Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Interview: Author M. K. Scott

Popular mystery author Michelle Scott has branched into YA fiction writing as M. K. Scott. Her first YA published novel, Zamora’s Ultimate Challenge, will be released in February 2009. Ms. Scott is visiting us today to answer questions about her writing career. She’ll be back in 2009 when her virtual tour for Zamora’s Ultimate Challenge makes a stop at Char’s Book Reviews.

It’s been a few years since I was in the target age group for YA novels, so I’m getting some interview assistance today from two twelve year old experts – Elena and Mackenzie.

Mackenzie: When did you first know you wanted to be an author? What is the first thing you wrote?

Ms. Scott: I knew when I was about nine-years-old that I wanted to be an author. I used to love to create all sorts of “stories” in my head and even write short stories down as a kid. I wrote my first “novel,” when I was twelve. It was about a girl and a horse and the girl’s dream to go to the Olympics.

Elena: When did you discover you could write? Why did you continue writing? Did you have a tutor, or did you teach yourself?

Ms. Scott: My dad was the first one to tell me that I could write. I was nine at the time and he read one of my stories. He loved the story and looking at me, said, “You are a writer.” It was from that point on that I thought I could really do this. I continued and have continued to write because I LOVE to write. There is no other answer. I love to create characters and their stories. I have been fortunate to have had many teachers and mentors. I’ve attended a lot of writer’s workshops, conferences and classes. I have read many articles and books on writing, too.

Charlotte: You write for both adult and young readers. How is the process different? Is it difficult to switch back and forth? Is one more challenging than the other?

Ms. Scott: The process for writing for the two different audiences is different in that I have to change tone, language, and my thought process. I write mysteries for adults, so I have to think about the puzzle of the mystery and also the relationships of the characters involved. For kids, I like to think about what they like, what they find interesting, how they solve problems. It’s good that I have kids and get to act like a kid myself sometimes.

To switch back and forth isn’t as difficult as you might think. Again, it’s thinking either like a twelve-year-old might think versus a forty-year-old.

Writing for both audiences is challenging. For me though, writing for kids is even more challenging. I want to be sure that I write to and for them, and not insult how smart they are (kids are super smart!), but also write a fun, creative and thrilling adventure.


Mackenzie: Did you write many novels before trying to get one published?

Ms. Scott: I wrote about eight novels before getting published. It took me twelve years! It was a long and hard road, but well worth it.

Mackenzie: How long did it take to get your first novel accepted by a publisher? After that, how long did it take for the book to be published?

Ms. Scott: The first book of mine that was published only took two weeks for the publisher to decide to buy it, and once they did that, it took eighteen months before it hit the shelves.

Elena: What was your first piece of fiction?

Ms. Scott: My first piece of fiction that I completed was a thriller for adults. It’s never been published.

Elena: Do you like writing non-fiction or fiction better?

Ms. Scott: Definitely fiction.

Elena: Did you draw ideas from other books : the Sage, evil faeries that "sing" you to sleep?
Do you work from an outline? Or do you write freestyle?

Ms. Scott: Some of the ideas from this book came from a game that was popular many years ago called Zelda. My boys loved that game. Other ideas from this book came from a non-fiction book that I was reading at the time titled: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Most of this book came off the top of my head and I did not have an outline for it. When I write adult mystery, I do work from an outline. This book was super fun to write because there was no pressure and I could write how I wanted and on my own time. I enjoyed every minute of it. I hope you enjoy reading it!
Mackenzie: Sometimes when people read my stories and make suggestions, the suggestions would really change the story. Did anyone try to change your story?
Ms. Scott: I always receive edits, or suggestions, but no one has ever tried to make any type of drastic changes to my stories. As the author I get to make the final decision, but I am always open and willing to listen to the ideas that may make my stories better.

Charlotte: You write for both adult and young readers. How is the process different? Is it difficult to switch back and forth? Is one more challenging than the other?

Ms. Scott: The process for writing for the two different audiences is different in that I have to change tone, language, and my thought process. I write mysteries for adults, so I have to think about the puzzle of the mystery and also the relationships of the characters involved. For kids, I like to think about what they like, what they find interesting, how they solve problems. It’s good that I have kids and get to act like a kid myself sometimes.

To switch back and forth isn’t as difficult as you might think. Again, it’s thinking either like a twelve-year-old might think versus a forty-year-old.

Writing for both audiences is challenging. For me though, writing for kids is even more challenging. I want to be sure that I write to and for them, and not insult how smart they are (kids are super smart!), but also write a fun, creative and thrilling adventure.

Charlotte: What's next for M. K. Scott?

Ms. Scott: Zamora’s Ultimate Challenge will be available in major bookstores and on amazon.com and bn.com in February 2009.

I am currently working on my next adult book as Michele Scott. It is possible that there will be a sequel to Zamora, and also another YA series that would likely involve horses, magic, and another adventure.
Charlotte: Thank you so much for visiting with us today. I'm looking forward to your return in 2009.
Do you have any questions for Ms. Scott? Please use the comments link below to ask. Ms. Scott will be checking in later today to respond to your inquiries.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Do you still have the book you wrote when you were twelve? Do you plan to do anything with it? I'm twelve and I've written 2 books. My aunt says I have a lot of editing to do. That sounds boring, so I just move on to the next book. Don't editors do all that editing stuff for you?

Michele Scott said...

I don't have the book I wrote when I was 12, but sure wish that I did. Your aunt is right. Sorry. A big part of my job is editing my work. As a writer you will learn that the best writing you do comes during the editing or revising process. I used to not like it either, but now it's my favorite part about writing because I know it's improving my work. Hope that helps. No matter what--keep writing!

M.K. Scott