Today I’m welcoming A.Wrighton to my blog. She has been imagining flights of wild fancy since before she could figure out how to tie her shoes. Her love of writing, creating, and imagination has led her through a life full of flights of fancy and amazing adventures. Following her creativity’s calling, she earned honours in a BA in English as well as honors in a MFA in Creative Writing.

A. Wrighton writes sci-fi/fantasy (her passion), historical fiction, character-driven fiction, romance, and suspense. She also writes feature screenplays, TV spec scripts, and the occasional short film. Residing somewhere in the beautiful Ventura County, she still claims and loves her native city of Los Angeles. She lives with her amazing family and two dogs and often finds herself writing in little neighborhood joints – a cup of coffee or tea at her side.

Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us what genre you consider your book(s)?

My main genre is fantasy/sci-fi if you’re looking at the overall spectrum of all of my books. If we’re just talking the Dragonics & Runics Series – it’s a bit more complicated. I’ve never been one to colour inside the lines and that shows in my writing. Most of my work is actually a hodgepodge of genres – whatever it takes to best tell my story – so pinning down just one specific genre is hard. Yes, that can work against me but I have always put story ahead of all else. It’s why I write. The Dragonics & Runics Series novels are a mix of political fantasy, steampunk, high fantasy, adventure, and romance (who doesn’t love a good romantic intrigue, eh?)

Honestly, I think some of the genre lines are a bit artificial. Growing up, I always considered a good fantasy would naturally include adventure and romance. In fact, fantasy, to me, was always the playground where you got to play with elements of other genres.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
           
Jane Austen & Ernest Hemingway are tied. Jane has taught me to really get behind characters, make them as real as possible and to be brutally honest with my reader when I portray the characters in all facets, especially emotional ones. Hemingway taught me to put up or shut up and that the art of word-smithing – picking the right words concisely – is an amazing skill to have. I’m still learning, but I love when people can get a feel for Austen and Hemingway in my work. It definitely makes me smile and go – good, it’s working then.

My bad, I’ve not read either, which I know tends to be frowned on. Oops.

What are your current projects?
           
I have the rest of the novels in the Dragonics & Runics Series in various levels of completion as well as a Sci-Fi novel that is in development. I’m toying with turning another concept into a graphic novel with a few illustrator friends and I am a part of the creative team and lead writer on a soon-to-be-released web series called Things Left Unsaid. I also have a feature film screenplay that I am going to start putting out there soon.

Heavens, you’re one busy bee! Do you write an outline before every book or project you write?
           
In one fashion or another, yes. I write in segments – usually out of order – in clips or scenes. To help organize and streamline the plot, I have a general outline that I adhere to for ordering and flow. Is it rigid? Absolutely not. Does it look the same from before I started writing to when I’m in editing mode? Not even close. But I do outline in a combination of timelines and old-fashioned “OG” fluorescent note cards.

I don’t believe an outline should resemble the finished product, either. A good writer is flexible enough to follow new ideas as they arise, but I also find an outline helpful for continuity and ordering.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
           
Part II of the Dragonics & Runics Series (the title will be announced on my Facebook in April) picks up where Defiance: Dragonics & Runics Part I left off – you’re back with the Resistance struggling to put together the pieces of the Prophecy before the Council destroys you and everything you’ve worked towards. You’re going to see a lot of the same characters as in Defiance but get introduced to a few more – and learn quite a bit more about some characters who, in Defiance, might not have caught your full attention. Lots of surprises and, unfortunately, a bit more in-depth look into the struggle between the Rogue Dragonics and the Council. Bottom line – nothing is for certain – things and people can and will change, so you best be careful!

What was your favourite chapter (or part) to write and why?
           
Anything with the Dragons. I love, love, love, love dragons. I always have. Even back when I was an awkward little thing taking painting classes in 6thgrade, I painted dragons. My love of those mythical beasts shows in every Dragon I write – they are all unique with as different personalities as their human counterparts. Later in the series, I have even more fun with the Dragons… at the expense of the humans.

Ooh, a woman after my own heart. Remind me to tell you about my dragon coffee table one day, the centrepiece of my collection!

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?

Toughest criticism was probably that I focus too much on developing my characters that it gets lost on the reader. It’s not necessarily a bad criticism but it helped bring into focus that I need to always remember to bring balance to character development and other aspects of writing. I was so grateful for the reminder at the time that I went back and re-evaluated my creative process. This was all during my MFA program and it made me such a better writer for it. Every writer needs to take those hard-to-swallow comments and squeeze the good out of them. The professor that had said it – an award-winning writer – came back at the end of my program and complimented me on my adjustments. I ended up taking the highest award in the program and a direct award from that professor. The head banging on the wall was worth it then. Even the stomach-wrenching choking moment I had for – oh, a few months.

I think it’s safe to say not all the character development (or worldbuilding, which is character development of another kind) that a writer does will show up in the book. Some of it we do so we can know our character better, or to draw upon if needed, but what we need to remember is just because we made it up doesn’t mean it has a place in the finished book.

What has been the best compliment?

My best compliment is that people can see where I take them. They can see my characters, their surroundings. They can hear their voices, smell the surroundings and taste the food. That they can really imagine themselves in the story. That’s a huge compliment because that’s how I want my reader to be when they read my work – I want them immersed in the story’s world so the plot and characters mean that much more to them.

Ah cinematic description! I remember getting that compliment from an editor. I even remember the scene she referred to. The compliments are so much nicer than the criticisms, but unfortunately we need the constructive feedback so we can improve.

Do you have a day job as well?
           
Don’t we all? I’m a mom and I work full time at a lovely company in the entertainment industry. It keeps me running and busy 80% of my day, and I fit writing in whenever and wherever I can. One day, hopefully, I’ll reach that level where writing can be my day job, but until then I’ll keep my nose to the grindstone (so to speak).

Oh yes, we’re all in that boat! For a bit of fun, if you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

Wolf. Hands down. And not a werewolf… I would hate the whole changing under the moon thing. There’s just something majestic and beautiful about the wolf – especially their loyalty and sense of duty.

You surprise me. I would have said dragon! What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
           
Blueberries, strawberries (I live in Ventura County, you can’t blame me!), yogurt, cilantro, chicken, mango, leftovers, homemade pizza, some of my pasta sauce, cheese, and pickles. Oh, and some turkey and egg whites. I also think there’s some mystery leftover in the back, but we’re going to ignore that for the moment…

Mmm, strawberries. I’m jealous. The season is about over here in Australia. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
           
Elizabeth Bennet. I’m a Darcy fan. I want to see him walk out of the fountain all wet and stuff. Am I right, ladies? That… and I’d also like to stick it to Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Mr. Collins.

You’ve lost me… I only have a vague notion that he’s from

Pride and Prejudice. Please don’t shoot me – I suspect there are many who would totally agree. Thank you for sharing your time with us today.

If you would like to know more about A. Wrighton, you can find her at:


You can find A. Wrighton’s books at:

Dragonics & Runics Series Website: www.defythecouncil.com

Defiance Book Trailer: http://bit.ly/dandrvideo
Defiance on Amazon: http://bit.ly/dr1amazon
Defiance on Kindle: http://bit.ly/dr1ebook (other ebook formats coming in June!)

Things Left Unsaid – a web series: www.facebook.com/thingleftunsaid