I really don’t have a favorite book, but my favorite character is probably William Rose. I am quite horrible at casting leading actors – my characters aren’t modeled after anyone, but I do love hearing what fans think!
Morgen: Isn’t that great. I just love receiving emails, and reviews of course (even the bad ones, I find them funny), but for someone to have taken the trouble to contact us is really precious. Writing is to be read, after all. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Breeana: My next project is the fourth book in the Dusk Gate Chronicles, which is currently untitled.
Morgen: Your titles so far have been great (and I’m a big titles fan) so perhaps you’d let me know how it goes and I’ll put an update at the bottom of this interview. Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Breeana: I manage to write most days, at least a little. I don’t tend to suffer from writer’s block, but writer’s procrastination and I are quite close.
Morgen: Almost like a character in itself. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Breeana: I get an idea and run with it, stopping along the way to plot or discuss ideas with my writing partner or beta readers.
Morgen: It’s always a good idea to have what I call “back-up pairs of eyes” as we’re always too close to our work, and know what we mean when it may not be obvious to others. You mentioned being “quite horrible at casting leading actors”, do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Breeana: I don’t have a specific method. My characters tend to just come to me and I imagine them in certain situations, and take some time to get to know them.
Morgen: That’s pretty much how I do it. Do you write any non-fiction, poetry or short stories?
Breeana: I’m not much of a poet or into short stories. I am quite good at lesson plans, research papers, blog comments, and diatribes on internet forums, but nobody would pay to read that.
Morgen: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Breeana: I do a LOT of self-editing as I write. I’m a horrible first-drafter, and I have a beta reader who swears my writing comes out fully-formed, but I also do a LOT of editing after the fact. I usually need to go back and add tension to the story later.
Morgen: That’s the thing with novels, you still need to keep the pace and the threads running together. Do you have to do much research?
Breeana: Yes and no. I’m kind of a research junkie, so I do a lot of “research” without really thinking about it – looking something up as I’m writing a chapter, and then spending HOURS researching the history and the possibilities. I do tend to look up tiny details just on the fly. For example, in my first book, Seeds of Discovery, there’s a scene where one of my characters, who is a doctor, is trying to discover if a piece of paper is laced with a white powdery substance. I spent a lot of time the evening I wrote it “shopping” online to find out if there were black gloves a character like him might have and what they would be called.
Morgen: But then that’s detail that a reader would appreciate… or point out was wrong if you hadn’t done your homework. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Breeana: I tend to like third person best, but I dabble in first person. I’ve tried second person before, but not since my college days.
Morgen: It’s my favourite pov but little known about… or sadly often liked. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Breeana: There’s no such thing as an aspiring writer. You either write, or you don’t. Writers sit down in their chairs and write.
Morgen: That’s true… although I know a chap who’s had an idea for a novel in his head for years but done nothing about it. I said he should get it down in case he forgets any of it but… What do you do when you’re not writing?
Breeana: I’m a single mom, a former teacher, and now I run a small business of my own. Every great once in a while, I get to read, but that’s about it.
Morgen: And write, hopefully. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Breeana: I am on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook. I like all of them for different reasons, but they all can become time-drains if I let them (remember the procrastinating?).
Morgen: Oh, don’t they just.
Breeana: Honestly, they’ve all been valuable in different ways, and I’ve met some fantastic people, and been able to connect with great readers.
Morgen: That’s the best thing about being online. I’ve met some great people from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I’ve not used Goodreads properly yet but get quite a few friend requests (which is great). I should spend more time on that as it’s where my bad reviews are. Where can we find out about you and your work?
Morgen: Thank you, Breeana.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
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