Let’s back back on schedule with another interview. Joining me in the Scar den is Katie Cherry, I hope you guys enjoy, and join me in welcoming her! Click on the dragon logo down below to check out her website.
First of all, tell me about yourself! What do you write?
I am twenty-three and I write fantasy. I love cats and have grown to like most dogs as well, though if I could have any pet, I would choose a fox or a wolf! I currently live in Utah with my husband. Our favorite thing to do together is play video games.
How do you develop your plots and characters?
The characters are already alive, for the most part. Once I get a glimmer of an idea for a book, the character(s) will pop in and start feeding me info about themselves, their world, and their problems. I simply weave it together into a story on paper, with more details coming through as a write- including plot twists. It may sound cliché, but I’m really more of a conduit to the stories than anything!
Tell the world about your current project!
My current project is book six of seven of my Crystal Dragon Saga. Nearing the climax of the storyline is intimidating and exciting in equal measure. Crystal and Nathan are about to finally come face-to-face with the mysterious ‘bad guy’ of the series and realize just how much is at stake for the seven realms if they can’t defeat him. These last two books especially will have everyone on the edge of their seats!
Who would you say is the main character of your latest novel? And tell me a little bit about them!
Crystal Dragon is the main character of this series, though her best friend Nathan is the second main character. She grew up in our world, believing that magic isn’t real, until she’s taken to the realm Zilferia. There, she has to come to terms with not only magic, but her own royal heritage and connection to the dragons. Before long, another role is thrust upon her- savior of the realms. Thankfully, Nathan helps her conquer her anxiety and depression, shortcomings, and trials, and together, they prepare to help her realize her destiny and defend the realms.
Have you been to any conventions? If so, tell me a little about them!
I attended the Wizarding Dayz convention in Salt Lake this last February for the first time. It was great! Everyone there already loved magic and great stories, so they were easy to talk to and connect with. I was more successful than I expected, and am looking forward to attending more conventions in the future!
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
This has a bit of a longer story to answer! It started with my love of reading. I have always been a voracious reader, and by the time I was about thirteen, I found the reserves of fantasy books in my local and school libraries very much depleted of books that I wanted to read.
The thought to write my own books didn’t come to me until I heard about the Young Writers and Artist’s Fest taking place a few months out. I ignored it for a while, since I was no artist, until it suddenly hit me that a writer is just the other side of the coin from a reader. So, I decided to give it a shot.
My first book was very cliché, but I finished it, and it was a pretty lengthy book, especially for a thirteen-year-old. Everyone was impressed by the feat. When I finished it, I got the idea for the first book of the Crystal Dragon series. The ideas didn’t stop, and I realized I’d opened a door I couldn’t close. The writer life took me by the hand and yanked me out of reality and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?
New Zealand! Everything I hear about it is just amazing. I love the accents, the people, the beauty of nature… everything. And writing a book with that setting… well, it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine dragons living in the mountains, forests, and oceans around NZ!
What advice would you give new writers?
Write more than one book before you start looking to publish. Especially if you’re writing a series. Complete the series, and by the time you finish, you’ll have grown enough that you’re going to want to rewrite the first few books anyway. It also takes off the stress of needing to put out the next book of the series once you have readers waiting for it. You’ll have them all ready to go! Also, don’t take your writing too seriously. Be open to criticism, as it can only improve your writing. Make sure you compromise, though. It is YOUR book, after all! Lastly, check out the Facebook group 20Booksto50k. It’s filled with authors who are making a living with their books, and others striving to get there. Free access to ‘secrets’ of the trade. If you want to make it big, it’s absolutely the best place to be. The sooner you join, the better, as many things are good to know BEFORE you start writing, if possible.
What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding?
Hmm this is a tough one. My husband helps me with worldbuilding, since he knows a lot of random details about the world we live in now. We just kind of expand on some things, twist some others, and add in some magic. Using this world as a template, things stay realistic and understandable while still providing an escape.
What inspires you to write?
The story, primarily. I’m still that same reader I was ten years ago, on the search for great books. My books are great to me as a reader, so I create them partially for my own enjoyment! Secondly, each book completion gives me a feeling of success that’s difficult, if not impossible, to recreate elsewhere. Thirdly, now that I have a following, I write for my readers! Their love for my creations bolsters me, and I’ve become friends with many of them. With each book, it feels like I’m giving my friends a gift- something that I love to do! This is a way I can give in a world that focuses on taking. It’s such a great feeling!
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Getting past my perfectionism paranoia. Starting is horribly difficult for me, because I want it to be perfect. The story isn’t totally solid in my head until it’s written, but I want it to be, so that when it’s written, it’s perfect. I balk at starting to write each day because of this. It’s scary to write forward into the unknown and face the fear of it not being good enough! Thankfully, once I force myself through it, I go back and discover I had nothing to fear.
What is your routine when writing, if any? If you don’t follow a routine, why not?
I try so often to have a routine… for anything in my life, really, but it gets especially difficult if something comes up and I have to deviate from the plans I made. Which happens nearly every day. So it’s just really difficult to come up with any kind of schedule that will work more days than not! The one consistency I’ve been able to establish is catching up on my social media so I’m not worrying about that as I write, turning on my music and putting on noise-cancelling headphones, and going to 4thewords to do my writing. (I can choose what monsters to fight, and once I write that many words, it’s defeated! It makes writing almost more of a game than a chore or something on my to-do list.)
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write in any of your books, and why?
Oof, that’s a hard question too. Hmm. I think my favorite parts of my books is when the main character is able to accomplish something they didn’t think they’d be able to do. The rush of accomplishment and euphoria that they feel, I feel when I write those scenes. Also, with my love of dragons, I just love any scene that has to do with them getting in touch with the dragon inside of them. (My main characters so far are part human and part dragon!)
Did you learn anything from writing your latest book? If so, what was it?
With my last book, I discovered that if I outline with too much detail, that’s exactly what I write. I don’t delve too much into details or inner thoughts. I’ve boxed myself in from the beginning. The book ends up being a good 10-20k shorter than I mean for it to be because of this! So for this next book, I’m trying a much looser outline. So far, my writing is better, but it’s harder and takes longer! So it’s a give and a take, I suppose. I’m sure eventually I’ll find the balance of pantsing and plotting!
Are you a plotter or a pantser? A gardener or an architect?
I started out as a pantser, but as the series evolves, it becomes difficult to do so and keep track of all the character arcs, plot lines, magic system, etc. So I turned to plotting. It helped a lot with keeping things in line and writing faster, but I felt my writing wasn’t as good. Now I’m a bit of both!
Gardener or architect… I don’t know that I’ve heard of either of those. Maybe gardener- plant some ideas and see where they go is I’m assuming what that one involves, which definitely sounds like what I do, so we’ll go with that one rather than following a rigid plan that I don’t deviate from.
If you had to give up either snacks and drinks during writing sessions, or music, which would you find more difficult to say goodbye to?
Music. I would get distracted by every little thing without music! Snacks are easy to go without- my fingers are busy anyway. But music really helps me get in the mindset of writing rather than the every day and noticing how badly I need to clean my house or should be making dinner!
Which is your favorite season to write in, and why?
Spring. It’s the perfect temperature to sit at my desk and open the window. A fresh breeze that smells like the flowers just starting to bloom, the sunshine to brighten my mood… I couldn’t ask for much more! (Except for spring to last much longer than it does!)
It’s sometimes difficult to get into understanding the characters we write. How do you go about it?
I addressed this a little earlier, but my characters are the easiest thing for me. It feels like they already exist, and they direct the story. They come to me with flaws, concerns, and unique aspects already there. I will delve into this a little deeper for this question. I have also heard the question ‘how do you write characters of the opposite gender?’ Which is also easy.
They’re human. We honestly aren’t as different as many of us may think. We all have desires, and they’re fundamentally the same. Our mannerisms may be a little different, but I’ve known boys and men all my life. All it takes is just a little observation to note the few differences. Beyond that- they’re just like us. They’re human.
What are your future project(s)?
After the Crystal Dragon Saga, I’ll be rewriting and expanding on a short story I had in an anthology. It had Greek Gods, which is always exciting… it will be a duology, with the first book Blessed With A Curse, and the second, Gods’ Grace. After that… I’ll need to choose from my massive list of ideas! I’m thinking of a more epic fantasy with winged people, elves, and a land with darkness fast approaching. I don’t have a name for it yet, but the series idea is developing in my mind. It will likely be a trilogy.
What is your favorite book ever written?
My favorite book ever written? What a cruel question! Who can narrow it down to just one? Torture. Let’s go with my most recent favorite, I suppose. Kay L Moody’s Elements of Kamdaria is an awesome series I’ve discovered, so I’ll say book one, Ice Crown. Though, again, I have far more favorites than just that! (The Dragon Princess by Lichelle Slater, Hunted by Meagan Spooner, the classic Eragon by Christopher Paolini, etc.)
Who are your favorite authors?
Oops, I kind of answered this in the last question! Christopher Paolini, Kay L Moody, Ali Winters, Meagan Spooner, JK Rowling… and more, I’m sure. But I’ll keep the list short for you.
What makes a good villain?
They’re relatable. They’re flawed. If we can relate with the villain, it adds so much depth to not just the character, but to the book(s). It increases the conflict as we realize there’s no such thing as pure evil… or pure good. When black and white becomes grey, all bets are off!
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I play video games with my husband, primarily! I don’t have much ‘spare time’ these days, but I used to do a lot of reading (obviously!) and I used to crochet. One day I’m sure I’ll get back to doing those as well.
If you couldn’t be an author, what ideal job would you like to do?
Honestly, I found acting to be really fun. I did a little in High school, and regretted not doing so sooner. It was really fun, and I was always pressed to improve and grow. Every time I got on stage, my stage freight diminished and my enjoyment- and talent- increased. I wouldn’t say I’m great at it, but I wish I was. I think being an actress would be a fantastic, adventure-filled career.
Coffee or Tea? Or (exult deep breath) what other drink do you prefer, if you like neither?
Sorry, I’m one that likes neither! I like Rootbeer, Cream Soda, eggnog, chocolate milk, strawberry milkshakes… you know. Sweet stuff!
You can travel to anywhere in the universe. Where would you go, and why?
If there’s a planet with dragons (especially if they’re the kind that won’t roast me upon entry), I choose there! Otherwise, I’m probably good staying on Earth. I find that most of space isn’t exactly hospitable!
Do you have any writing blogs you recommend?
I don’t really follow any blogs, sorry!
Do you have any writer friends you’d like to give a shoutout to?
Eileen Mueller is amazing! She’s super sweet and writes awesome dragon adventures as well. Yumoyori Wilson is an incredible author as well. Not just a speed writer, but keeps her head up even when things are hard! She’s such an inspiration to me.
Pick any three fiction characters. These are now your roadtrip crew. Where do you go and what do you do?
Wow, this is the toughest one of all so far. I have no idea. I’m so glad I have plenty of time to think about this! I certainly need it.
Sapphira (the dragon from Eragon), Crystal (the main character from my Crystal Dragon series), and… Newt Scamander (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). We would fly around and explore and interact with magical creatures! Now that would be a perfect ‘road’ trip!
What superpower would you most like?
Teleportation, probably. I’m fairly lazy, though I also honestly just don’t really like road trips, and airports are exhausting. I could just teleport to see friends and family in an instant!
What are two of your favorite covers of all time? (Not your own.)
Oh, gosh. Let me dig. One of them is by Amalia Chitulescu with a massive hand-painted phoenix! “Quest for the Ember Relic” by Aurora Weiss.
Second choice… Claire Holt’s “Heir of Ashes.” I almost bought this, but I was outbid, unfortunately. I still mourn my loss! It’s so beautiful!
It’s a very difficult time right now for the world. When quarantine and pandemic comes to an end, what is the first thing you would like to do?
I’d like to go and check on my grandparents. I’m sure they’re feeling very lonely due to all this isolation, and it’s been hard to not see them for so long, especially while my grandma doesn’t have great health.
Finally, what is your preferred method to have readers get in touch with or follow you (i.e., website, personal blog, Facebook page, here on Goodreads, etc.) and link(s)?
The best place to get in touch with me is to email me at Crystal1Dragon20@gmail.com, and through Facebook. I have a fan group, and those interested can also follow my personal profile. My newsletter is the best place to get updates (since Facebook often won’t really share posts). I’m also on Instagram, Twitter, Patreon, Bookbub, etc., but Facebook and my email list are the best places to follow me.
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/author.katiecherry.1
Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1275626482623759/
Newsletter signup: https://www.subscribepage.com/katiecherrysfantasyemails