Today I have A.E. Snow at the Blogathon!
A.E., tell us all about you! Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?
I was born with a pen in my hand! I wrote my first “book” when I was six and I haven’t stopped writing since.
When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?
I got serious about writing after my daughter was born. Having two little kids under the age of two is hard work! I made writing my little escape from diapers and spitting up. I was slow going but when once I had written about half of the book, I knew I had to finish it.
How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?
It took about two years. It began very slowly and a great many things changed. Once I reached the halfway point, it started to go very fast and I didn’t want to do anything else!
Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?
I write in total silence with soft lights and classical music. Hahaha! I write at my desk or the kitchen table in the middle of two children, a big dog, and three cats running around. I am excellent at tuning out noise. My writing mood just strikes and I have to sit down and do it at the expense of everything else. Thankfully, my husband understands.
What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?
I mostly write YA. It isn’t experiences that infiltrate my stories as much as feelings. I have vivid memories of how I felt when I was a young adult so I draw from those.
Literary Inspiration: throughout your life, what novels have lifted you, made you think, “Someday I want to create something like that . . .”
There are so so many. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson had a profound effect on me. I love everything Judy Blume has ever written. Patricia MacLachlan’s work deeply affected me as a child. Sarah Dessen has really inspired my writing as well.
Let’s talk about romance. How do you set the mood for your characters, what do you draw from that helps your H/H achieve oneness with each other? And how much conflict do you give them, along the way?
I always make a Pinterest mood board for how I want things to feel. The board for Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick is filled with summery scenes like couples on the beach just having fun. I consult the mood board and make a playlist every time I write and especially when writing a romantic scene. I try to give them a fair amount of conflict to sort through.
What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?
The day I wrote The End on my first book. It was only the rough draft but it was the moment that I thought “I can do this. I did this.” It’s not an easy road but finishing a novel, even if it’s a rough draft, is a feeling like no other.
Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they? What makes them special to you?
I like to diffuse essential oils while I write so my diffuser and oils are super important. I have lots of sticky notes with inspirational messages on them or lines of poetry. I like to be able to see them while I write so I have something to refer to when things get hard. A view.
I need something beautiful to look at while I write. My desk is facing a window with lots of trees and not much else so it’s beautiful but not distracting. Coffee is a necessity. Or tea.
Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?
I have small children and two part-time jobs that I do from home. My biggest challenge is balancing work, family, and writing. Sometimes I feel the pressure and I think that I have to finish everything before I write but I’m not happy when I’m not writing so I’m trying to shift that to make writing more of a priority. So instead of work, family, then writing, I’d like it to be family, writing, and work last.
What aspects of the writing process do you find most difficult?
Editing. I hate editing and it takes me forever.
How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?
I begin with an idea. I let it simmer for a while, sometimes weeks or months, and then I do character sketches. I usually start writing and when I get to page fifty or so, I start over and make a plan. I have tried to plan and create detailed outlines but I really need a strong sense of the character before I do that or it feels inauthentic. It’s not the most efficient process but it’s my process and has actually taken years to figure out.
Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.
I’m working on a YA novel unlike anything I’ve written. The structure is not typical and hopefully tells the story of my main character Willa through a linear story with other threads woven in like newspaper articles, playlists, and her imagination. It’s fun to try!
How about some faves of yours?
My children are awesome. My son is almost five and his view of the world is so precious and exciting. Everything is an adventure. My daughter is three and is very strong in her sense of self. They are incredible. I also adore my twelve-year-old diabetic cat, Sam. I like to be surrounded by books, coffee, and the color blue while I listen to the Black Keys or the Arctic Monkeys.
A.E.’s upcoming debut release with Soul Mate: Meadow Perkins, Trusty Sidekick:
Being someone’s sidekick stinks, but it has kept Meadow safe. She has always been the funny friend of the most popular girl in art school, but hiding her light under a bushel has its consequences and now Meadow’s painting teacher thinks the talent that runs in her family must have skipped a generation. After Emilia, Meadow’s best friend, deals her a blow in the form of public humiliation in the middle of the cafeteria of Hobart School of the Arts, Meadow’s first instinct is to drop out of school and go into hiding.
When an old friend moves back into her life, she inspires Meadow to take charge of her own life and her own heart. Her heart just won’t shut up about the brooding Alejandro, or about Jack, who is tall and funny and totally gets her.
Meadow and Isla rely on each other when things get complicated, but after Meadow makes a shocking discovery, she realizes that she must stand on her own two feet, fix the mess she’s made, and try to win back the boy she like likes.
A.E., thanks so much for visiting with us today!