Nano Spotlight: H. J. Stephens


Hello, friends and followers. Today is the first day of Nanowrimo, and also the day that I leave for the Reversed Polarity Doctor Who convention in Toronto, so I’ve scheduled this spotlight interview in advance. Let’s meet H. J. Stephens!

Links: Hope there aren’t too many.

Tell me a bit about your experience with Nano so far
2013 is my third Nano, though it’s the second time I’m starting completely from scratch. Last year I was reworking the story from 2011.

I always have such a good time during Nano that I couldn’t choose just one memory and call it my favourite. However, I would say that my favourite time to write is in the first few early hours of the morning with a fresh cup of tea.

What are you writing about this year?
This year I am working on the sequel to the story I wrote in Nano 2011/2012. Basically in the last book my main character had her memory wipes in order to make her more efficient and less trouble as she was captured by the enemy. The book I’ll be starting this Nano begins her journey of rediscovery. A lot of my writing deals with humanity at the core. What does it mean to be human and how does living in the world we’ve built for ourselves/are building for our children change us? This year, I’ll be delving deep into what being human really is, if we strip away all of the memories and environmental developments our personality has taken on.

Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
Tough question. Whilst Kalina, being my main character is really the star of the novel, I adore all of my characters. I’ve put Kalina through the wringer, I’ve had her go through betrayal, death of loved ones, physical and emotional pain and now most recently memory loss. Because of that I feel that I’ll always be most connected with her as a character. But I really enjoy writing my bad guys and building their history and involvement in the plot. I don’t think I have a ‘best character’. They are all so different and yet so important to me individually.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Don’t edit anything! And most importantly, don’t cut it out. Words are everything in Nano. Even if you have to change the ink to white so you can’t see it, don’t delete anything. You can crop words to your heart’s content in December. And no matter what, keep pushing on. You may hate your story when you hit that halfway mark, but don’t give up on it. I hated the finished product of Nano 2011 but I kept it, started another document and began anew. Now, what started off as that detested first draft is now a published novel so you never know what those words will bring you!

Additionally, make sure you are connected to your local region on the Nano forums. See if there are any write-ins planned. If not, organise some. Getting together with other people who know exactly what it’s like doing what you are doing helps substantially in the writing process.

Sneaky Ninja question! Are you organized or messy?
I can’t stand mess. I need everything to be neat. Even my computer has neatly organised files for everything. Stuff in my life doesn’t necessarily need to be exactly where it belongs, though I prefer it, but it does need to be tidy. Especially my bedroom. The only place that does get away with being less than tidy is my bookshelf and that is purely due to a lack of room. My bookshelf stacks three books high and is also home to lots of collectibles. I simply don’t have to room to be fussy.

200 ramble words:
As I mentioned WTNT Front Coverbefore I recently published the book I began writing in Nano. This book is called When There’s No Tomorrow. Before I found out about Nano I had only written one other novel and that took me three years. Nano, and all for the support that comes with it, had me writing a novel the same length in a third of the time. It had me becoming a published author way before I thought I would be.

When There’s No Tomorrow is the sequel to the novel I’m writing this year. It’s set in a futuristic world where everything has gone wrong. World War III has destroyed the world and has resulted in the near extinction of the human race. Regardless of this fact, the survivors are still fighting and Kalina is soon caught up in the mess. A lot of people ask me why I choose to write in such a genre like dystopian when there are so many light-hearted stories to write. I write dystopian-themed stories to explore the scenarios that I see happening in the future.

You can find links to my book at my Facebook or Goodreads profiles or at my blog.

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