Email Response from Janna Nickerson
Question 1) What inspired you to start writing? There is nothing that specifically inspired me to begin writing. I loved to write even when I was younger and I did read a lot (and still do). I think from reading a lot I started wondering if I could every write a book like some of my own favorite authors. Also, I had a 6th grade teacher who really encouraged me to write. I think all of those things created the initial bout of inspiration.
Question 2) How old were you when you started writing your first book? I was thirteen when I first started writing and was fifteen when I finished. Both books took two years to write, strangely enough.
Question 3) How do you get your ideas? I don't know where most of my ideas come from. Once again, I do read a lot and through that open myself up to thousands of different ideas, which I can change and make into my own. Hopefully that makes sense?
Question 4) Who were your major influences growing up? I would say the main influences were the support of my parents, great teachers and a few friends who had imaginations as wild as anything you could know. Also, the many different books I read all affected me.
Question 5) What are your favorite subjects to write about? I would have to say fantasy. With fantasy, authors can go anywhere. They create the entire world and don't have to worry about specific histories or ideas which are prevalent in our world today. Fantasy gives you the ability to make everything in your world and who wouldn't have fun doing that? Now, if you meant subjects as in what types of problems do I like to write about (such as war, love, hope, etc), let me know!
Question 6) Can you tell me some of your background? Let's see... I've lived in UT, ID, SD and MT. I consider MT home however. I've lived in Missoula for 14 years and now go to the University of Montana. I have one younger brother, a dog and a cat. I've traveled to Australia, China and Ireland and spent about three weeks in each place. I went to China with a group of students and teachers from my high school. I played soccer, volleyball and was in track when I was in Middle School. I played two years of soccer in High school (I played the game for 8 years before I stopped). My room is filled with books (mostly fantasy). One of my favorite things to do is to browse through a bookstore. I love the feeling of peace of quiet you can find there. My major is anthropology and I have not taken any creative writing classes and probably won't for a while.
Question 7) What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a writer? Write where, when and how you want (in other words, is you have a certain style that you like to use when you write, write that way... your best work will come through when you're comfortable and not outside your comfort zone). Also, when it comes right down to it, it only matters what you think of your own work. If you are 100% certain that it's perfect, then it is. It's your work and in the end only you need to be happy with it. And write because you love to write. Don't push yourself to write in any particular moment because you think you must. If the words simply are not coming, don't force yourself. It will come to you eventually. Some people call this writer's block. I really don't think there is such a thing. All you need to do is think about what you want to happen and eventually it will come to you. I've gone weeks and sometimes months where I don't write at all yet I don't worry about it because I know I will write again when I'm ready.
Question 8) How were your grades in school? I was mostly an A student with a few Bs here and there and two Cs (in math!). My final GPA was 3.6 when I graduated.
Question 9) What books do you read? Lots. Let's see... I love Harry Potter, Eragon, Robert Jordan's books, George R.R Martin's books, Robin Hobb, Kate Forsyth, Jude Fisher, Diana Gabaldon, Jean M. Auel... I could go on but mostly fantasy and historical fiction (like Gabaldon and Auel's books).
Question 10) Do the books you read ever give you ideas to use in your own writing? Of course! I think all authors get ideas from some books. Eventually those ideas become your own as you develop it and create it into something new. But for a foundation and place to begin, I think most authors have a book or two, which maybe nudge them in the right direction.
Question 11) What is an average day for you? An average day? Well, right now I am on a book tour so my average day consists of waking up at 6:30 or so, get ready, go to a school and give presentations most of the day, go back to the hotel, go on a run, eat dinner, do some homework and then talk to my boyfriend or email a few friends. I would have writing in there but since I'm on the road, it's hard to find them time.