1. For all those not aware of your awesomeness, what should we know about you?
I’m 22 years old, I come from Essex (No, I don’t know anyone from TOWIE – only those from the UK might get that now I think about it) and I live in South East England. I have a degree in Forensic Science from the University of Kent in Canterbury, and I’m also a black-belt in Karate (you wouldn’t think that when you see me, I know).
For you people out there that believe in astrological signs (like me), I’m a Gemini, and for the Potter-Heads out there, my Hogwarts house is Ravenclaw.
I mainly write fantasy, though I have tried my hand at contemporary romance. I have at least 3 WIP’s on the go, as I have trouble keeping my attention solely on one piece – I let my mind go where the inspiration takes me – and many other ideas that I will get round to fleshing out…eventually.
2. Why do you write?
I write because…the voices tell me to? (I’m kidding, please don’t lock me up in an asylum!)
I’ve always been an imaginative and creative person. I daydream a lot. My mind often wonders to magical words that I randomly create in my head. It’s like my mind doesn’t want to stay in the real world. It wants to live in fantasy worlds, and who am I to say no? I write to get those places out of my mind and onto paper so others may enjoy the worlds in my head too.
One other reason I write is because I’m an anxious person. Although it’s hard to admit, sometimes I write to get away from the real world because it can be scary, and I just need a familiar and comforting place to escape to.
3. What writers inspire you?
Darren Shan, a horror writer, is my writing idol. I’m obsessed with his books because his storytelling skills are amazing. Every book of his that I’ve read has left my jaw on the floor and my eyes bulging out of my head. He’s someone that has helped drive me to take my writing seriously and to have a punt at getting my stories published.
J. R. R. Tolkein, Cassandra Clare, J. K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, and Jane Austen are a few other authors who also inspire me.
In addition to those above, I’ve been inspired by writers that I’ve met on Twitter whilst trying to build a writer platform/following. I’ve read a few extracts/chapters/synopsises/lines from other writers on Twitter, and I’ve been inspired by their work and their journeys to becoming published authors (whether it be through traditional means or self-publishing).
My critique partner, children’s writer Nolan Dean (@nolandean27 on Twitter) is another inspiration. I’ve read some of his work and it has blown me away. He encourages and inspires me to improve my own stories, whether it’s through bouncing ideas off each other or by helping out with his writing.
4. What does a typical writing session look like?
I don’t have a desk (unfortunately) so I sit on my bed with my laptop on my lap, with pillows propped up behind my back for support (because I’m all too familiar with writing injuries/strains), headphones in my ears playing a YouTube playlist I’ve made specifically for the piece of writing that I’m working on, a snack (usually fruit because you know…I have to try and be healthy when I’m sitting on my bum for hours at a time), and a cup of hot chocolate in my favourite penguin mug – if it hasn’t been stolen by my sister (grr).
5. What are you currently working on?
At the moment I have quite a few WIP’s on the go. The main piece is a YA fantasy (the first of a trilogy) that I’m currently querying to agents in the hope of traditionally publishing it. It’s called The Element of Betrayal, and it’s set in an alternative future of Earth, where people can control the four elements: Water, Fire, Nature, and Air.
The other WIPs include (but aren’t limited to): a medieval fantasy (not sure on the age category yet – YA maybe?) which is my most complex work to date with 5 POV’s and over 200k words written, a contemporary romance, a YA dystopian fantasy, and a YA paranormal friendship…adventure…piece that I haven’t quite decided what genre it falls into.
6. What do you love about this piece of writing?
What I love about my main piece is that it’s the first piece of writing that I’ve taken seriously. I’ve written things before – mainly a failed, YA Apocalyptic Dystopian (yes, zombies) novel – but it was only in March of this year that I actually took the plunge and decided to try my hand at querying it.
I love the characters, especially the secondary characters and the antagonist. I went on holiday a few months ago and had to leave my laptop behind so I couldn’t write…and I missed them like they were my friends. I’ve been writing this series for 4 years, and the characters are a part of my life as much as real people are.
Another reason is that I can relate to the main character, and I see a lot of myself in her. Whilst writing it, I had Toni Morrison’s quote in my mind: ‘If there is a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.’ Originally, this novel was solely for me, so that I could write my own adventure and be a part of something that I felt was missing from the books that I’d read before. Essentially – although we differ in a few aspects – the main character is me, having my own adventure in a fantasy world that I created in my mind.
Finally, even if this story isn’t published, it’s the story that will stay with me the most, because it’s the story I learned so much from. I’ve revised it so many times that I’ve learned from my mistakes, and have applied this to other WIP’s.
7. Give us a little sneak peak, what insights can you share about the main character?
18-year-old Princess Genevieve starts off as rather shy and reserved, having lived an isolated life up until we meet her. Her father has had her cooped up in their castle for reasons unknown to her, and so she is naïve in terms of meeting new people, having friendships, or relationships. She can control the element Water, and so her appearance reflects this: blue hair and eyes.
Her journey is one of self-discovery. She learns how the world works. How people are not always what they seem. That she is stronger than she believes and is capable of great things if she puts her mind to it.
8. What is the hardest thing about writing?
Self-doubt. It’s something I struggle with a lot. I’ve actually wrote a blog post on struggling with self-doubt (shameless plug), which you can check out on my blog (lexinehiggins.blogspot.co.uk). I haven’t been too active with blog posts over the past few months, but I’m planning to get it back on track when life stops getting in the way.
My inner critic is like a tiny demon on my shoulder, whispering things in my ear that makes me doubt my ability as a writer. Are these characters interesting? Is this plot any good? Should I just give up and throw this piece out?
You have to learn to ignore it, to grit your teeth and carry on. Most writers are doubtful of their work, but plenty of their readers will tell you otherwise.
9. Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
I’d like to meet my idol, Darren Shan, and thank him for his inspiring books. I’d also like to thank him for answering a letter that I wrote to him many years ago with a handwritten reply. The fact that he took the time to write back to me in such a fashion made me feel like he truly cares about his readers, and if I ever get to where he is today, I’ll follow his example and let my readers know that they’re appreciated.
He’s been such an inspiration to me (as I have said before) and I don’t think that without his books, I would have been courageous enough to try and have my own story traditionally published.
10. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself as a new writer?
READ MORE! My first drafts (from when I was around 17-years-old) are so cringey and awful to read. Although I’ve always been a book lover and have always enjoyed reading and writing my own stories, I’ve never read as frequently as I do now.
I read differently now too. Before, I was simply enjoying the story. Now I take note of the writing styles, different words and descriptions the author uses, and the plot points that perhaps I could use in my story with my own twists on them. I would go back and tell my younger writer-self to take note of the things I look out for now, to improve my writing and make it less cringey.
I’d also tell my younger writer-self to find people who are also writers and want to be published authors like I do. When I first started writing, I didn’t know anyone that had an interest in writing their own stories. Now, I’ve met so many friendly faces on Twitter over the past few months of being on the platform who have helped and encouraged me with my writing woes. I’d tell myself to go onto Twitter or another social platform (I’ve met a few people on Instagram too) and make a writer account ASAP so I can make some friends and go through the writing process with them, to make it a little less scary.
Finally, I’d tell my younger writer-self not to listen to ALL writing advice. Some people say show rather than tell, whilst others say that telling is okay. Some say use “” instead of ‘’ when writing dialogue, others say the reverse. Some say you should avoid prologues, and others are for them. There are so many conflicting pieces of advice out there. Write how you want to. Find your own writing style that you’re comfortable with and work with it.