Rebecca McKinsey's Blog

January 14, 2011

1. What inspired you to become an author?

I've been around books and stories for as long as I can remember, so I suppose it was something that became a part of me as I grew older and I never really questioned the presence of it. I've been told that, when I was just a few years old, I would take books to bed and make up stories for the pictures. Creativity is something I can't live without, and there came a point when I realized I could write the types of stories I wanted to read, instead of going out to find pre-existing ones.

2. How did you publish your book? (I would love to have details on this one :) )

Self-publishing seems to have a bad reputation, and I don't know why. I published my book through a site called, which is essentially a detailed guide on rules, regulations and format. I polished my novel on my own(with the help of great editors) and submitted the manuscript for consideration. It's just like a "regular" publishing house, but I keep all the rights to my story.

3. Why did you choose to write that particular story?

I distinctly remember thinking "Hey, I'd like to write a story," several years ago. From there, I thought of telling a story about various myths and legends of the world, since I was fully aware, at that time, that I liked the nature of stories, themselves. It expanded from there, as I realized there was much more I wanted to write about. So, eventually, I decided to write a story about my love of stories.

4. Did you ever have to rewrite large sections of your book?

I rewrote the entire thing a few times, especially as I learned more about my own writing style. The beginning was originally much longer and, dare I say it, long-winded. Emphasis on certain things shifted, which called for sections being tightened to get to certain chapters faster. The first draft was a very different story, which was renovated as I realized more of what I wanted to say and show, in terms of the actual images.

5. What crowd of people do you think will read your book?

I think it appeals mostly to the kids who already know they love reading fantasy series. Like I said before, I write what I like to read, and I was definitely one of those "young adult fantasy" readers who loves the treasure hunt. I don't write specifically for one group, but it seems that the "young adult" crowd is the group most interested. Though, I've had some adults tell me they can't wait to read it. Good stories, which I believe mine are, can appeal to anyone.

6. Did you ever get stuck while writing your book? If so how did you get unstuck?

The best advice for "writer's block" is to just keep writing. Even if it's just notes. There were places in the story where I was definitely stuck and frustrated, but I focused on a scene I wanted to write, and pushed through until I was there. The first draft is nothing to be ashamed of. You can always edit things later, but they key is to keep writing.

7. How long did it take you to write your book?

From the beginning, I had the entire plot in mind, which is all six books. It's a little hard to tell how long the first book took to write, but it seems that the first draft took around a year. This was many years ago, when I was still handwriting and practicing writing, itself, so it probably wouldn't have taken so long if I'd done it more recently. After that, it took about a year and a half for my own editing, professional editing, researching publishing and putting together a cover.

8. What is the most important thing about your book?

I'd have to say the fact that it's clean, yet still exciting. It seems that, these days, there's always something in a book that makes me think twice when referring it to someone, even if I know they wouldn't think the same things about it as I would. Referral is saying that you agree with something. I try to keep everything I write completely void of those types of snags.

9. Did you ever worry while writing you book that if you showed this to the world, they wouldn’t think it’s worth the time to read?

I'm sure I did at one point, but I can't think of a specific time. I was mostly concerned with finishing it. It was all I wanted to do in the beginning, to be able to say "I finished it." I used to lend out my writing journals for people to read(if they could read my handwriting at all) and the general feedback was positive. When I first seriously thought about what people in the public would think of it, I don't remember being overly concerned about being rejected. I knew it was a good story, and that there would always be people who didn't like it. My only thoughts were about promoting it and finding people who did. After all, I was a kid writing for other kids, writing what I loved to read.

10. How long did it take after publishing your book for you to receive some feedback about people buying and reading your book?

As for buying, it was almost immediately. People I know personally have waited for it, and have bought several copies. As for other feedback, it's mostly come from other venues such as my internet and local presence. I seem to give a writerly impression, which interests people in my work. The young adults who've bought the book have told me that they were originally interested in buying it mainly because of the way I write in other things. I have yet to receive any feedback on the story, itself.

11. What was the greatest challenge in becoming an author?

Aside from the main work of finishing, editing and formatting, it was(and is) biases and prejudices. I published my first book when I was nineteen, which is unusual, and seems to catch people off guard. There is discouragement to match every support and, at times, it's difficult to sort things out to draw the appropriate energy to continue. It's a common thing that people want to do, but never follow through, which makes people skeptical. It's like saying "I want to be a rock star" or "I'm going to the Olympics." It's possible, yes, but there will always be people who laugh at you, especially when you're young.

12. Is there anything else you think I need to know as a potential future author?

If it's what you truly want to do, stick to it, no matter what clever ways people try to tell you it's worthless. If it's something that you're interested in, run with it and explore it for yourself. Also, I've heard people worry about "originality" and writing that one "big" story. Stories aren't about being completely new and original, but how they are told. Two people never tell Cinderella the exact same way, if they put the extra energy of themselves into it. There will always be repeats and crossovers in the realm of storytelling, but it will be something new if the storyteller loves what they do enough to put themselves into their work.
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Published on January 14, 2011 11:04 • 412 views • Tags: anterria, aspiring, interview, rebecca-mckinsey, self-publishing

January 13, 2011

...there was a teenage girl amidst the countless crowds of aspiring teenage writers. Books were what she had grown up with, were her greatest childhood friends, and stories were woven through the very fabric of her existence. Fairy tales colored her daydreams, flowering words and phrases filled the negative spaces of the night.

Through the next several years she had many adventures. Though, at the time, it was difficult to see them as anything more than the annoyances of life. She eventually evened out, more or less, and realized she had a calling. Storytelling.

After this realization, the learning began, and she filled her head with grammar, punctuation, novel forms and publishing regulations. Once her first, big story started taking shape, the sea of regulations and red banners started closing in. The only thing that saved her was the discovery of a small, solid rowboat with "Self Publishing" emblazoned on the side.

Happy in her new vessel, she braved the ocean of paperwork, fees and prejudices -- until a sudden, violent downpour. Upon announcing her intention to find a literary rock of her own, without the aid of a publishing house, she was promptly informed by a peer that she would inevitably "live in a cardboard box."

Wisely refraining from further comment, she stepped back in her boat and pushed off the beach. Through further years, she was nearly off the radar of most, keeping her excursions out of the spotlight. Finally, after what seemed like long, idling years to the onlooker, there was a campfire spotted on an uncharted island.

Come visit me, if you like.
I'll be in Anterria if you need me.
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Published on January 13, 2011 20:07 • 205 views • Tags: fantasy, once-upon-a-time, self-publishing, the-storytellers