I started WSD at 15 and shelved it for about 6 years. Then it took me one year to do it. When I resurrected it at 21, it took me two years to get it into publishable shape, so in total, it took me three years. But I was still relatively new at writing when I was 15, and still slightly new at 21; however, I knew I had a story worth telling. The sequel to WSD, The Stars Are Infinite, took even longer. I have literally been working on it since I was 14, because I started it first and was still very green to the world of writing and publishing.
There is really no one point of inspiration for writing When Stars Die. I just knew I wanted to write about witches in convents since witches are hated in Amelia's world, and a witch being in a convent would be completely blasphemous. I also wanted to write about another side of religion that I don't think many authors have done because religion is such a touchy subject. But I really wanted to do it because I want people to question their religions. I don't want them to stop believing, but we have been socialized with so many things throughout our lives that I think it's important to question what we've been taught, to re-evaluate things in our lives so we understand ourselves and our beliefs better--like why we believe what we believe.
Amelia just came to me. I had a dream about her, a nightmare really, and she was actually Wednesday Addams. Wednesday was trying to kill everyone and all my friends, so Amelia originally started out as an assassin. But I decided to change her to make her this sweet, innocent, loyal, determined character because I wanted her to have a book of her own to explain why she is the way she is in the sequel--although she is not the protagonist in the sequel. As for Nathaniel, I can't even tell you where he came from. At first he was this sweet, innocent boy who wanted nothing more than to help and save Alice, but he is Amelia's sister, and he went through a lot with Amelia, so I needed to change him into troubled boy in the sequel. However, in the first book, he is just devoted to his sister.
I would befriend Amelia because she is loyal and sweet. I think she and I would get along just fine, and I think we could really help each other out--assuming I wasn't a witch, damned to the same fate that she would be if I were found out to be a witch and burned on the stake. And assuming I wasn't so heavily socialized to hate witches, I think knowing about Amelia being a witch would hopefully not affect my opinion of her because I really do like her as a character.
I write in my bed and sometimes in geography class--because geography class is painfully boring. But I primarily write in bed because it's my cozy safe place. And I do not listen to music while I am writing. It is very distracting. I need a quiet place to write.
|Lavender Fields in France- beautiful!|
I am currently working on the sequel to WSD, The Stars Are Infinite. I think to talk about it would bring about some spoilers, but I can tell you the new protagonist is Alice. The first chapter starts out with Alice locked in a room, beaten and bloody because she will be burned for being a witch the next day. She also contemplates suicide, so it's some pretty dark stuff right from the get go.
Mother Aurelia’s boots click behind me. Instinct tells me to look up to see what she’s going to do, but I keep my eyes on the blood-crusted drain in the center of our circle, one of the many set into the ceramic tiles. Across the circle, Colette widens her eyes. Her surprise is soon justified when Mother Aurelia wrenches my hair by the roots. Tears leap to my eyes, blurring my sisters, the shadows, and the bloodletting room. A sharp sting ripples across my scalp as my breathing deepens to suppress the intense throbbing. I imagine the Mother Superior wrapping my brunette tresses around her arms like a serpent as she pulls, harder and harder, her face set in a perpetual grimace. For a moment I think she has freed my hair from my scalp, but then realize that is the cessation of pain when she loosens her hold. She yanks again.
I must not cry out. I must not cry out. I don’t know why I shouldn’t cry out. All I know is the lives of professed nuns are grueling, which is why I assume Mother Aurelia’s initiation is so torturous. Professed nuns must be fully devoted to our god Deus in order to carry out His teachings without dispute. Nuns pray all day on a hard stone floor in the cloister, with few toilet breaks, no meals until dinner, and little breaks to stretch their sore limbs. What they pray about is a mystery, yet Mother Aurelia assures us their prayers are for suffering. Some nuns are assigned as teachers, and when I’m professed I hope to be a teacher. On weekends they’ll do charity work, but for the most part their lives are hidden within the walls of Cathedral Reims.