Thank you for taking the time out of your crazy, busy schedule to do this interview for Peas and Carrots & Wayward Pushers. You have tons of fans and I am sure there is so much more they want to get to know about you and Don't Take The Girl. You are such a fantastic person and so supportive to your friends, readers and fellow writers. You are an inspiration in the fandom.
Interview with SparklingWand, author of Don't Take The Girl
How long had you been reading Fan Fiction before you decided to dip your toes in the water and how scary was it?
SW: Just a few months actually. Maybe a little longer. I was introduced to the world of fan fiction by the same friend who encouraged me to write. The first fic she suggested I read was Master of the Universe, and my love for fan fiction grew from there.
I got my first introduction to writing in the fandom when DemiCNeal asked me to be her American linguist for her fic Secret Sender Rendezvous. From there I started co-writing Secret Society with marcie21. I was terrified when I decided to go out on a limb and write my own fan fiction, but it worked out for me and I look back and find I’m grateful for all the wonderful people who had a hand in pushing me in that direction.
You recently announced that you will publishing your first book. At what point in the fan fic process did you start writing Guardian and how was it balancing two stories at once?
SW: Amazingly, Guardian came before fan fiction. I used to laugh at Stephenie Meyer talking about Edward came to her in a dream but after my experience I can’t do that any longer. Toby (my main male character) came to me in the shower. I could see his face so vividly in my head and there is a scene in the book that was playing in my head that day that basically started me writing in the first place.
Balancing the two stories was actually pretty easy for me. Toby and my Edward are very much two different people. They both live deep inside me and when they spoke that was when I wrote them.
Where are you in the process of writing Guardian? And what is it like writing under deadlines?
SW: Well, while writing DTtG, I pretty much set a deadline for myself to post every Thursday. So, when it comes to working with deadlines for publishing, I’ve not had any issues. I have always thrived on deadlines and structure. It’s part of my anal nature.
I know you get up to write every morning at 3 am? Why that time as opposed to staying up late? Is this when your mojo is totally working?
SW: I do get up every morning at 3am. The main reason for that is I like to spend my nights with my husband. We learned early on in marriage that night times belong to us. Whether it is to simply watching a movie, or enjoying writing our own lemons, that time belongs to us.
Besides, at 3am, my house is extremely quiet. No one around to bother me. I can turn on my iPod, and let one of my boys (Toby or Edward) speak to me. Once they get to talking, they control my every move.
(the next two questions were submitted by readers of yours)
There has been rumor that you are considering writing a sequel to DTtG. If so, will it be another Edward/Bella story or will it be about one of the other characters.
SW: Actually, that is very true. When I finished Don’t Take the Girl, I had no intention of doing a sequel, but I was joking around one night with my beta, VronniePantz, and before I knew it I was actually plotting a sequel.
This will be a Carlie and J.J. story. We will still get to see a lot of Edward and Bella, but they will be more of our Charlie and Renee type characters this time. I had originally titled it Please Remember Me, but once I finished the outline, I renamed it to Stealing Cinderella.
At the end or near the end of each chapter, Bella prays until the final chapter when Edward does. What was your inspiration for Bella’s faith and why didn’t Edward share in that faith until the end?
SW: I was raised to believe in the power of prayer. I still believe in that to this day. It was actually the end of the song that led me to have Bella pray in each chapter. The final verse of the song, Johnny aka Edward, fell to his knees and there he prayed. Well, I wanted Bella to be the strength in their relationship, the caregiver. We always see Bella as so dependent on Edward and I for one wanted to see her have her faith in something beyond him.
Sure, true love is important but independence and belief are also important. In the end, it was her faith that led Edward to fully believe in the power of prayer, causing him to beg God for his wife, and thus allowing them to build their family on a love stronger than just raw human emotion.
Are you currently working on any fan fic?
SW: I’m currently working on writing outtake from DTtG and then a O/S or two. I’ve completed the outline for Stealing Cinderella but I haven’t started writing it yet.
After you become a real-life author will you continue to write fan fic and will you go into “hiding” of sorts and write under a pseudonym or continue as the fabulous Sparkling Wand?
SW: I will absolutely write fan fiction still and I will never separate myself from SparklingWand. I truly believe that if I had never written my fan fiction, I would never be in the position I am today. I owe a lot to fan fiction and to my online name. I promise to never stray.
What inspired you to take the huge leap to put your writing out there for the real world to read?
SW: My husband actually. He has always been supportive of my writing. While he despises Twilight and the whole fan fiction world, when it comes to my book and my personally created characters, he stands behind me 100%. He tolerates the fan fiction world, basically because he knows it helps me develop myself as a author, but when it comes to Guardian, he has pushed me every step of the way.
What recommendations do you have for other writers to follow their dreams and move from fan fic into the world of real fic?
SW: Follow your heart. We all have a story buried deep inside us. That’s what usually attracts us to writing fan fiction in the first place. Allow yourself to see that story and run with it. You never know where it might lead you.
How supportive is your family when it comes to your writing?
SW: As I stated above, my husband is very supportive. Our extended family as well, parents, aunts, uncles, etc. They all tease saying they want first edition autographed copies.
What fan fiction writers and/or real life writers have inspired you and encouraged you and how?
SW: J.K. Rowling has been a major inspiration in my life. She didn’t allow people to bring her down while she wrote Harry Potter. She believed in the young boy that lived so much that she kept plugging away until someone was willing to take a chance on him as well. She is one of the reasons that generations, young and old, have found reading to be fun again. I hope I have even a third of her success in my life.
For Don’t Take the Girl, your Edward is just the sweetest, most perfect, most romantic Edward ever. It was inspired by Tim McGraw’s song. I was wondering how you came to the conclusion to tie the two together?
SW: It’s really kind of funny how that happened. I wasn’t looking to write a fic at the time. I was co-writing Secret Society with marcie21 and betaing for DemiCNeal, the thought never occurred to me to write my own fic. Then one day, I was driving my son home from school and Tim McGraw’s song ‘Don’t Take the Girl’ came on the radio. While listening to the lyrics, I had a flash of an eight year old Edward, missing teeth and smiling, walking through the front gate with a fishing pool. That was all it took for me. I came home and emailed my friend who would become my beta the story idea and she loved it. The rest is history.
I know when you were writing Don’t Take The Girl there were times you totally worried about disappointing your readers and went to hide in the ‘broom closet’ until reviews came back. How important is it to you to please your readers as opposed to pleasing yourself? And did you find that you worried about nothing?
SW: Pleasing my readers was always important but I must admit my biggest reason for that was the fact that I really didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself. Actually, I still struggle with that pitfall. There were times that I had a few readers who didn’t agree with how the story went but I respected their views and comments for that. I had a few people, like so many of us authors have had to face, that were just cruel and that didn’t help with my already lack of self-esteem. I was lucky though, I had a great group of friends and followers that helped keep me on track and prevented me from letting those reviews get me down.
Overall, for the most part, my worries weren’t warranted, but in my head they sure were.
Now that DTtG is complete, is there anything you would go back and change?
SW: I’ve actually thought about that several times, but I can honestly say no, I wouldn’t change a thing.
You do Beta work as well and are very good at matching up writers and betas and knowing who would work well with each other? How do you have such a knack for this?
SW: I don’t know that I would call it a knack, I just get a feeling. It’s has a lot to do with the personality of the author and the beta. A author has to be able to trust their beta(s) completely, and so when I have someone ask me to help them find that person to help them, I basically look at who they are, what their story is about and go from there.
For Fun• Peas or Carrots? Neither.
• Favorite sport to watch? Hockey
• Coffee or Tea? Both
• Favorite genre of writing? Murder, Romance, Biography? Romance and supernatural
• Sports car or SUV? SUV
• Longhorns or Aggies? Neither. I’m not an American football fan.
• Guilty Pleasure? Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha
• Something about you that would surprise your readers? While I know my closest friends know this, most people don’t know that I am the mother to an autistic child. My son, who is now seven, was diagnosed as Asperger’s when he was two years old. The road has been rough but very rewarding. I have seen things in him that while I already believed in God, make me believe even more. The leaps and bounds he makes in his development is a sight to behold, and I thank God everyday for giving me such a precious miracle.
• Favorite Movie? Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban
• Do you have a bucket list and if so, what is the next thing you want to check off your list?
I don’t have a bucket list actually. I never really even considered writing one. However, if my book becomes successful, then I would say the next thing I would want to do in life is travel. Pack up my family and just see the world. I’ve always loved history, which people will find out when they read my book, and I would like to start in England and work my way from there.
Crazy facts about SparklingWand:
• I married my high school sweetheart and will celebrate thirteen years of marriage this upcoming March.
• I have never lived outside of Texas
• My parents were in a country gospel band while I was growing up and thus the start of my love for music
• I wrote my first short story when I was twelve years old
• I wanted to be a missionary when I grew up
• I have never traveled outside the states, not even to Mexico or Canada
• I won first prize in several competitions while in school. One for soloist (vocals), one for speech (in an business environment) and another for drama (surprise, at one point in my life I thought acting would be a good career choice)
• I’m entirely obsessed with Harry Potter and Twilight and proud of it.
• Writing lemons came pretty natural to me. I just used real life experience. Usually, if it was something my husband I had recently tried, Bella and Edward were going to try it too.
Thank you so much for interviewing me. I’ve had a load of fun answering these questions, and hope your readers have fun reading the responses.
Thank you for giving Peas & Carrots and Wayward Pushers fans a chance to get to know you a little better and we are all rooting for your success with The Guardian.