An Interview with Nancy Thorne, author of The Somewhere I See You Again!
DO YOU EVER WISH YOU WERE SOMEONE ELSE?
When I was younger I never wished to be someone else, but always wanted to be a better version of how I saw myself, whether it was my appearance or how much I knew. Now that I’m older, I sometimes think it would be a great thing to go back in time to my younger self to tell her she’s fine just the way she is.
WHAT PART OF THE WRITING PROCESS DO YOU DREAD?
I consider myself to be a slow, calculating type of writer. The beginning is the most difficult for me. As I continue, the characters evolve into their unique selves and the writing becomes easier.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?
The short answer is since grade school. The longer answer is I’ve seriously been writing for eight years. I spent decades trying to convince myself that just because I thought in my heart that I was a writer, it didn’t necessarily mean I was one. Through many years I listened to people say that they wanted to write a book, but none of them did. So, I kept dismissing my own yearnings. But they were like itches I could never scratch away.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A NEW WRITER STARTING OUT?
To not give up. To know going in that it takes time to hone your writing skills. Learn from other writers who have the experience you still need, whether by joining a writers’ group, attending lectures, or researching the Internet. If you can, get some feedback from others who aren’t in your family. There are editors who may be starting out who can give you feedback and critique your work. Be patient, keep writing and know you will feel less than others, especially at the beginning of your writing journey. Don’t compare yourself to anyone but who you were last week, or the week before, as you learn. All writers have to go through these times.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN IMAGINARY FRIEND?
When I was in grade school I felt comforted by small porcelain figures that I’d take to school hidden in a pocket. Throughout the day, I’d comfort the tiny figurine, which was actually comforting myself. I’d tell the cat or rabbit or dog that it was only a few minutes until recess or lunchtime. I made sure they knew they were cared for.
DO YOU HAVE ANY PHOBIAS?
I don’t like taxidermy heads of animals, so I try and pretend they don’t exist if I happen to be in a restaurant that has stuffed moose heads, etc. on the walls.
DO YOU EVER READ YOUR STORIES OUT LOUD?
I can honestly say that I don’t though I’ve heard that it’s a good idea. I don’t read my stories out loud because it wouldn’t sound like my character – and it doesn’t seem right for me to give a character my voice when they already have their own.
TELL US ABOUT YOU MAIN CHARACTER AND WHO INSPIRED HIM/HER
When I was a teenager many things and many friends inspired me. A vital part of me seemed to remain in the past. So, my main characters’ personalities bubble to the surface easily, as most of my characters do. They inspire me because I’ve never truly discarded them in my mind.
ANY WEIRD THINGS YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE ALONE?
I talk to my dog in weird ways. Sometimes my voice is high-pitched; sometimes I growl at him and call him silly nicknames like he’s a baby. Like I said, it’s weird.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE AND WHY?
My favorite quote is: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”, from the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. William was only in his twenties in 1875 when he wrote the poem. He was in the hospital with severe health problems, yet he showed tremendous courage in his poems.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
I have to say Ernest Hemingway, only because the first adult book I ever read was “The Old Man and the Sea.” I was quite young and the book affected me in an emotional way. I also have to say that in the past few years I’ve fallen in love with Anton Chekhov, the famous 19th century author. My husband doesn’t seem too concerned.
WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?
There are technical aspects and there are emotional elements. The most important element for me is the reactions of my characters. I try to make sure they act in an honest manner, true to their personalities and emotions.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ICE CREAM FLAVOUR?
Chocolate. Or maybe butterscotch swirl. Or maybe orange sherbet.
WHICH MYTHOLOGICAL CREATURE DO YOU LIKE BEST?
Easy. Pegasus. I’ve been a horse lover forever. Going horseback riding as a pre-teen and teenager was my favorite activity. I thought for sure I’d own my own horse one day. Didn’t happen.
HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR PLOT AND CHARACTERS?
The characters and their situations come to me quickly. The story usually involves some aspect of my own life experiences. The plot comes after I mull around different scenarios.
DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING SPACE
I have a writing room on the second floor of my home. It’s a small room, but perfect to write in. The uncanny thing is that my family and I moved into this house twenty years ago, when I was still stuffing down my feelings of being a writer. But this particular room was already decorated with wallpaper consisting of rows upon rows of realistic looking books along one wall. It was like the universe was trying to tell me to finally “get in here and get writing!”
WHAT ARE THINGS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
My two sons, my husband, my dogs, food and water.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TELEVISION SHOW?
I prefer to read, but I’d have to say my favorite shows are streamed. I don’t like waiting for commercials to finish.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR BEST IDEAS?
Sometimes ideas come to me when I’m in bed trying to get to sleep. Others I’ve held in my brain for a long time, especially things that bothered me when I was growing up.
IF WE WERE TO COME TO YOUR HOUSE FOR A MEAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I should say pasta because I’m half Italian, but it would probably be something my husband barbecued, with different salads made by me. We would sit in my backyard and talk. I love to hear about others’ lives. Everyone has a story.
WHAT WOULD WE FIND UNDER YOUR BED?
Dust and dog fur, probably. I’m afraid to look.
WHAT WAS THE SCARIEST MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE?
When I was fourteen, I was almost snatched off the street by a couple of guys. They stopped at the curb, jumped out of their car, and tried to grab me. My girlfriend was too frightened to do anything, so I plunged my body to the sidewalk, kicking and screaming. I guess they decided I was too difficult to deal with because they got back in their car and took off.
WHAT GROUP DID YOU HANG OUT WITH IN HIGH SCHOOL?
Mostly I hung out with my “gang” of six guys and six girls. We reconnected recently after decades apart.
WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT THESE DAYS?
I’m passionate about my family. I’m passionate about what’s going on in the world. I’m passionate about my writing. I’m passionate about each person who picks up my book and reads it.
IF YOU HAD TO DO YOUR JOURNEY TO GETTING PUBLISHED AGAIN, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?
I would try to not feel so heartbroken at each rejection.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE PARANORMAL ABILITY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
To travel back in time. I’d love to see my dad again, and again, and again.
WHAT IS ONE THING YOUR READERS WOULD BE MOST SURPRISED TO LEARN ABOUT YOU?
My age. I started writing after my boys were grown, so I’m older than many young adult authors. But the good thing is, a vital part of me never moved on from my teenage years. I’ve always been aware of this.
WHEN WRITING DESCRIPTIONS OF YOUR HEROINE, WHAT FEATURE DO YOU START WITH?
I start with his or her attitude. How badass or passive are they? How confident or vulnerable? How persuasive or gullible? How serious or funny? How damaged?
ARE YOU A PLOTTER OR A PANSTER?
Hmmm. Both at times. I start with the characters and some sort of plot then let the characters evolve. Sometimes they decide to change an aspect of the plot or take the story in a different direction although my general vision remains.
IF YOU COULD APOLIGIZE TO SOMEONE IN YOUR PAST, WHO WOULD IT BE?
One of my best friends when I was a teenager. I hitchhiked with her across Canada. Eventually, I totally chose my boyfriend’s wishes and hopes over hers. It was an awful thing to do.
IF YOU COULD KEEP A PARANORMAL CREATURE AS A PET, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
A creature small enough to fit into my pocket. I’d take it everywhere with me, as long as it didn’t bite.
HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR WRITING DIFFERENT FROM ALL THE OTHERS THAT WRITE IN THIS PARTICULAR GENRE?
I think because I’m older than a lot of YA authors, my writing naturally comes out in a unique way. I’ve had different experiences in different time spans.
ARE THE EXPERIENCES IN THIS BOOK BASED ON SOMEONE YOU KNOW, OR EVENTS IN YOUR OWN LIFE?
I’m not the kind of author who can make up entire worlds and inhabitants like a fantasy writer. In everything I write, my experiences in my own life are interwoven somewhere in the story.
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