Today I’m joined by the lovely Rebecca Taylor who wrote the fabulous book Ascendant.
What inspired you to write Ascendant?
I was reading several books and watching programs on Alchemy, history, secret societies, universal powers, the power of thought and intention—and then I started seeing it everywhere, in other books by other authors (Maggie Stiefvater and Libba Bray just to name a few) and quotes and writings from famous historical figures. It felt like a fire being ignited in my brain, some great secret that certain people knew about and utilized in life. I was so excited about these concepts that I wanted to write a story about a girl discovering them for herself.
Did you have the characters planned out previously or did they unfold as you were writing?
Unfolded as I was writing—absolutely. I do some planning, mostly plot types of things, but the characters happen more organically as I’m writing.
If Ascendant was to be made into a movie who would you like to play Charlotte?
Someone unknown: dark haired, highly intelligent and quick, but slightly insecure. She has to grow into the confident young woman she will surely become.
Does your job as a school psychologist influence your writing in any way?
I think it helps a great deal in terms of knowing when the actions of a character don’t ring true. For me, character is king and should drive the plot. I hate when I read something and a character behaves a certain way or has a particular reaction (that is completely not something that character would do) and the only purpose is to serve the plot. Our characters should change and grow, but their behaviors and emotions should make sense in terms of whom they are and where they are heading.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
The wanting the writing career so bad you sometimes make yourself sick or knock yourself down an emotional flight of stairs. The bipolar swings between “I’m doing it!” and “I’m never going to do it.” Maintaining the constant and steady stream of belief in yourself that is absolutely essential—that is the number one hardest thing. Other than that, the pace at which the publishing industry moves is horrifyingly slow—being on submission is like staring at yourself in the mirror and watching your hair grow—for six months. Also, bookstores have become a psychologically interesting place for me. I have always been a reader first and foremost and so, I have always loved bookstores. I’ve even worked in a few over the years. However, when I started writing, bookstores became an emotional crapshoot for me. Sometimes, I still love to walk in and see all those books. I can’t wait to roam the shelves at my leisure and pick out what’s next for me. Other times, I walk in and I’m horrified and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of other very talented writers in the world and I wonder why on Earth do I ever even attempt to sit down and peck out some dreck.
Now it’s time for some quick-fire questions!
Favourite author?: Too hard. Franny Billingsley, Kate Morton, Kate DiCamillo, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Felix J Palma, Jonathan Franzen, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, J.K. Rowling, John Green, Neil Gaiman, Meg Wolitzer, so, so, so many for so many different reasons.
Favourite place to write?: Where no one will bother me
Favourite fictional character?: Oh God, I can’t believe I’m going to admit this but I love Sponge Bob. Most adults don’t give him a chance but I laugh just thinking of him.
A fictional character that you love to hate?: Hannibal Lecter. Honestly he is so complex—like a Mr. Darcy that may or may not eat you. (Actually, I kind of just described Edward as well—maybe I’m on to something here.)
Favourite book genre?: I don’t have one. I read just about everything from the classics to my doctor’s office pamphlets. The only genre I don’t read much of anymore is straight up romance and that is only because I read SO MUCH of it in high school—but it’s not like I don’t ever or wouldn’t, especially if someone I knew recommend a really good one to me. My favorite books make me feel guilty because they are keeping me from doing everything else that I should be doing. Case in point: I spent the entire day on Tuesday reading the new Neil Gaiman book when I should have been writing content for my new website (and this interview.) I felt horrible the whole time—but I could not stop myself.
Thank you so much Rebecca for taking the time to answer my questions! Your answers were fascinating and made me laugh out loud at points! (Sponge Bob rocks!)