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PRPP’s Linda Boyden

Our very own Linda Boyden was in Plainville, MA. as an invited guest to read her story, Roxy Reindeer. The store is owned by Jeff Kinney, the author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Today he stopped by to see Linda Boyden, the guest children’s author, a former high school classmate and fellow Plainville native who now lives in California.

If you visit the store, you can still find copies of her book there. It is a beautiful, historic three-story space of an old general store in Plainville.

To read the full article about Jeff and his new store, click HERE.

 

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“Hi.” I said to myself.

I feel like I’m always in a rush to finish my current book project. It seems to happen each time I come up with a story. I get the initial idea. I start building characters in my head. I begin laying things out on paper. Next thing I know, I’m writing and am deep within the middle of it all, watching it take shape. To me, this is the most exciting part of writing, the beginning of a new adventure, building that new world. It is very strange, because once you start building it and create worlds, universes, charaters, or just a simple fiction street with a lonely house and a guy named Sue, it actually does exist now. It becomes very real for me. These places and characters become a part of me and stay with me. I think about them throughout my day and what they might be doing, therefore I can visit them again when it’s quiet and guide them in another direction. Take my last book, Hope, for example. Now that that book is finished, I do still think of Christopher and Tommy every now and then. I wonder what it would be like if they started stiring things up again? Hmm, maybe someday. They can just chill where they are for now.

Crazy, you say? I’m not sure. But, if being ‘crazy’ is being able to create different worlds, characters, and having a connection with them enough to take readers on a journey that they will never forget, and hopefully bring a smile to their face, then I don’t want to be sane.

Once a new story passes the halfway point (just a feeling I get, knowing about where that might be is always different of course) I seem to start throwing stuff on the page that doesn’t seem to be well thought out. I have to make myself slow down and breathe. All I can figure is that it’s some sort of mental anxiety of feeling like you have to meet that certain deadline of getting it out to the masses. Yes, this ‘deadline’ is only set by myself. I’m not necessarily under the gun to finish anything, but it is annoying to fight with yourself. Oh well, who am I kidding? I like having conversations with myself. I always know what to say, and I can always make myself laugh.

In closing, the message for today and for myself is to ‘breathe and take your time’ in all you do. Rushing yourself will only cause stress and create mistakes.

matthew-geneMatthew Gene

 

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Star Trek Axanar: If There’s a Will, There’s a Way

One of the distinguishing characteristics that sets humans apart from other life forms is our need for and love of story and narrative. We each have a story to tell, and we want to hear the stories of others. We develop our sense of self and our place in the world through narrative and history. We want to learn about people from the past. How did they influence us, beyond causing our birth? We imagine the future and all its possibilities—our possibilities. We connect with and ground our humanity as we interweave our narrative with past and future narratives.

Those who struggle with dyslexia or other reading challenges are no different, although they have a harder time reading and writing. If parents and educators can help these students develop a love of story, it’s the strongest motivator to help them doggedly persevere as readers and writers. Simply stated, without such perseverance, our stories will go untold. It’s imperative that we use as many avenues of communicating stories as possible to inspire the next generation of readers.

And when someone goes to heroic effort to make sure a story is well told, it’s all the more inspiring.

When I was a child, reading was torture to me, but television and film sparked my love of story. I particularly loved programs that stimulated my imagination, those which explored ideas that were futuristic, adventurous, and visually appealing. My favorite program (which I never missed!) was Star Trek. I’ve enjoyed the franchise ever since. It was love for this particular type of story that got me excited about a studio-quality independent Star Trek film that is solely funded by donations from fans. The film, currently in production, is called Star Trek Axanar.

Alec Peters, executive producer and star of Axanar, has graciously agreed to be interviewed about Star Trek Axanar and how his passion for telling a great story has made an idea into reality.

Don: What can you tell us about Axanar?steve-inhat-tos-episode-photo

Alec: Axanar is a groundbreaking independent film that proves that a studio doesn’t need to spend millions of dollars to produce a feature quality production. Axanar will be the first non-CBS/Paramount produced Star Trek to look and feel like a true Star Trek movie.

The story of Garth of Izar, a character only seen in one episode of the original Star Trek, is one I first wrote 20 years ago. It wasn’t until 3 years ago, after playing Garth in the well-known Star Trek: Phase II fan film, that I turned the story into a screenplay.

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Alec Peters as Garth of Izar in the fan film Star Trek: Phase II

Making a fan film was not of interest to me. I decided that if I was going to make Axanar, it needed to look like a real film. And fortunately director Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise) wants to do the same thing.  Making a cutting edge version of Star Trek, that honors, the original, is what we want to do.

Axanar has already begun to attract attention from Star Trek fans who want to see something new and innovative that honors the Star Trek they grew up on. If hundreds of thousands of fans are willing to see fan films that recreate TOS (The Original Series), then there is a huge appetite for something new and original and professionally made.

Pre-production is well underway and Axanar is scheduled to begin filming in Los Angeles in January of 2016 with a tentative release in spring/summer of 2016.

Don: The world of movies and television traditionally involve a process that limits access to smaller creative teams or projects. How has thinking outside the box enabled you to tackle such a groundbreaking project?

Alec: Well, having a minuscule budget, we have relied on professionals and amateurs who are fans of Axanar to help build out our teams. The Art Department is the most significant of these. From concept art to graphic art to web design to 3D set design, we have about 20 artists, most professionals, some talented amateurs, who donate their time.

We keep getting talented people who see what we are doing and decide to donate their time. It is the only way we can do this. As Rob Burnett always says, we are making a $100 million movie on 1% of that. So you need to be smart and leverage your fan base.

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Don: How did the story come together?

Alec: I wrote my first Garth story 25 years ago. But it wasn’t until I started collecting screen used props & costumes from Star Trek and started Propworx that things changed. In 2010 I bought the original costume Steve Inhat wore as Garth. I happened to be talking about costumes one day with James Cawley, of Star Trek, Phase II and I mentioned the costume. We discussed how great a character Garth was and how it was a shame that they had never explored the character more.

Then James said “Well, you know we are shooting an episode called ‘Origins’ which is about Kirk at the Academy and that was the time of Garth. We should add him into the script.” And I said “You should!” to which James said “Well, you should come play him!” So I did, and you can see that clip here. While at lunch with James one day during the shoot, I told him about my story and he said I should produce it. And that started me on a journey, that is now, 5 years later, finally seeing a culmination.

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The first step in that journey was writing a treatment. I got through the first 3 acts of that treatment, which takes you up to the actual battle, and I sent it to Marco Palmieri, who had just left Pocket Books where he had served as editor of all the Star Trek books. His feedback was amazing. Most importantly he felt Garth actually needed more of a story arc. Marco felt that the best Star Trek pilots were ‘The Cage’ and DS9’s ‘Emissary’ because they have great arcs for their captains. In each, the captain is struggling with their career and their choices and the story propels them to explore that struggle. I immediately realized I had to explore Garth further.

I then signed up for a screenwriting class with the godfather of Hollywood screenwriting coaches, Robert McKee. I am a pretty good writer, but I knew nothing about writing a screenplay. Well 4 days with Robert McKee and you learn a lot. I had already read his classic book “Story!” and so the seminar, which was the suggestion of Star Trek: Phase II’s Doctor McCoy, John Kelley, really expanded my understanding of writing for the screen.

And I was off. I got the first three acts done in about 6 months, and then it took me a good year to get Act 4 done. During this time I got to be friends with Dave Galanter who has written a number of Star Trek books for Pocket Books. He worked as my story editor and helped me immensely. Act 4 took a long time as it was a real struggle what to do with the battle. I simply didn’t want it to be like anything we had seen before. The biggest battles we had seen in Star Trek are in Deep Space Nine in the war with the Dominion, and frankly they are pretty weak. Just lots and lots of ships beating each other up and punching through shields as if they weren’t there. UGH. So I started researching space combat online and by reading the first three of David Weber’s Honor Harrington novels. Those were really good and helped me envision a different type of Space Combat.

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Don: Who are the cast members and how did they become part of the Axanar project?

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Kate Vernon, JG Hertzler, Gary Graham, director Chris Gossett, Alec Peters, and Richard Hatch at “Prelude to Axanar” premiere at San Diego Comic Con 2014

 

Alec: I first approached Richard Hatch, who was my acting coach, and asked him to play Kharn. He loved the idea. And with Richard on board, JG Hertzler was next. He likes Richard a ton, and so he joined as soon as he heard Richard was on board. Then Gary Graham jumped on board, then Kate Vernon and finally Tony Todd. And now that we havePrelude to Axanar to show, it is easy to get talent.

Don: What challenges have you faced?

Alec: Money is the biggest. People don’t understand how expensive this project is. The donors who pay attention, read our crowd funding campaigns thoroughly, read the updates, and want to be involved, are our biggest supporters. But when donors don’t actually read the info, then their expectations are unrealistic. We try and really keep everyone involved and communicate everything we can so people are fully informed.

Don: Did you ever imagine that you would become an actor and producer when you were a child?

Alec: Never, it is something totally unexpected! But I like trying new things and embracing new challenges.

Don: What in your childhood inspired you?

Alec: I was born in 1960 so grew up in the space race and watching the Apollo program. I think that is what truly inspired me. Like many my age, I wanted to be an astronaut and so loving Sci Fi was natural.

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Don: Do you have advice for parents today in encouraging their children to pursue their passions?

Alec: Just that! Pursue what you love. Parents are so often concerned about preparing their kids for a career or structuring their lives. Just let your kids follow their dreams and give them the tools to make good decisions. If they do that, they will be happy!

Don: Where/how will the movie be distributed?

Alec: Online only. And donors will get Blu-rays/DVDs if they donated for them.

Don: Where can people get more information about Axanar and to make donations?

Star Trek Axanar Webpage: http://www.startrekaxanar.com/

To donate: http://www.savethefederation.com

 

 

Don-WinnDon M. Winn
Creator and Author of the Cardboard Box Adventures series of books.

 

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Know Your Worth

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Me and Lisa Robinson, DRSR project, ‘What If…A Story of Shattered Lives.’

I’ve been a writer of sorts for years and not by choice. It’s true; never set out to be a writer. Writing can be both rewarding and become a brutal chore within the confinements of few pages. It depends on the moment. For some, an idea becomes an instant outline for a potential novel. And for others, often those desperate to produce their next piece, ideas that once seemed viable suddenly disintegrate before they get started. Frustration in the middle of a plot leads to panic, and God forbid one should experience writers block. I’ve yet to suffer such, writers block, thank goodness!

People write for different reasons. Fame and fortune (don’t buy into that unless you’re willing to work hard, pay the price, and do your homework). Others write to share their experiences; inspire and teach. For the joy of it, advancement in their professional or academic worlds, to receive praise or to contribute articles with a wide audience. Whatever the reason, it’s HARD work. Reworking any manuscript after the first draft will reveal additional work to be done. Rewrites. If you do not accept this, you will never improve, evolve. Each time a manuscript is completed, an improvement in voice and style should be evident. If there isn’t one, I believe writers have stayed in the same place too long and risk becoming stagnant. If you don’t believe me, go back and look at your first few pieces. I wouldn’t dare read mine, a fear that I need to rewrite them, and yet they still sell. No piece is perfect. I know enough not to look back after a certain amount of time, and to this day never do (books released).

the-greenlee-project-progressiver-rising-phoenix-pressNot long ago I stopped and listened to an author’s speech. They were doing great, they had me, right up until they said, “If I can do it, anyone can do it.” I could feel myself cringe. My skin was crawling. My first thought, “What an amateur.” My second thought, “They haven’t been kicked around enough out here.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that most people can’t understand or learn the grammatical structure of a sentence. Or the rules of writing, of course, they can. Buy a book and learn how to string words together and make-up a story, research something or report an event. Unfortunately, in today’s world even load it up and throw it out there for sale. But I’m talking about doing this day in, day out, and doing it right. Especially fiction writing if you’re in it for the long haul, building a platform. Longevity as a writer, means you have do it over and over again.

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The Greenlee Project Mom’s Choice Gold Award Winner

I believe at that moment I shut that speaker out. Felt as if they were totally misleading an entire crowd. No mention of late nights, countless hours away from family and friends. Isolated, skipping events and functions. Years of research. Frustration. Rewrites. Edits. Not to mention the expense (editors, design, layout) involved. The exhilaration of the work being completed lasts for but a minute or so it seems; to be fair, maybe that’s after the first few releases. But then the real work begins, and that’s after all of the work prior to that. Marketing. Wow. Now that’s where the real work begins. “If I can do it, anyone can do it,” she said. “Really!?!?” It made me feel as if they’d just devalued every author’s work. And any potential writer was about to be misled. Saying, that’s how I felt. You may not feel that way.

It reminded me of my sister, an artist. I attended many of the classes she took; can tell you the process of sandblasting, screen printing, acrylic, oils, etc., but I still can’t paint a lick. Nothing. Nadda. I’m flat out not an artist no matter how hard I try. I can read all the books. Take the classes. Even paint by number, but I can’t create a piece of art. Do serious authors/writers really believe that anyone can do what they do? Do they put so little value in their craft that they believe anyone can do it? I know for a fact that no one can write my stories. They can’t. My voice is my own. Mine. The way I tell my story can be told only by me. My characters leap off a page and come to life the way I describe them, and my dialog makes the characters who they are. Does my style appeal to all? Well of course not. But you can’t please everyone. I have an author, guaranteed contract, manuscript that good. There’s nothing about her book that I don’t love. Love! It’s modern. Funny. Will appeal to a mass audience. Her dialog is hilarious, and I see many submissions. NO ONE can write it like her. It’s worth something. It’s her voice.

Not everyone can write and nor should they, and that’s a fact. Our market is saturated and it’s a mess. I commend Amazon for trying to clean it up, and of course for the regulars that are trying to be selective in regards to what they print. We know that isn’t always the case. ISBN’s that move, produce $’s and can be scooped up, republished under new publishers, and I don’t have a problem with that. I’ve written too many manuscripts to count. Have file cabinets full of them. Technically I could put them all out there, but I wouldn’t do that. Several have been published, three under another publisher. I pulled them and re-released them under my own label. One piece was contracted by The Texas Municipal Courts Education Center, What IF… A Story of Shattered Lives. A script about the consequences of drinking alcohol and driving. It’s an important piece, educators should take a peek, such a resource and it’s free. In addition to these, I’ve written three additional books, including a Mom’s Choice Award-Winner. From the writing, rewriting, design, editing, production, and marketing, rest assured, none of that was easy (and I’m co-owner of publishing company).

Write, yes. Easy, no. Worth it, 100% YES! Make your piece your own, and value your worth. You don’t have to be famous to do that. Writing requires discipline. Seclusion. Concentration. Money and time, lots of time. The ability to handle disappointment and frustration goes with the territory, so you better have a tough skin. With that remember, when you finally hold your work in your hands for the first time, flip through the pages, and see that one day you will have left something that counts, something that someone loved that you produced, wrote and you know that because your received your first fan mail by email or a letter in the post that says:

“Dear Ms. Thrasher,
I bought your book. I love the fairy world that you’ve created. My daughter would have loved this book.”
…… It’s all worth it.

Copyright © 2015 Amanda M. Thrasher

www.amandamthrasher

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Meet Talented Destiny Lawson

destiny-lawsonTime is never on my side; I must have said this a million times, especially these days. Being a publisher takes a lot of my time, most of it, but being an author makes it worth it. Part of the perks of being an author is meeting wonderful new people when you least expect it. Meeting talented young kids is a gift. I happened to meet the neatest kids at my last event, a signing at a library. Two of them stood out. Different personalities. A comedian and a serious young girl. I visited with them both, neat kids. One, the girl, stood out to me. Super neat kid. I enjoyed visiting with her and her friend, but, of course, the more we talked I realized this kid, the girl, seemed wise beyond her years.

It started with me and another author noticing a couple of kids standing to the left of our area. They were inching their way toward us. Finally having the nerve to come over, they started to visit. “I’ve heard of that book,” she said, pointing to The Greenlee Project. “I want to read it.” I handed her the book and told her she could have it. Her eyes lit up. “I’ve been bullied.” She said. My heart sank. We talked a little bit about that, but then the conversation turned to her love of books, reading and writing. “Are you a writer?” I asked. She smiled, and I knew at that moment, yes, she was a writer.

I asked how old she was, sixteen. I can honestly say, at sixteen years old, I was shocked by the words that tumbled out of her mouth next. ” “I’ve already written many things, including a novel.” A novel! Sixteen years old! I told her I was impressed, which as an author and a publisher I truly am. That’s a huge commitment. Work. Dedication. We visited for some time, sharing information. After the event, she took the time to email and tell me that she’d read and loved my book. As an author, I appreciated that she took the time to do that. It meant a lot to me. Especially since as bully victim she loved the book, characters, and the message. It touched me.

“I haven’t read her novel, but I’ve read excerpts. She writes like she talks and conducts herself, older than her years. I’m so impressed with this little girl, young lady, I should say. The fact that a young girl could finish a novel is impressive no matter the subject matter or style of her work. I happen to love the direction she’s going since I know the synopsis. I’d like to take the time to introduce her to you. That said, meet Destiny Lawson.

 

Questions:
1. As a child were you an avid reader?
Yes, as a child I was a very avid reader. I always loved having books and stories read to
me even before I was able to read myself. However, I do admit that I didn’t start reading
on my own until I was in third grade because it was rather difficult for me. Once I was
able to, though, I couldn’t take my nose out of whatever book was around!

2. Poetry, the first words that I strung together that meant something to me. What were yours?
Poetry was the first type of writing I did for fun. In elementary school, I did enjoy the
creative writing assignments that we were assigned, I never did it outside of school. One
day when I was in fifth grade we were writing poetry for Mother’s Day and I realized
how much fun it was. I can’t remember if I had ever written poetry before (though I’m
sure that I had) but it really stuck with me. I began writing all different kinds of poetry,
and it was then, sitting in one of those little plastic blue chairs as my teacher asked me
about my writing, that I realized that I wanted to make other feel the way I felt when I
read one of my favorite authors.

3. What is your purpose regarding writing: to entertain your audience, teach (deliver a message) or release from within? (Some people often use writing as means to share what they normally couldn’t through fiction).
My purpose when it comes to writing is to make people feel. I want to pull on their
heartstrings, make them sob, make them happy, make them talk after the story is over…
All I want to do when it comes to write is feel. I want them to feel alive. If they
understand the moral of the story (which every story or poem I have ever written has
some kind of moral) then that is just a bonus.

4. Is there a particular writer that you believe has influenced you?
Of course! So many writers have influenced me. The author who made me want to have
others feel was J.K. Rowling. Oh, I loved her books!I
read them all in less than a month when I was 10; also when I was 11 years old, my aunt sent me the book “Eragon” and I completely fell in love with it. The author, Christopher Paolini, spent nearly half his life writing the four novel series, which he started when he was twelve years old. That very much inspired me to keep writing even though I felt it was a lost cause because if he could do it, why couldn’t I? I usually keep a slight fantasy undertone to most of my novels, hinting at magic and knights in shining armor. I have also been inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, whose work I have read at length and own all the completed works.

5. My thoughts regarding my work and objectives once I’m gone are these. “If my audience says I loved that character or that story made me cry or think, I’ve done my job as an author.” What are your goals or objectives with the work that you produce?
My goals as an author is to touch people. It’s the same thing as my purpose for writing
because I don’t write in hopes of making a quick buck or to make a name for myself. I
write to make people feel something. I write to make people understand something or to
change them. I write to make people understand something that is going on outside their
own circle of existence that matters.

6. Many writers or people that would love to create a story line, dream of finishing a novel. You are sixteen years old and have already finished your first piece. I find that amazing. Truly. How many pieces did you write before you started your novel?
Honestly, I can’t even count all the pieces I made before I started my novel. I wrote
dozens upon dozens of short stories and poems (not to mention all the novels I attempted
to write before this one. That number is easily above thirty).

7. How long did it take to finish your novel?
The Closet isn’t my first completed novel, but the first one I did complete took me about
two and a half years. The Closet however, took me only a matter of months.

8. You subject matter, much like Greenlee, though entwined in fiction is a relevant and heart breaking topic. Was it difficult to write?
Parts of this were very hard to write because I have people who are very important to me
who are transgender or genderfluid, which the main character is, and it physically made
my stomach and chest hurt at certain parts because not only did I have to write very
heartbreaking scenes, but I decided to make the novel really hit home I had to put a bit of
myself in it, so I made the character biologically homosexual. The parts where I had to
write about Dru, the main character, being persecuted because of this was so very hard
because I know others in that position. I love who I am and who my friends are, but I
knew the best way to make people understands some of the things that the LGBT
community goes through was to show the worst case scenario, so I had to imagine and
write it.

9. I have an adult novel I’m currently writing. Three hundred thousand words in, it will have to be cut (a bunch). It’s required additional research I haven’t had time to complete. If I’m unable to complete the research the novel will not make sense. Did this piece require a lot of research?
Well, I wouldn’t say a lot of research, but I did do some. It was mostly for the
introduction, however and how people died when being hung (as that was a the main
character’s biggest nightmare).

10. If so, was the research difficult?
No, the research was fairly easy. I typed in the question online, went through and read
through several different websites, then I had what I needed.
11. I’m a visual writer. Greenlee had several scenes that as a writer/author made me
cry, and I wrote them. I have kids that age. The scenes, as a parent, were brutal.

11. Were there scenes that you wrote that broke your heart?
There were several scenes that broke my heart. Heck, there were entire chapters that I
was nearly sobbing as I wrote them, but I knew that they were needed and without them
the story wouldn’t be the same.

12. If so, why?
My best friend, a wonderful human being, is not only genderfluid, but also pansexual. As
I was writing, even though Dru had no physical likeness to my friend, I kept picturing
Dru as them and it devastated me. Of course I knew that in our modern society such
things as were in this novel would never happen, but it was still awful to think about
because I know my friend would never back down on their beliefs and in a society such
as the Dystopian portrayed in The Closet I know that my friend would surely die for that.

13. Fiction that delivers a message can be used as such an important tool. It causes your audience to talk, discuss, start a cause etc. Do you believe there’s a message or you could produce works (even fiction, like Greenlee) that can help your targeted audience?
I sure hope so. The entire reason I wrote this novel is because I was startled by the
number of transgenders, especially teenagers, who were killing themselves because their
family disowned them or told them they were ashamed of them… Or simply refused to
believe them and said that it was because they were angry they were forcing this upon
their family. I was shocked, appalled and truly distraught over the matter. I wanted to make people understand what they were doing to these children… I didn’t know what to do. I talked about equality on social media and in school, but it didn’t seem like it was making a big enough difference when I read later than same week how a 14 year old boy (the same age as my best friend so it really hit me hard) was in the hospital in a coma, recovering from a suicide attempt. It was then I knew that I had to do something; so I started writing in hopes of making people understand what they are doing to each other.

14. If so, was that planned or did it unravel as you the words leapt off the paper and came to life?
It was planned to an extent. I knew that I wanted to set it in a dystopian and that the main
character was going to be transgender and biologically homosexual, but the extent to
which I put Dru through, and how horribly he was treated by his not only his peers, but
adults and government officials, who are supposed to protect him, just bled from my
heart down through the pen to stain the paper. I had a vague plot when I started, but the
more I wrote the quicker it evolved into something bigger than I could have ever planned
for it to be.
15. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the most important advice I could ever give an aspiring author / writer is to invest wisely in a solid editor. Every editor edits differently and edits different genres. There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ editor. You are young, sixteen. What have you learned so far? What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
The things I have learned aren’t just about how to properly punctuate a sentence or create
believable characters. They’re more than learning what publishers are looking for and
what’s popular. I learned a lot about myself. I have learned that I am not only creative
and good with words, I’ve learned that I need to write. The thought of doing anything
else with my life make me want to cry me. All these other dreams I had as a child, singer,
musician, teacher, veterinarian, all now seem hollow and unfulfilling to me. I am a
different breed, if you will. My breaths are made of creative thinking. My blood is made
of ink. My skin of paper. My mind of wonderlands never before discovered. I can’t tell
you the amount of times I’ve whipped out a pen and written ideas on my hands, arms,
knees, legs, so I won’t forget them. I am emotional. I get attached to characters, but when
the time comes I know I can do what must be done with them for the greater good of the
novel. I might be very limited in years, but I have lived a thousand lives through my
characters and it has taught me so much. The advice I would give to an aspiring author is something I’ve said to all my friends who dream about shooting for the moon. It’s even said by a character in T he Closet  “Don’t be afraid of the unknown for it’s where we make all of our greatest discoveries.” It doesn’t matter if you have the best editor or the largest publishing company, if you’re afraid, you won’t get anywhere. You can’t be afraid of diving into the deepest, sometimes darkest, parts of yourself to pull something up to the surface to write. Everything that is known has already be discovered, but to discover it, someone had to trudge forward into the unknown, the darkness, to find it and bring it back, make it known. So, this advice works for anyone who has a dream. “Don’t be afraid of the unknown for it’s where we make all of our greatest discoveries.”
16. What are your future goals regarding the pieces you write? (Rewrite, another novel. Series. Sequel).
Well, it varies, quite honestly. For certain books I have written I plan on doing a
complete rewrite where others I want to do a sequel. For T he Closet , however, I think I
will leave it as it is. The ending is something that I could suppose could allow for a
sequel, but if I were to do that I think it would lose something. If I were to expand it, then
it would lose something critical to the story. I fear that it might lose its moral. I’ve toyed
with the idea of writing a companion to it, perhaps even a companion series depending on
the character’s point of view, but it is not something set in stone. Then again, I suppose
me not doing a sequel isn’t either. There is always a chance if I think I could use it to
create another tale with an important moral.
17. Who’s your favorite character from your novel The Closet ?
This one is very hard for me because Dru, the main character, is such an amazing young
boy. He deals with being transgender in a society where if it were found out he would be
killed. He deals with being seen as everyone in the world (aside from his father) as a girl
because that’s how he was born. He is strong willed, determined, kind and thoughtful. He
is one of the best characters I have ever created and yet his father is as well. His father is
a well off man who was raised in a religious household that emphasized love. This he
carries with him his entire life so he is constantly risking himself and his very life just to
make his son happy when he is at home. He always stands up for his child even when it
puts him in a bad place or makes him look bad. He is 100% dedicated to his child and
would do whatever it takes to protect him. My mother, who is the only parent I have ever
really had, helped to inspire this character because how he is towards others is the same
way my mother is. Willing to give you the shirt off her back and her last dollar to anyone
who needs it more, but if you hurt her children or someone she loves she will stand her
ground and never back down.
18. Why?
Both of the characters are characters that if they were real I would want to always have
them around. They are genuinely good people who stand up for what’s right, just in
different ways and even if the other doesn’t think so. The father was originally in the
novel a lot less, but then I realized that he needed to be in there to help Dru, his only
surviving child, through this, because that’s what a good parent does. Dru tries to protect
his father because, even as a child, he knows what will happen if his father is caught
buying him male clothes or talking to him as if he was a biological boy, but he soon
realizes that his father couldn’t live with himself if his son wasn’t happy. They are both
so amazing, and inspired by people I love so much (the father is based off of my very
own mother, who I love more than life itself and Dru is inspired by several of my close
friends) that I don’t think I could ever pick just one.
19. What’s the title of your next piece?
The title(s) of the next two pieces I’m doing is T he True Battle and F rom The Ceiling.
The True Battle is about a young teen girl who battles who has met with God the Devil
and tries to understand which is truly good. F rom The Ceiling is about a suicidal boy who
has “everything anyone could ever want” and feels like he has no one to turn to. The
morals of these stories are meant to teach people, just like The Closet.
20. What does Destiny do for fun ☺ ?
Well, I write. I write A LOT. I write songs, poems, short stories, blurbs (even if I never
really intend to write the novel), plays, novellas, all kinds of things. I never let a day go
by that I don’t write s omething, even if it’s just a little pickmeup
for the support page(s)
I have on Instagram. That being said, I a m only sixteen years old, and I love social media.
Instagram and Tumblr are my FAVORITES. I a dore them, especially the fandom
accounts about H arry Potter, Supernatural, Hetalia, Deathnote, The Mortal Instruments
and a number of other ones. Also, music is my life right under my family and writing. I
would be perfectly content having my earbuds in all day and just listening to music
instead of socializing with people (which, admittedly, I do a lot at school because I can’t
bring myself to turn off the music). I listen to all different types of music, but my favorite
three genres are Country, Alternative Rock and Screamo. I also draw, paint, read (I love
reading about all kinds of different genres), hanging out with friends, texting, talking on
the phone, hanging out with my family and friends, cuddling with my cat while watching
scary movies and doing what any teenager likes to do. I do all kinds of things as my
interests vary from things like tarot cards, rune casting and fortune telling to things like
pie, cake and attractive celebrities.

Excerpt: The Closet Copyright © 2015 by Destiny Lawson

“I love you. Don’t you ever doubt that,” he whispered before running his hands through his light hair. It was the colour of the sun, just like my brother’s. I wished I looked more like my father because then maybe, if I didn’t look so much like mother, maybe it wouldn’t pain him to look at me sometimes. “I’m just scared for you.”

Of course I nodded softly. I knew he was. The only reason he was so harsh sometimes was because he couldn’t bear to lose me like he had everyone else in his life. It was just me and him now… He couldn’t go on if something happened to me. “I’m sorry, Father,” I whispered, trying not to cry.

“However, if this,” he gestured to me, all bound and tied up in my masculinity. “Is what you want… I won’t stop you,” his voice sounded pained as he sucked in a deep breath. “Come, I have a present for you.”

Following him down the hallway, I was confused by what he wanted to give me. I had just broken the law. I had just expressed myself, even though it was in the private of my own home… We could both get in a lot of trouble. Finally we came to his room where a box with his name and old address is scribbled on the side is what he pulls out from under his bed.

“This was to be for your brother, but he died before I could give it to him,” he pushed the box into my arms as I looked up at him confused. “Clothes. New clothes… I couldn’t bear to give them to someone else’s son, but I guess my son wouldn’t mind if I gave it to his brother.”

My eyes watered and I dropped the box to wrap my arms around my father. Of course I couldn’t wear them out and of course I couldn’t show them to anyone, but my father knew who I was and still loved me. He loved me even though I wasn’t the daughter he wanted. He accepted I wasn’t a female, though the government never would. This cemented it. He would do anything for me. My father was a good man… Good enough to put his life at risk for my happiness.    – Excerpt: The Closet Copyright © 2015 by Destiny Lawson

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Post Copyright © 2015 by Amanda M. Thrasher
www.amandamthrasher.com  The Greenlee Project