Welcome to the second day of the Back to School Blog Tour. Today’s featured author is Becca Price. Ms. Price is a children’s author with many fantasy children’s books ranging from beginning fantasy chapter books to middle grade novels. I had a chance to talk to Becca about her writing process, how she gets her ideas, and what she has next in store for us.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Becca Price: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. As a child, I used to tell stories to my siblings before going to bed. I wrote some highly derivative fantasy in high school and college, as one does, but didn’t seriously consider making a living as a writer. Instead, I started work as a technical writer, and continued in that profession until ill health made me quit. I still took the occasional contract, however, and kept in the profession for a total of 30 years
How long does it take you to write these books?
Becca Price: It varies so much. Sometimes, the words just roll out, and the story is close to it’s final form. Other stories, I struggle with. I have one story (Heart of Rock) that I worked on for 20 years, on and off, trying to come up with a satisfying ending.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
Becca Price: Inspiration strikes at any time. One story, I worked n in my head while trying to go to sleep. I finally got up at 3:00 in the morning, and wrote down the first draft of the story almost completely.
Other times, it’s more like a “real” job, usually after I get my first pass edit back from the wonderful editor, Martha Hayes – she seems to know what I am trying to say better than I do sometimes, and will ask me questions. I’ll get up in the morning, start working on her edits, take a break for lunch, and finish writing around 4:00 pm, and then back to work on it the next day. I don’t seem to be able to write well after about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, unless it’s one of those things that keeps me up til 3 until I write it down.
What brought you to write your fairy book series?
Becca Price: The only real series I have is Fields, Forest, and Fairies. This consists of 3 books: Fairies and Fireflies, The Wood and the Wildfolk, and The Wizard and the Wood. They all take place in the same universe, and I just kept writing the stories as long as the Wide Wild Wood had stories to tell me. It may have other stories to tell, but right now, I’m feeling like it’s pretty complete.
How you become a published author? Any inspiration?
Becca Price: After I wrote my first book, Dragons and Dreams, I looked carefully at publisher’s requirements for children’s books. They tend to be very strict and formulaic, with no place for the kind of gentle fairy tales I write. I started doing research (I’m a research junkie anyway) and decided to self-publish through Amazon. In this effort I was helped immeasurably by the kind folks at kboards/writer’s café, which still provides me with help in my writing, and in my publishing efforts.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Becca Price: When my children were very small, I looked about for good bedtime stories for them, It must have been a dry spell for children’s books, because other than the classics like Dr. Seus and the Grimm brothers, there wasn’t much – and I disliked the sexual stereotyping in the classical fairy tales. There was the peerless Paper Bag Princess, but other than that, not much. So I started to make up stories that addressed issues (like being afraid of the dark) that my kids were having, or silly stories like The Grumpy Dragon and A Princess for Tea. When my children started correcting me on how the story was supposed to go, I wrote them down, so I’d remember them. That collection became Dragons and Dreams, and is still my daughter’s favourite of my books. Then I got a letter from a fan, wanting to know whether Butterfly Fairy ever got another kitten, and that set of stories became Fairies and Fireflies.
Most of my stories have a strong nature orientation. I’ve been known to call the local Extension Office at Michigan State University, to make sure I have my facts straight. The rest of it comes from my own knowledge of mythology, an exposure to Waldorf education, and that great source of all knowledge, Google.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Becca Price: Other than childish attempts? Dragons and Dreams took form during my early 40s when my children were little. I didn’t start publishing until 2013, however.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Becca Price: I read. I go on reading spurts, prompted by all sorts of things. I read biographies of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr after my daughter, who is a technical theatre major, introduced me to the musical Hamilton. I read books on ancient (pre-Greek) mythology while a future story, The Boy Who Loved The Moon started taking place. I still haven’t written that one down yet, because it’s going to be very challenging to write, and I want to get it right. What started out as a main character, an 8th century Welsh bard, is now the villain.
But I read a lot for simple relaxation. I’m a fan of regency-ish romances, no matter how bad the research in them is, because usually the author has a good story to tell anyway, and it’s an era where I find the stock characters comforting to read. I read science fiction, and when I feel my writing style has become stale, I read Lois McMaster Bujold,’s fantasy series. I like her Vorkosigan series, as well, but her fantasy tends to be exquisite.
How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?
Becca Price: I have 7 books: four collections of fairy tales, and 3 stories that stand alone. I have 8 books, if you count Child of Promise, which is also the last story in Dragons and Dreams. The non-collection books are Heart of Rock, Bridge of Seven Stones, and The Snarls. All of those were written for my children as they grew up, but I think have universal things to say to any child.
I have to admit, Dragons and Dreams is a sentimental favourite, being the ones I told my children over and over again.
What is next for you? What are you working on now?
Becca Price: There’s The Boy Who Loved the Moon, which I’m still researching and working out the general plot overview. I’ve got several fairy tales, such as my own take on the Tam Linn story, that are sketched out, but on the back burner for now.
What I’m spending most of my time on, however, is Sirens’ Song. It’s a tough book to describe, because it’s still taking shape, but it’s a parable that deals with death and life. I ran a draft of it past a child psychologist, who says that it’s appropriate for 4th and 5th graders, so it’s one of my stories that’s aimed at older children.
And my daughter has been nagging me to write more stories about The Grumpy Dragon, so maybe after Sirens’ Song is finished, I’ll start working on that one.
***To continue with the blog tour, head over to one of the participating author’s websites to read a book review of Becca Price’s Heart of Rock. Teddy O’Malley will be featured tomorrow in the blog tour. Today, she is posting a review of Becca Price’s book, Heart of Rock. So, please, head over and enjoy her book review.
**Plus, the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is still going on. Be sure to head over and enter today!