I’ve always loved reading and writing, but the first time I seriously thought about wanting to be an author was in junior high after reading a fantasy series called The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. The world-building of those books is INSANE. Every book had at least one appendix with tons of background information, like how the rune magic worked, or the complicated dwarven technology, or cultural things like music and language. Those books completely captivated me. More current inspiration comes from Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files series, which also has amazing world-building, as well as fantastic character arcs.
But I didn’t really become an author until I went to my first writing conference. Spending money to hang out with other writers made it real for me, and I made a ton of friends who inspired me to keep writing and learning how to improve.
I met the organizer at a conference. She’d quickly become a friend, and a bunch of us were going out to lunch when she said she had an idea for an anthology. Everything blossomed from there.
My story is about a teen girl who discovers her idyllic community is not as perfect as it seems, and her best friend is next in line for a terrible fate.
When we decided to write dystopian, I knew I wanted to explore freedom versus security as my main theme instead of the traditional apocalyptic, end-of-the-world dystopian story. Don’t get me wrong–I love post-apoc as much as any dystopian fan, but I was really intrigued by the idea of a welfare system taken to the extreme. I also wanted to include diversity. So in “The Weeding,” the government provides everything for its citizens: homes, jobs, education, food, etc. Money is a thing of the past because everyone contributes to keep the system running smoothly, so everyone is taken care of. The problem happens when some people take more resources than others because of old age or disability–such as the main character’s best friend, who has debilitating juvenile arthritis. The leaders of the community come up with the Weeding to balance the scales, and it’s not pretty.
I’m also a bit of a prepper–someone who stocks up skills and supplies in case of emergency or disaster. One of the biggest components of prepping is food storage. Since prepping and dystopian go hand-in-hand, food storage also makes an appearance in my story. 😉
For me, it feels like the world is spinning faster and faster, with more and more terrible things happening out there every day. The rising popularity of the dystopian genre seems to match the general atmosphere of the world. Plus, reading about dystopian situations and how the characters deal with them prepares us mentally if anything like that ever really happened. And there’s something comforting about coming back to real life after reading a dystopian story; it makes you grateful for what you have and pushes you to make the world a better place.
Wow what a hard question! Most of the stories I love are not the kind of worlds I’d want to live in, no matter how cool they are. If I had to pick one book world to be real, though, it would be the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. Wizards, vampires, fae, demons, angels, several mythologies–that series has it all.
I’m planning to publish my first novel this summer, a young adult paranormal with werewolves and dystopian elements. I also have a secret project slated for November, an urban fantasy with a kickass heroine. I can’t wait to share these stories with everyone!
I’m definitely a plotter. It boggles my mind how my pantser friends can just start writing without knowing where the story is going. That’s like hopping in your car for a road trip without packing your toiletries and picking a destination!
I’d like to say I read the classics and do cool stuff like travel the world, or even normal stuff like gardening. But mostly I edit other authors’ stories, watch TV, and play with my cat.
Join a community. Find your tribe. Making a lot of author friends (and designer/formatter/editor friends, too) gives you motivation when it gets hard, inspiration when your muse is silent, and lots of good advice and promotion opportunities when you’re ready to publish. I didn’t get serious about achieving my dream until I went to writing conventions and joined tons of author-related Facebook groups.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christina Walker has been scribbling stories since she first learned about the alphabet (although the first stories she wrote didn’t put the letters in the right order). Her love affair with books led to a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, so her stories make a lot more sense now. She is also a librarian and a freelance editor for indie authors, helping them plan and write better stories. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and one crazy cat.