One day, when my family and I went into Lifeway, Ginger Garrett – a Christian author – was there signing books. I was really excited and pleased with this unsuspected occurrence. After purchasing my own copy and having her sign it, she was gracious enough to spend a few minutes with me answering some questions I had as an aspiring author.
- Have you always wanted to be an author?
Not at all. I loved the theatre and majored in theatre arts in college. However, I realized I hated acting out other people’s stories and would much rather write my own.
2. What is the best advice you have been given that has helped you in your writing?
Read. Dissect a book. Using post-it notes, mark how chapters begin…with a new scene or continuing the previous one? A new character introduced? How does each chapter end? On a down note or a cliffhanger? Soon, you begin to see patterns that authors have. Most thriller writers, for example, have a VERY common pattern. Dissect a few thrillers and see if you can figure it out! And most young adult books launch the first chapter in the same way. It’s an important day, our hero is at a disadvantage…and see if you can find the rest of the common traits.
3. How has your writing grown and changed since your first book?
I’ve learned that writing requires years of learning the craft. Talent is given; excellence is earned. Someday I want to get there.
4. Do you find writing conferences are helpful and if so which ones do you recommend?
I attend every Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference that I can, at least two a year. I love them. I love being with my tribe, and learning from other pros.
5. What can you tell us about “The Last Monster”?
“You are a light in a dark world, Sofia. But do not trust the darkness. Monsters are not the only things that can find you.”
Thirteen-year-old Sofia is not only trying to survive middle-school cliques and first crushes, she’s in charge of protecting grotesquely beautiful, lonely monsters that have roamed the Earth for centuries. These monsters are magical, but they are not loved, they are feared. So greatly in fact, that one woman wants them forgotten. Drawn into a violent and unpredictable mystery, Sofia learns that loving outsiders has a cost.
THE LAST MONSTER is about love, fear, and the thrill of discovering who we were born to be. It’s about making peace with our insecurities and defending those who must hide what they really are.
- Who is the main character and how much of yourself did you write into he/she?
Sofia lost a leg to cancer and has given up her first love, running. I love Sofia and understand the grief of losing the ability to run. I didn’t struggle with cancer, but several friends have, and my beloved dog, a Great Pyrenees, had bone cancer in his leg as well that ended his life. Cancer is evil. I hope we stop fighting each other and start fighting cancer.
- Was there any difference in your approach to writing more of a fantasy/mythological fictional story than biblical fiction?
I could really let loose with THE LAST MONSTER. Biblical fiction is really quite restricting; I was never free to explore or express doubts or questions, or let my characters be fully human. Other writers however write biblical fiction beautifully and they love it. I didn’t so I left the genre. Plus, I’ve always loved old-fashioned monster tales, like the old black and white movie monster stories. When I was a kid, I pretended to host my tea parties at midnight so Dracula and the Wolfman could come. I felt sorry for them and wanted to be friends with them.
- For aspiring authors, what advice would you give?
Read. Dissect. Ignore your inner critic.
I really appreciate Ginger Garrett being willing and taking the time to answer my questions. Thank you so much!
I hope all of y’all will go and check out several of the wonderful books she’s written! Her latest one – The Last Monster – will be coming out this April. I encourage all of y’all to pick up a copy when it’s released, I know I will.
~ Southern Dreamer