Friday, June 5, 2009

Interview with Aubrey Mace, author of "My Fairy Grandmother" by Michele Ashman Bell

I'm so excited to share with you this wonderful author, Aubrey Mace and her fantastic new book, My Fairy Grand Mother.

A little about the book:
Descended from fairies? It sounds unbelievable, but according to Kaitlin's grandmother Viola, it's true. In spite of her initial reluctance to visit Viola, Kaitlin finds herself being drawn into Viola's stories of elegant castles, evil counts, and exciting escapades. But as Kaitlin learns more about her family, Kaitlin's mother becomes increasingly concerned about Viola's mental health. Good thing Kaitlin knows better! This enchanting tale shows how a good story can bring a whole family together.

A little about Aubrey:
Aubrey Mace lives in Sandy, Utah. She attended LDS Business College and Utah State University. When she's not writing or working, she enjoys cooking, traveling, playing the cello badly, spending time with her family, and reading.

My interview with Aubrey:

M.B.: When did you first know you wanted to be an author?
Aubrey: I’ve been a big reader ever since I was little, and I think on some level I’ve always wanted to write. I started actually writing stories in college, which was a lot of fun. But as much as I wanted to write a book, I would always get to this point twenty or thirty pages into it where the story would abruptly end. So I wrote a lot of short stories, and one day, I wrote a little fairy tale that just kept going—it was fifty pages, then a hundred, and so on. I was so scared to tell anyone that I was writing a book because I was afraid that the minute I said it out loud, the story would be over! But I finished it, and I’ve been writing books ever since.
M.B.: What was the pathway like for you to get your first book published?
Aubrey: The book I mentioned above is still in a drawer. I submitted it to six or seven places, but I never did simultaneous submissions, so it took forever. To date, I haven’t found anyone who is interested in publishing it. So it’s good that I didn’t give up on my first try!  Spare Change was my second book, and I think I sent it to five places before Cedar Fort. They sent me an email saying that they liked the concept and wanted me to consider some changes, which I made. And after a second batch of revisions, I had a contract!
M.B.: Were you ever discouraged along the way? If so, how did you deal with it?
Aubrey: I am, by nature, a rather shy and timid sort of person. Needless to say, the rejections were really hard for me, and I was discouraged a lot. But I had loads of encouragement from family and friends, who urged me to keep putting my stuff out there. And I think that every rejection puts us one step closer to finding that one person who likes what we’re doing. If I had quit at the beginning, I know I would always wonder if I would be published today.
M.B.: What is your writing schedule like?
Aubrey: I work full-time, and my brain is pretty much useless in the early morning. So I get a lot of my writing done at night when I get home.
M.B.: Where do your ideas come from? How do you know the idea is
good enough to write a book about it?
Aubrey: I have ideas everyday that I think would make good stories, and I never get to half of them. I would guess that probably only one in ten get past the first five pages. So for me, the only way to know is to start writing and see where it goes. Plus, I have a couple of friends who I really trust that I pass stuff along to. It’s nice to have other people to bounce ideas off of.
M.B.: What words of advice do you have for other writers who desire to
have their manuscripts become books in print?
Aubrey: When you get a rejection, find another place to send your manuscript and get it right back out there. And keep working on something else while you’re waiting! It helps the time go by faster to have another project in the works, and once you get that first book accepted, it’s nice to have other books finished and ready to go.
M.B.: What is your process of brainstorming a story? Do you just sit
down and write, waiting to see what happens next? Or do you outline
first?
Aubrey: I try to carry a notebook with me everywhere, because I never know when I will have an idea and I have a TERRIBLE memory! Even the most vivid concept slips away if I don’t write it down immediately. For me, even a few words are enough to jog my memory and then I can work on it later. I’m a big outliner, and I don’t usually write the story in order. I write little blurbs on index cards and then flesh them out when I’m writing that part of the story.
M.B.: Do you ever experience a snag in a story, a form of writer's
block? If so, how do you deal with it?
Aubrey: I’ve had writer’s block at some point with every book I’ve written, and one of the things I’ve found really helps is not to try to write the story in order from beginning to end. If I get stuck on one part, I think ahead to a scene that I’m really excited to write and I do that instead. Usually that helps get me back on track. If that doesn’t work, I put it away for a while and try something else. When I come back to it, it either falls into place or it doesn’t!
M.B.: Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when
you are writing?
Aubrey: I do much better without noise and commotion. I usually write in a quiet room with a window by myself.
M.B.: What kinds of inspiration do you use during your story creation periods?
Aubrey: I don’t usually listen to music while I’m writing, but I do have certain songs that I associate with certain stories. And for some reason, pulling weeds really brings out the creativity in me. Or shoveling snow—something mindless like that where I can just let my thoughts wander. I’m a compulsive weed puller! 
M.B.: Who has made the greatest difference for you as a writer?
Aubrey: My family and friends have been my biggest support group. I am convinced that I never would have gotten this far without people who loved me and believed in me and told me I could do it.
M.B.: Do you use a critique group during the writing process? Why or why not?
Aubrey: I have two critique partners, but I’m fairly new to the whole process. It’s nice to have other writers who are willing to give you their honest opinion about what works and what doesn’t. And the nice thing about a critique group is that you can take the advice that works and use it, but just because they suggest changes doesn’t mean you have to make them. I think it’s the best of both worlds.
M.B.: Which of your books is your favorite, and why?
Aubrey: Whatever book I’m working on at the time is usually my favorite.  But if I had to choose one, I would have to say My Fairy Grandmother. When I got my copies of it, I flipped through it and I was just so proud of the way the story comes together. I don’t mean that to sound vain at all, but it was one of those times where I thought, “Wow, I can’t believe I actually wrote this!”
M.B.: Any final words you would like to share
Aubrey: Just keep writing! Even if your situation looks grim and you think you will never get published and no one is taking you seriously, keep writing and keep submitting. You never know when the next query you send out will be the one that gets you published. And read as much as you can, in all different genres. Reading will go a long way towards making you a better writer.
M.B.: Where can our readers go to find your books and order them?
Aubrey: Spare Change and My Fairy Grandmother are available at Deseret Book and Seagull and their websites, and you can also find them online at www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, and www.cedarfort.com.

6 comments:

Personage said...

That sounds amazing. It is good that you told me about that becuase I was running out of books to read. That book looks like something I would probably read. I will check my library for that book.

Jillayne Clements said...

Nice interview. It's great to get to know Aubrey a little better. =0)

Beth at Aunties said...

I am always looking for books to
read to improve my relationships with our almost 11 grandchildren.
I enjoyed the interview!

JoAnn Arnold said...

I love to read the reviews of different authors. I find so many of us are alike in so many ways. I have the book "My Fairy Grandmother" and have started reading it. One thing I have found is that a book is even better when you know the author, and through these interviews that happens.

Rebecca Talley said...

Sounds like a fun book. I'll add it to my list!

Great interview. It's always fun getting to know other authors.

Rachelle said...

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