This week I had the great pleasure to interview the next contributor to The Writers’ Lens, Ansha Kotyk. She is the author of Gangsterland, a middle grade novel due out later this year. A professional writer for the last five years, her titles
include The Comic Book, The Story of Kore, and Ground Zero. Like many writers she began her craft at a young age, writing her first story at the
age of nine.
She is a contributor to several blogs like #mglitchat and Pots n Pens. If you haven’t checked them out I highly recommend that you do – find more at: http://mglitchat.blogspot.com/
Ansha also wrote an excellent post about the choice she made in publishing, and why it was the right decision for her. It’s a great post about independent publishing. Read more at http://www.anshakotyk.com/blog
So, I asked her a few tough questions – sharpened my lens to bring her fiction into focus as it were.
Your website mentions following your dreams, any advice for those who dream of publication and don’t want to lose their way?
Following your dreams is what we're made for, why else would we dream? I think the idea of following a dream makes a lot of people hesitate. I mean, a dream is huge right? What if we can't achieve our dream? Or worse, what if we can and it's not what we anticipated? What then? We
move on and find another dream! I think the goal to following a dream is to make it tangible. Make a list of things we need to accomplish in order to achieve our goal and start working on the list. Eventually we meet that goal. I had a friend once tell me "if you want it bad enough, you'll do what you need to do to get it". I don't watch television. My 'down' time is writing time. I make room in my life for my writing every day. And that's how I know I'll eventually make my dream come true.
Cornelia asked me about the difference between Y/A and MG – So I have to ask, what sets Middle Grade and Young Adult apart from books for Adults?
Wow, tough question. When I was a kid I don't recall there being the amount of Middle Grade and YA books that are available today. I think the themes in MG and YA draw a number of readers. First experiences in life are always thrilling and as a reader you get to relive that through MG and YA characters who are having these experiences and making these decisions for
the first time. I actually can think of a number of reasons to read MG and YA, I have even talked my neighborhood book club into reading a few YA and MG novels instead of adult literary novels. Personally I think you find the theme of hope in MG and YA titles and that will always keep me reading.
Do you have a process when you write? Do you write at the same time every day or whenever you can find time? Do you outline or let the words flow?
For the last 3 years I've made it a point to set time aside to write each day. My children are young so it's been during nap times and now preschool. I really need that quiet time to focus on being creative. I'm a semi-pantser. :) I have always outlined my stories. I even have a few outlined that I never wrote. But the outline is my road map. When I write the draft the scenes create themselves as I write. I'm a strong believer in the subconscious mind doing all my work for me. It makes this job lots of fun!
The Writers’ Lens is about Bringing Fiction Into Focus – what brings your writing into focus, the characters, the stories, the love of words?
I have always loved the well crafted plot and maybe that's because I grew up on lots of Sci-fi, but I do love my characters.
Which line do you struggle with more the first or the last?
Both! I've rewritten my first pages more times than I can count. And I'm currently reworking my final scene. I'm a big proponent of Fast Drafting. Getting the words for your story down on paper as fast as you can. Keep that momentum, that flow of your story. It makes for some lengthy
revision but a thrill ride of a first draft.
What are you working on now?
I'm working on the final revisions of my Middle Grade novel GANGSTERLAND, an open ended series about a boy who wishes himself into his comic book of 1920's gangsters and finds himself in more trouble than he imagined. I plan to self-publish around the New Year. I've drafted the 3rd book but not the 2nd. I plan to keep myself busy with my dream.
Learn more about Gangsterland and the rest of Ansha’s writing at: http://www.anshakotyk.com/
Follow her blog at: http://www.anshakotyk.com/blog
and if you’re not checking out her twitter stream, you should be – @AnshaKotyk