Friday, January 27, 2012

Author Larissa Hinton: Writing Advice And Why She Writes

meI’m always delighted when I can introduce a ‘new-to-me’ author to ya’ll and today I’m welcoming poet and author Larissa Hinton to talk about her writing.

Larissa is the author of IWISHACANA/ACANAWISHI. Here’s a brief synopsis of it: Where rules are meant to be broken - Anissa is constantly on the run from the police and can't seem to stay out of trouble. Secrets are meant to be kept - Until Anissa hides Florence in her bedroom and her mother finds out. There's only one thing left to do: Send her to Juvenile Cop Camp to erase all of her crimes on her record. And everything is not what it seems - There's only one problem: Anissa is innocent. Welcome to Iwishacana. 

She is also the author of EVERBLOSSOM: A SHORT STORY AND POETRY ANTHOLOGY. Here’s a brief description: An anthology that will quench your thirst for more than the ordinary. EVERBLOSSOM is a journey through poems and short stories that may seem ordinary on the surface but dig a little deeper and the world not only shifts . . . It changes. 

The author who brought you IWISHACANA/ACANAWISHI, now brings you a dash of everything from dark fantasy to the paranormal to romance. So prepare yourself to delve into the three stages of the flower from bud to blossom then back to seed; you'll go through them all with a whole new perspective on what it all truly means. 

Larissa has graciously answered some questions for me about her work. 
Mason - Have you always wanted to write or was there an event that lead you to writing?

Larissa - There was an event that led me to writing full time. I've always tinkered around with writing, but I never considered seriously writing until the Nickelodeon movie, Clock Stoppers came out. I thought the movie was going to be horrible, so I decided that I would write a novel that would be better than the movie. Needless to say, my book wasn't as good as the move but I didn't care. I love writing and nothing else mattered. Thus my obsession with writing begun.
Mason - What advice have you received writing that you pass on to other inspiring writers?

coveriwishaLarissa - The number one advice I receive constantly throughout my entire career as a writer is to never give up. I really cannot stress this enough to writers.

It seems like defeat is fate for writers. Traditional publishers and agents are dishing out rejection slips as if it's the new hottest trends. Self-publishing seems like giving up on your dreams altogether.

But reconsidering your options, doing research on your plans in publishing and joining a support writing group makes all the difference. Throughout your writing career, just remember to never give up. Never give up and believe in your talent, and from there you'll know where to go.

Mason - Of all the authors (past and present) you enjoy reading, has any one (or more) been an influence in your writing?

Larissa - Meg Cabot has had a direct impact on the way I format my YA paranormal fantasy, ANGEL DIARIES. I had NO idea how I wanted to format a diary format and so I looked to her book for the format.

Meg Cabot and Stephanie Meyer has had the biggest impact on how I write. The way that Stephanie Meyer wrote pure poetry into her works inspired me. I'm a poet first then a novelist later, so seeing how much poetry influenced her writing inspired me. Stephanie Meyer convinced me to break out of the fantasy realm a bit and try something new. I went from writing light fantasy (IWISHACANA/ACANAWISHI) to dark fantasy/paranormal fantasy (ANGEL DIARIES) and I loved writing it. It just seemed to fit me like a glove, so I really can't thank her enough for helping me decide to switch genres. And since I've switched genres, now I want to try all kinds of new genres like science fiction and horror.

Another couple of authors that had a big impact on me were Madeline Baker and Johanna Lindsay. They helped me write historical romance. Romance novels were the first books I really loved writing, so I wrote at least five of those in a row, then I switched back to YA after a while. But I cannot thank those authors enough for showing me how to write historical romance novels.
Mason - What is an average writing day like for you? Do you write longhand and on the computer, have a favorite place to write, a favorite time to write?

Everblossom-Larissa HintonLarissa - An average day for me is to wake up edit ANGEL DIARIES for an hour, then type up the handwritten book V for like 30 minutes or until the next gap. Then for the next 30 minutes or so, I read a book out of TBR pile (To Be Reviewed pile that has accumulated to a ridiculously high level thanks to the Free Book fairy) for my blog (A Three Way Tie).
Then I check my email to see if any book reviewer has responded to my request to read IWISHACANA/ACANAWISHI and EVERBLOSSOM: A SHORT STORY AND POETRY ANTHOLOGY. Additionally, I check for other stuff like cover artist (to see if he gets my email about the changes to the cover), my blog tour coordinator (to check up on the details and what additional information she needs), and of course, to see if Smashwords sold any of my books. Which practically never happens, lol. But I still keep the hope alive!

Anyway, then for the rest of the day, I usually send more book review requests, network about my blog on various social sites, and read Kindleboards to keep my inspiration up. Sometimes I like to continue building on my erotica anthology, EVERBLOSSOM 2, and maybe edit IWISHACANA/ACANAWISHI 2. It just depends on my mood. 

But yeah, that's my busy schedule. You would be surprised at how long this all takes me and how much time gets sucked up by promotion and networking and by . . . Okay, yes the Kindleboards. I admit it. Smile

Mason - Do you just jump right into a story or do you plan and outline?

Larissa - I absolutely plan and organize my thoughts before jumping in with novels. However, with short stories, I'm more willing to jump in and see what happens since it's a short story and I can always fix the problems rather quickly and easily.

Novels, on the other hand, are definitely more difficult to locate the problem and fix it therefore, planning is essential to when I write a novel. Sometimes it takes me years to come up with enough information, planning, and research to start a novel. I know for ANGEL DIARIES 2 (which I work on and off since I don't want to rush it) it took me about five years to get enough information and research to start the novel. Hopefully, though I'll start spitting more books out quicker. 

Mason - What is the worst advice you’ve ever received concerning writing?

Larissa - Hmm, this is a tough one. Oh yes, I remember one that really had me scratching my head. And editor suggested that my book, ANGEL DIARIES, was purely a young adult romance novel and suggested that I took out all of the paranormal elements and stick with the romance line part of the story which blew my mind. 

I was really shocked. The best part? They responded to my query letter like six months later. So yeah, by that time I got a publishing contract from another small publisher anyway. It just floors me how one editor thought I was writing in the wrong genre. Talk about a shocker.

Mason - What is next on the agenda for you?

Larissa - What's next for me is to network and to let everyone know about my two books, IWISHACANA/ACANAWISHI (YA fantasy novel) and EVERBLOSSOM: A SHORT STORY AND POETRY ANTHOLOGY.

Thanks for the wonderful interview!
Larissa, thanks for guest blogging. It’s fun finding out more background on an author and their writing routine. Sounds like that one editor was off a bit there. Best of luck with your writing.

Now for a little background on Larissa. She is a grad student at Hampton University that hopes by next year to be a full time secondary English teacher. She explains that in the morning she'll be a teacher but at night she’ll become an author. 

Larissa went to say, “Most of the fiction I write really comes from a life of reading of what I love to read. Some of it, comes from a dark place which I never knew existed until college. Ah, gotta love college. Always discovering new sides of yourself. If you want to know more about me and my sarcasm, you can just check out my blog (A Three Way Tie) and click on FAQ's. Thanks for reading my super short bio! Smile
EVERBLOSSOM: A SHORT STORY AND POETRY ANTHOLOGY can be purchased at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.

Do you enjoy learning what an author’s writing routine is like? If you’re a writer, does your writing routine change daily or never? Thanks so much for stopping by today. 


  1. Love it when poets also write fiction. My goal too.

  2. Mason - Thanks for hosting Larissa.

    Larissa - Thanks for sharing your approach to writing. And being a teacher educator myself, I can connect with your professional background too! You're quite right about the importance of never giving up. I wish you much success.

  3. Thanks Larissa and Mason for the behind-the-writing scenes look. A daily routine is important for me in that it helps structure my time most effectively, getting the most writing done that way.

  4. Larissa, thanks again for guest blogging and sharing your thoughts on writing. Wishing you much success.

    Harvee, Margot, and Joanne - thanks for dropping by today.

  5. What a nice interview, Mason and Larissa.

    that worse advice had me cracking up. For sure the editor was unclear on the concept, lol!


  6. Hey all! *waves all geekily*

    @Harvee- Yeah, I'm a regular Madeline L'Engle, one of my favorite authors. :) I love seeing how authors interweave their poetry talents with fiction and how they work together. Since writing fiction and writing poetry is two completely different things. So yeah. Anyway, I wish you all the best with your writing!

    @Margot-Thanks so much for your best wishes! This past month has been quite rough, so I'll need all the wishes, prayers and good energy sent my way. :D

    So you've got to tell me how to balance teaching with writing! Oh. My. God. Teaching is a full time job, lol, tell me the secret.

    @Mason-Thanks so much for allowing me on your blog. :)

    @Sia McKye-I didn't even laugh, but now that you say that, it IS funny! Clearly, he had NO idea what he was talking about.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.