We are so pleased to have author Gemma Owen-Kendall join us for an interview! Gemma is the author of Innocent Times, a collection of young adult short stories, this collection will please anyone who loves this genre. Her book is now available for purchase, click here.
What’s your all time favourite book? And favourite childhood books?
This is a tough choice as I do love so many books that I have read. I think my all time favourite at the moment has to be Caraval by Stephanie Garber. My all time favourite childhood book would have to be Beatrix Potter. I love Peter Rabbit.
Do you plan out what you write or do you just go with the flow?
I do pretty much go with the flow when I write. But over the past week I came up with another idea for a story, so for this one I have planned notes made for it. I guess so I don't forget about it.
Do you have a set writing routine or just when the ideas take you?
It is a mix of both at the moment. As I am on furlough I have been giving myself a routine to write every weekday afternoon and attempt at least 1000 words. But if an idea comes to mind about anything I will try to stop everything and go add it into what I am currently working on. If its an idea for another story I could work on, I will go write it down in my notebook.
What drew you to writing YA books?
When I got into my preteens I started to read books that were part of Point Romance and Point Horror collections. Then as I got further into my teens I would always leap to the teen and YA department in Waterstones. As YA is always a category I have read and still do, it has drew me to write my own YA books. I just really enjoy writing about first time romances that crop up in a lot of YA books. Also I write about events and situations I never did as a teen and Young adult. So I have found a relief to write about what I missed out on.
Do you write using pen and paper or computer/ipad?
I do mainly write using pen and paper first, then I will use my laptop to type up what I have written. Apart from my Girl In The Red Coat novel. With that one I have gone straight to the computer.
Is there a time of day that you are most creative?
I seem to be more creative in the afternoons at the moment. I guess as I'm on furlough, that appears to be the time of day I am more relaxed and inspired to write.
What inspires you to write?
What inspires me to write is the books I read and the films I watch. Or I people watch from time to time. Then I will think about a certain character in a film or book I have read/ seen, then transform that character into someone else and take it from there on creating a story line. If I people watch, I create a made up back story and transform them into a character that I can use in one of my projects or a new project.
Do you come up with the key characteristics and behaviours of the main characters in your novels before you start writing or do they evolve as you write?
I come up with the basics for the main two characters before I start writing. I will get a character in my head and think about certain behaviours and type of life they may have. Then my characters evolve further as I write.
Do you find yourself thinking about your characters a lot when you are not writing or is the writing activity quite compartmentalised? Also when did you start writing and have you had any important teachers or mentors?
I do find myself thinking about my characters a lot, I can be at work or out on a walk and I will think of my characters and something that I could add into my projects. I have always loved writing when I was a child, when I was a teenager I would sit in my room writing my own stories and scripts. Then in 2017 I did a night course in creative writing at the Grimsby institute, after then I have tried to focus writing as my main hobby. My primary school teacher Mrs June Evans was an important lady to me as she always loved reading my stories at school. Even in secondary school, my English teachers loved reading my stories that I came up in for lessons. Then beginning of 2017 I went to a writers retreat weekend at Healing Manor. I met a bunch of lovely hosts, authors and writers who helped mentor me to further my writing x