Today I have the pleasure of gaining some insights from S.M. Pace, a self-published author who’s already pumped out two amazing YA Fantasy novels dubbed the Threads of Magic Series with twins, shapeshifters, and a fascinating world of magic.
Welcome to the AJ Blog! Let’s start out by getting to know your writing process. Do you write part-time or full-time?
SM: I am currently a full-time writer, though it’s only been a few months since I started. My goal right now is to self-publish two more books in the next year, set up a Patreon page for fiction serials, and submit one novel to an ebook publisher. From there, we’ll see how things are going.
That’s great! You’re very lucky to get to write full-time, you’ll be ahead of the rest of us before you know it. Actually, you already are, because you have two novels out which are pretty darn good.
Let’s learn a bit more about your writing process. When you develop characters, do you already know who they are before you begin writing or do you let them develop as you go?
SM: A bit of both. Inspiration for a story often comes with a character. Sometimes I feel like I know a lot about how that character will act and what they will say. Other times they feel flat, or a bit too much like a character I’ve already used. At that point, I will develop them further, using a series of questions from a character building e-book I purchased a while back.
That’s great to hear you’ve already found what works for you. It sounds like the characters come alive, and if they don’t, you already know how to fix them.
So, how about world-building? Do you fill in necessary details as needed or do you develop the entire world before you start writing?
SM: A bit of both. I’m a world-building addict, and would definitely fall down the eternal rabbit hole of world development if I had the time. But, unless your one of those super lucky people who gets paid to create worlds, world-building does not pay the bills. So, I force myself to figure out exactly what I need for each particular scene and novel, and develop only a tiny bit beyond that. For example, if I have a scene where the characters are attending a midwinter ball, I will develop how this particular ball is celebrated: what sort of decorations, food, activities, clothing; And a little bit about why it’s celebrated.
Not all of it will be used in scene, but I do like a little extra, because that can help me color characters’ behaviors and reactions in the scene. It might not be stated outright in the scene why the Midwinter Ball is not an appropriate place to flirt with prospective suitors, but as long as I know why, the characters know why, their subtle statements and actions will carry that.
Now, if I’m bored and I have some free time, I will absolutely develop the full history of the Midwinter Ball, how long it’s been around, exactly when it got started, various exciting events that have happened at Midwinter Balls in years past, and so on and so forth. World-building, when you enjoy it, can literally go on forever. So I have to limit myself, or I would never get anything done.
I hear you. I’m a fan of world-building myself and it’s super easy to get carried away and forget there’re scenes and characters to worry about.
I think we understand your writing process so far, and it’s been interesting to hear what works for you. But you must have some writers you use for inspiration. Do any favorites come to mind?
SM: Too many to count. Terry Pratchet and Patricia Briggs are two I can name. I love the depth of their world-building, their attention to detail. I also envy Pratchet’s ability to capture so much humor in his writing. If I need a good laugh, I pick up one of his novels.
I’ll have to read Pratchet’s work! He sounds like a great source of inspiration.
I know you haven’t been writing full-time long, but it’s been long enough to learn a thing or two. What advice would you give your younger self?
SM: Start writing more now, start saving more money, and, yeah, awful as this sounds, forget the whole teaching thing. It’s a crap shoot. Go into library sciences, and stay with that job at the local library.
I agree. The best way to learn to write is to read! That’s really here it all starts.
Okay, I think it’s time for a fun, personal question to wrap things up. Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
SM: See, I would say Harpo Marx, because I’m such huge fan of the Marx brothers’ movies. However, I have a feeling I would be disappointed. I’m a firm believer in not meeting your heroes, because they tend to be less heroic close up. However, I would love to go back in time and catch a live Marx brothers stage performance.
Click the image below to begin reading a sample of Shadow of the Wolf, Book 1 in the Threads of Magic Series!
S.M. Pace lives in the wilds of Central Virginia, with her husband (bear), son (bunny) and a pond full of fish (sometimes). When she’s not writing, she loves crafts, sewing, and hiking.