|Born||(1990-07-27) July 27, 1990
East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, US
|Education||Bachelor of Fine Arts in screenwriting|
|Alma mater||University of Southern California|
|Genre||Young adult, fantasy|
|Notable works||Red Queen|
|Notable awards||2015 Goodreads Choice Awards Best Debut Novel and 2015 Buxtehude Bull|
|Relatives||Mother: Heather Aveyard|
World-building is my favorite pastime, so with me, I’m always about reining myself in. I don’t want to lose too much of the mystery by hammering every detail to death. I did fiddle with lots of maps for ‘Glass Sword,’ as the second installment sees Mare, Cal and company traveling throughout their country, and that’s always fun for me.
Action set pieces are my absolute favorite thing to write. I’m pretty much always in the mood to do them, but music certainly helps the process. I usually brainstorm out the dynamics and choreography of a fight to music beforehand – it gives me the little sparks of imagination when I get to the gaps in my own creativity.
I write, having seen what’s happening already in my head. I see it as a movie, and I’m just writing down what’s happening in front of me.
I like to let the story flesh itself out, and usually, the characters make their own decisions as things get under way. Dialogue especially seems to write itself once I’m familiar with the characters and their backgrounds.
I didn’t have a desk to write ‘Red Queen’ on, so I got a nice writing desk.
I have sort of weaned myself off of reading my own reviews, which is a constant struggle.
I’ve always loved massive worlds, whether in fantasy or science fiction. I like the idea of making my own rules as well as utilizing everything that I love or inspires me. It’s very freeing to know you can write a story that can be as big as your own imagination.
Every inch of my writing career has been influenced by my screenwriting education. I was lucky enough to go to film school at USC, and I got a crash course in how to tell a story efficiently. I learned structure, pace, my style, how to know your audience, and most importantly, how to take criticism and edits properly.
So far, the biggest regret I have in regards to the world of ‘Red Queen’ is that I didn’t get to world-build enough. I don’t think I did enough work explaining how the world came to be, and while I’m planning to go more into it, I’m a greedy writer, and I’m always going to wish I had more room to delve into the complexities of a fantasy realm.
‘Glass Sword’ has several set piece scenes that I plotted out or visualized before I wrote them, but I always knew they were coming. They anchor bits of the story.
I start out giving characters archetypes and parameters. Once I know the basics and have a rudimentary model, it’s easier to carve unique curves and edges. It’s quite easy to guess how a character is going to react if you know their background, and at a certain point, you realize you understand them personally.
I force myself to outline, but not too closely, so I guess I plot by the seat of my pants? My natural instinct is to dive right in, but I know I’ll get stuck. I like to stick with the architect vs. gardener metaphor. I guess I’m a gardener who plants tomatoes. I have the sticks in the ground and let the vines grow along those parameters.
I wrote a lot of ‘Red Queen’ wrapped in a blanket, cramped up while watching the snow come down.
My favorite part about Mare Barrow is her almost selfish survival instinct, as well as her increasingly gray morality. Her character arc in ‘Glass Sword’ is a lot deeper and more emotional than before, so I’m glad I got to write this sequel and that people want to read it.
I’m a visual writer, so it’s fitting that my first brush with ‘Red Queen’ was an image. I had the idea of a teenage girl in an arena, a bit like ‘Gladiator,’ and she’s about to be executed. But instead of being killed, she kills her executioner with lightning.
‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Star Wars’ shoved me into loving sci-fi and film in general when I was a barely coherent 3-year-old. And ‘Lord of the Rings’ took me to another planet entirely. Before that series, I knew I loved writing, but after, I knew that I had to write.
My biggest bits of advice are, write as much as you can, finish what you start, get a thick skin, don’t take crap from anyone, but also live your life and have fun. The stereotype of a writer holed up alone all day is really unhelpful. You can’t write real people and real emotion if you don’t let yourself experience them.
Maven is very much a haunting presence in ‘Glass Sword.’ His influence is everywhere, and he dogs Mare and Cal like no other. He’s my favorite character to write because he’s so complex, but also because he affects everyone else so deeply. He’s kind of like the source of gravity. Everyone moves around him and what he’s done.
I’m really enamored with the idea of a reformed society, and I’ve always been fascinated with the Dark Ages as well as the power vacuum that followed the fall of the Roman Empire.
All my favorite books and movies are franchises like ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Lord of the Rings,’ so that was always the dream, that maybe I’ll get to write a series of my own.
I’m a TV junkie, so it’s hard to choose just one. Currently I’m a slave to ‘Black Sails,’ ‘Vikings,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Mindy Project.’
My writing could be the most beautiful or important piece of prose, but it means nothing if it’s boring, if people aren’t listening or reading. I think transporting someone, putting them in a story for a few hours, taking them out of their worlds, is what I always strive to do.
I don’t necessarily set out to teach or say anything in particular in my writing. Morals and themes come out as I’m telling the tale.
I’m a child of the Disney Renaissance, so the new classics are near and dear. I suppose this is a legend more than a fairy tale, but ‘Mulan’ is easily my favorite. Not only is it a fun, action-packed, beautiful movie, but it’s so important for young girls to have.
Telling stories has been a compulsion of mine since I could physically say, ‘Once upon a time…’ But in high school, I realized I could study creative writing in college and actually pursue it as a viable career.
I’ve been working through Maurice Druon’s ‘Accursed Kings’ series. They come highly recommended from George R. R. Martin, and for good reason.
I’m a sponge when it comes to stories. I’d say everything influences me in some way, but for ‘Red Queen’ in particular, I was really affected by the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series by George R. R. Martin.