Yawatta would like to welcome her special guest Sabrina Ricci, author of The 13th Cycle. Please enjoy her interview.
1. Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?
Write a lot, as often as possible. And don’t be afraid to “cut your darlings.” Something I’ve learned over the years is revising is as (or more) important than writing, and it takes several drafts to make a story worth reading.
2. What genre do you write for? Your favorite aspect? Your least favorite aspect?
I like almost all genres–I’ve written thriller, sci-fi, experimental, and magical realism stories, as well as creative non-fiction. But I think I prefer writing stories with fantastical elements–it’s nice to have a touch of magic here and there. I don’t really have a least favorite aspect. I’ve found that no matter the genre, the same basic rules of good storytelling apply.
3. What are your current/next projects?
I’m starting to brainstorm a series that will involve magic in some way. In the meantime, I’m also working on a set of mini ebooks that will provide guidance to indie authors who want to create their own high-quality ebooks.
4. Do you prefer to work alone or with critique partners/beta-readers?
With partners and beta-readers. Actually, that’s pretty much how I wrote The 13th Cycle. I used agile publishing, which means I posted chapters on my blog as I wrote them and incorporated reader feedback along the way. The result is a story that I think a lot of people will enjoy reading.
5. How do you find time to write?
It’s hard sometimes, but I’m trying to keep a routine where I write at least ten minutes a day. Ten minutes feels a lot more doable than devoting a whole hour. Some days I’ll be on a roll though, and I can write for hours.
6. Did you always want to become an author?
Yes! Like a lot of other writers, from what I hear, I started writing stories in elementary school. And now the ability to self-publish has allowed me to make my dream come true.
7. Do you write the beginning/opening first or do you tend to write out of order (with whatever scenes interest you most)?
I try to write the beginning first because otherwise I might lose track of the storyline I had planned. Of course, my story tends to evolve along the way, but if I’m writing it in order, I have an easier time seeing the bigger picture.
8. Have you ever hated something you wrote?
Yes. Back in 2009 I did NaNoWriMo, and I managed to finish my 50,000 words. But I didn’t have an outline or a plan, and I think the story suffered because of it. At least I can say I won a NaNo though!
9. Which is the easiest for you–novel, novella, or short story? Why?
Short stories. Because of their length, I feel like I can accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. On the other hand, completing a novel feels more rewarding.
10. While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of your characters?
Kind of. My protagonist, Amara, is very loosely based on my college experiences (I worked for the student newspaper at my school). But she’s still very different. I think she’s a lot braver than I am.
11. How did you come up with the title?
Actually, my editor suggested it. I had been struggling with finding a title, and The 13th Cycle fit perfectly. One reason is that 13 is a special number to the ancient Maya. And, according to the Maya calendar, we’re currently in a 13th cycle, also known as a baktun.
12. What inspired you to write your latest book? What is the book about?
The 13th Cycle is a thriller novella about the Maya calendar. The idea for the story came to me when, a few months ago, my mom came to visit me and insisted that I come home for December 21. She told me, “If the world ends, I want my family to be with me.” This made me want to research more about the Maya calendar and really understand it, and then I decided to write it the agile way. Here’s the official description of the book:
Amara Randall is a college student with a passion for exposing the truth. When she sees the havoc the Maya calendar predictions wreak, she decides to debunk the myths and try to restore the peace.
Mahaway is a charismatic young scribe in ancient Maya. But her world is torn apart when a greedy new king declares war on her city.
Now at the end of 2012, Amara’s obsession leads her to uncovering a deadly conspiracy, one with roots dating back more than a thousand years. Using clues Mahaway has left behind as a guide, Amara must stop the conspirators’ terrifying plan before December 21. If she doesn’t, the world really will end.
13. Any blogs, websites, social media you’d like to share?
Yes! You can learn more about The 13th Cycle and buy the ebook on my website. I’m also the founder of Write or Read, which will give insights to indie authors about their books and ultimately help make them more successful. You can also find me on GoodReads, Facebook, and Twitter.