Huge thanks to Dani Pasquini for her awesome interview! If you want a writer who'll take you through heartbreak, joy, and everything in between look no further. Check out her work!
When you first started writing The Gold Feather, did you initially know you wanted to write a series or did it emerge as you went?
Oh my goodness, it completely emerged as I went along. I had this simple little story in my mind when I started writing but then it just grew. Each character took shape in my mind so that they were living and breathing inside of me. I had to keep the story going for them. Even though the stories are told through the eyes of Lily, each character plays a distinct role in her rebirth.
Reviewers praise your work for how it "starts and ends with heartbreak, but goes through every other emotion on the spectrum" and "melds love, friendship and tragedy." To you, what's an important thing about writing emotionally-charged stories?
When I write emotionally charged scenes, I am drawing from my own feelings. Memories of heartache and joy, sadness and love. I have to draw from those experiences to give my words texture and meaning. People don’t want to read a flat story. They want to feel that love that the character is feeling. They want to feel their sadness and their hopes. It is through emotions that we connect. So, at the end of the day, I’m just trying to connect my emotions to yours. But then it gets tricky because let’s say you as the reader have never experienced heartbreak, then the connection has to occur on a different level and with a different emotion. So, incorporating as many human conditions into my work will strike a chord at least once. Well, hopefully.
Readers are also saying they "felt like [they] were a part of the story" and "feel at home in the pages." What helps you put readers "there?"
This is certainly not something that I do intentionally. I am writing the stories as if I were walking in the characters shoes. I am going through their motions and responding in a way that I would respond if I were them. I believe that by pulling the readers to interpret my words through my eyes helps pull them into the characters as I have been.
On your Goodreads page you say that your stories are inspired by some of your own experiences. Do you have a process for translating your experience into your work? Do you have any advice for those wanting to do the same?
When I was a child, I would have vivid dreams of flying. Floating off of my mattress, hovering in the kitchen and then out the door. Up into the sky. Feeling the wind and the cold on my little body. Those feelings have stayed with me to this day and I drew from those memories to write the first chapter of The Gold Feather. The descriptions and the feelings that the character feels are all drawn from those memories.
I think that we all do our best work when we pull from experiences that we have had, filtering emotions and sensations through our own minds eye. So, when one of my characters finds themselves in an emotionally charged moment, I dig into my vault of difficult experiences and pour those feelings onto the page. I am no expert in this, but what has helped me in my writing is to use what I know and what I have felt in my own skin to give my characters those same feelings. So, my advice would be to write what you know. You need to filter everything through your own past experiences to turn it into something that has texture.
Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I'm picking up on messages of rebirth and breaking free in your work. When you write, do you have a theme in mind as you begin or does it emerge as you go?
You are absolutely correct in interpreting the theme. It is heavy on breaking free and rebirth. When it comes to the theme I think that it’s been a little bit of both. The spark for the theme was certainly there when I started but then it grew as the story progressed. It’s almost as if the characters are telling me the story and I’m just responsible for documenting it.
On your site's Inspiration page and on your Instagram, you've got a lot of motivational quotes that make me feel like I could be a badass and take on the world. Would you like to share with readers any of your absolute favorites?
I really don’t have a favorite quote because they’re all my favorite quotes. All I am trying to do is convey acceptance, support and encouragement. Believe in yourself, support others even when they are different or have different beliefs than you do and live every day in a way that leads you to feel something new. Many of the quotes that I post have done just that for me.
Is there anything you'd like readers to know?
I love to laugh. Laughter has pulled me out of some very dark days. Inappropriate laughter and cursing are some of my favorite things. Without those two things I would be in a heap of shit.
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Photo Credits: Dani Pasquini