Type Cast Interview 5: 25-Year-Old Ania Whiteley | Scott Gilmore Author
A Series of Creative Writing Blogs To Share Story Ideas And Creative Writing Inspiration From Young Author Interview.
We are very almost into Halloween, and another young author/writer has kindly agreed to complete the author interview questionnaire for my creative writing blog – ‘Type Cast‘. This ‘cast’ of young, up-and-coming writers are people who follow me on social media and have captured my attention. It could be how their social media feed is composed, their writing or simply because I’m curious about how they work as an author of dystopian science fiction.
As an author, I love to improve and develop how I write. The reason I decided to focus on younger writers was because they are right at the cusp of something new, exciting and fresh. Many of the young authors are writing their first novel or work in progress and I am eager to find out exactly what makes them tick and what has inspired them to write.
In this weekly creative writing author interview blog, I would love to receive more interview content from more creative teenagers and young adults. If you are a young writer, between 16 and 25, please follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn and ask me about the Type Cast blog. I would love to hear from you.
Again, I can’t believe the response from so many young authors. Yet more talented teens and writers in their early twenties have asked for a copy of my questionnaire or have returned it. Every time I get an email with the words, ‘Type Cast Query’, I smile and get excited to see who I am going to learn about next. As I have said before, I am learning from you and you help me develop further as a writer! Thank you all so much for completing the author interview questionnaire!
My next author is right on the edge of my age limit for Type Cast at 25-years-old (or she was when I got the email, as she may have had a birthday since then). Young author Ania Whiteley is a writer who I have known for over a year on Instagram. When I joined the online writing community, Ania was one of the first people I followed and I am so glad I did. Being an incredibly active member of the Instagram writing community, she is always posting updates as well as some stunning pictures to illustrate her posts.
When I knew I was starting this new era of SG Fiction with my new website, I wanted to have Ania launch the Type Cast blog. Please head over to Ania’s Instagram profile and give her a writer lift – @londongirlwrites.
1. When did you first realise that you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t think I ever had a “realisation” that I wanted to be writer.
My mum would always read to myself and my siblings when we were young and, when we were old enough to read by ourselves, she encouraged us to read more and more.
This is how, when I was six, I wrote my first story. It was in my 32-pages notebook, diligently written in big, clumsy letters. It even had illustrations! I must say, I now moved on from illustrations, but the love for writing remained.
2. Do you plan or research your writing before you start? If so, what is your process for planning or research?
Now, it’s kind of funny, because I love planning. I have lots of journals, I am addicted to Google calendar. I plan birthday parties for my friends, but I cannot, for dear life, plan my novel before my writing.
My story develops as I write. Similar with research, it happens as I write. In practice, it means that I have a lot of drafts lying around!
3. In your most recent work, or work-in-progress, what is the main idea of the story and what inspired you to write it?
I am in the process of my debut novel ‘The Weavers’, which tells the story of a teenager, Ivy Pyne, who finds herself in the world of cruel, beautiful creatures called the Weavers. They have ability to weave their powerful magic into clothes.
What inspired ‘The Weavers’ was London Fashion Week.
I was walking around Somerset House, where the catwalks were, and there was a protest outside. There was a girl there holding this sign written in blood-red, saying “Fashion kills”. I thought what if it was an exquisite dress that you put on and you could speak every language, sign beautifully, or write bestsellers?
However, you cannot trust the creatures that made it – what if that same dress would allow the Weavers to manipulate you? What if fashion would quite literally kill us by putting on a poisoned suit, for example?
4. If you could choose one book from a famous author to publish as your own, which book would you choose and why?
Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin. Such a beautifully written novel.
5. What does your family think of your writing and how do they support you?
My parents were incredibly supportive of my writing – they still very much are.
I grew up in a small village, in a country where your worth is determined by becoming a doctor, a professor, or a lawyer. If you don’t, society will look down at you.
My parents have always put me forward for various writing competitions, always cheered me on and listened to me babbling about yet another story idea. Thanks to them I read my short story on BBC radio when I was twelve, and then went onto win the national short story competition at sixteen.
As a young writer, it was hugely important to me that my parents believed in me. They saw and allowed me to cultivate my love for writing. I honestly couldn’t be more grateful to them.
6. Do you feel there are any challenges being a young author? If so, what are they?
I think the biggest challenge that I personally struggle with is people telling me to take things easy. They say there is still a lot of time to publish my novel because I am still young.
I used to just wave my hand at my writing and say, “Well, I still have time to write it”. However, time is something we cannot control.
Why not try hard to make your dreams come true right here, right now? This new attitude allowed me to almost finish the first draft of my novel in few months, and I am very proud of it!
7. You are a young author, what one piece of advice would you give to a budding author who has not quite taken that step?
If you want to be an author, don’t wait for your dreams to find you! You are risking the chances that other young writers will not. Go and fight for your dreams – be the hero of your own story!
Ania has really hit the nail on the head with so many of the answers to the questions that I posed her. When she talks about how she cannot for the life of her plan her story before writing. This is a very relevant point to make when it comes to the creative process for many authors or writers. We all have a process that we love and works for us. If writing from the hip suits you, then do it and let your story flow organically.
When I was in my twenties, I wrote like this and it really did help release the creative handbrake. As Ania states, it can lead to lots of drafts, but the creative freedom that it allows is amazing.
In this author interview, I love how Ania has such supportive parents who encouraged her to write and enter competitions. In episode three of The Forge, I look at how young writers can be supported. One of the areas I highlight is that of competitions and, for those young writers who are confident or have amazing support at home, follow in Ania’s footsteps and enter competitions. You never know, you may be a winner just like she was at twelve or sixteen!
I have loved seeing Ania’s work in progress, The Weavers, grow in stature and I smiled when I saw her picture above with a finished first draft. I know the feeling of completing the first draft of a novel and holding it in your hands for the first time. I wouldn’t quite compare it to holding my son, Ollie, or daughter, Lucie, for the first time, but it was amazing.
It is a rare occasion where I hand over the closing statement of my creative writing blog to someone else, but I can’t put it any better than my interviewee. As a young writer, do as Ania’s closing words say, ‘ Go and fight for your dreams – be the hero of your own story!’