NOTE: Commentary is made as a private citizen and not as Regional Coordinator for Silent No More or Leader of Rachel's Hope, unless otherwise stated.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Welcome Grace Yee to "An Author Speaks"!

My name is Grace, lover of books, keeper of secrets, editor and cookie connoisseur. Being the youngest of four children has given me insight and passion for the people and activities which form the pattern of my day-to-day life. Dancing has given me a physical escape while writing allows me to put that passion into words. Being homeschooled, I've had the opportunity to step into a magical wardrobe before breakfast, go on covert missions in Wal-Mart, and chasse' to the Nutcracker. So allow me to share with you the stories and novels which color my dreams, quotes that ricochet in my mind, and characters that I hope you will love just as much as I do.

What five words describe you?

Resourceful. Happy. Strange. Fairy tales. Color. Granted, these are the things that I either am or affect me the most.

What are you working on at the minute? What is it about?

I am working on a fantasy piece right now that I'm truly excited about. It a bit of a mishmash between Cinderella, Ivanhoe, and Robin Hood. The initial goal was to tell the Cinderella story from the prince's point of view, and that's still very much the thought that's moving the story forward. But the story took a different turn very early on. The prince in the story, Sebastian, is framed for a crime he didn't commit, but is banished nonetheless. (That's where the Ivanhoe bit comes in.) He's taken in by a family of... I guess they're nomads. But then Sebastian gets wind that the person who framed him is going to strike again. To prevent the crime from happening, Sebastian and the family he's become close to must infiltrate Sebastian's old home, clear his name, and save someone's life.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?

My most recent story was Colony Zero -Series II- New Earth. I'm think it's available on Amazon now. Anyway, I think a good person for Lt. Lisa Clarke is Katheryn Winnick from The History Channel's Vikings. Karen Gillan might make a good Sarah West, since she's got the red hair. Althana would be hard for me to choose for. She has distinct Amazonian features and is described as having these dark, hypnotic eyes that you could just get lost in. I'll leave the other writers of Colony Zero to figure that one out.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it
have been and why?

Difficult, very difficult. Can I redirect that a bit? How about story concept? I would have loved to come up with ABC's Once Upon a Time, at least in book form. I would have tied things together differently, but I love the characters, especially Ruby and Captain Hook. If I could do it without getting sued, I would totally continue the series from season one in my own way.

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Probably knowing where you want the story to go but not knowing how to get there.

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

I know this has been said by a thousand other authors a thousand different times, but for my last story, outlining really, really helped me. And I hate outlining. I prefer to have the story in my head and then just fly by the seat of my pants, but in this case I had to know exactly where I was going and the significance of everything, so I just hashed out a three-page outline of everything that was going to happen and used it as a map while I was writing. A lot of the sentences I wrote in the outline actually made it into the story itself. So outlining is one way, if you want to try that kind of thing. I've also tried the "quilting method," where you write out different sequences on a bunch of pages, cut the out, and then arrange them into the order you want them. For things like college essays, I've found that just sitting down, taking a breath, and doing it at a natural speed is helpful. Don't psyche yourself out. Pay close attention to the guidelines and format because those points do matter. When I'm having a really hard time, I reward myself with 10 minutes on YouTube for every 5 minutes I spend writing consistently. Not the best method, but it's the college way. Oh, and when you feel like launching your computer at the wall, either go for a walk, bake something, or read something totally unrelated to your topic, like a blog or a book. Sometimes you need to let air out of the vents.
Where would your dream location be for writing?

Scotland, England, Ireland, and/or New Zealand. I did say I liked color.

When creating characters, are they based on people in your life?

When creating a character, I can never take a person from real life and decide that they will be the main character in my story, juts with a different name. It doesn't work like that. I can, however, look at a person and think, "I like the way they communicate or the way they think things through." Parts of people's characteristics and personality will go into a character I'm creating, but never the whole real person. I'm always afraid they either wouldn't fit into the story because they're from "my time," would make the other characters seem unrealistic, or be unrealistic themselves.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

From the few reviews I've gotten, I haven't physically responded. It would be a nice habit to respond though, just to say thank you, even if the review was bad, because that would mean someone took the time to read it and took note of what was good or bad, what they liked, didn't like, or would have changed. If someone comments on a post in my blog, I'm absolutely ecstatic. I will respond then, just because a blog feels a lot more immediate and like a conversation than a review on Amazon. I think every writer has had at least two bad reviews, even if they were only oral reviews. I remember the first time my writing group critiqued my first short story, I was devastated. In hindsight, that was stupid, but still, I was, like, fifteen. They gave me great constructive criticism which I at first took as an insult. I thought they weren't "getting" my story. But when I looked at it later and started applying some of the feedback, I realized how much I had missed in my writing that others had seen. Long story short, when you get bad feedback/bad reviews, try and see it through their eyes. If it is something that can be fixed or looked at closer -like a stereotypical character or a slight against the plot- imagine a way that particular thing could have been done better. If it's something like, "I like this but this didn't really work for me," or "The perspective shifted too often," then those I consider critiques. The best thing about critiques is that they are a buffet of opinions: take what you want, leave what you don't. I hope whenever I get a bad review, I'll respond with a little more finesse than I did the first time.

If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be?

Funny you should ask that. I was thinking about this today. If I wasn't a writer, I would probably be an editor or a professional librarian.

What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in
your writing career?

Don't scoff at social media, even if it makes you look like that one chick from that TV show about social media.
Where can we buy your books?

I know they're on and I believe some of them are available for B&N Nook. The majority of my stories are ebooks, but I will be ordering paperbacks from Helping Hands Press, so I'll be able to distribute those as well. Yay!

How can we keep up with you? Blog, Facebook, etc......
My blog is Lost in the Pages by Grace Yee but if you google "Lost in the Pages," it won't come up. It's easier just to type into the search engine. You can also find me on Pinterest under Gracie Yee, which is where I usually go for a lot of inspiration, and Twitter (@graceyee_123).


Your comments are always appreciated!