Thursday, January 17, 2013

Author Interview: Kessa Montez

Today I would like to introduce you to Kessa Montez, an aspiring young author. Hi Kessa, and welcome to the blog today! 

You’re very welcome. I’m actually excited! I’m always willing to get myself out there as a writer! 

To start off, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A bit about myself--well, I’ve been homeschooled my whole life, though I plan on going away to college this year. I’m an artist. I don’t draw or paint, but I create art. Music. Words. Stuff like that. And I’m rather mature for my age--I have more friends that are adults than my own age! 

What did you want to be when you were little?
An astronomer. I wanted to study space. Just because it was the only thing in all the things I learned about that I was actually interested in at the time.

Do you plan on being a full time writer, or do you have other career plans?
I don’t plan on writing full time. I love writing, I really do, and I would go crazy with all the stories in my head if I didn’t do it--but my real passion is for music. I want to be a concert pianist. I can’t stand to write for much more than two or three hours a day, maybe four if I’m really inspired. Any more than that and I get a little stir-crazy. 

How long have you been writing?
Good question. For a long time--nine, ten years? Something like that. The first thing I ever wrote was a short story called “Crazy Broom” about the Wicked Witch of the West’s broomstick and how it kept spinning around in circles repeatedly, no matter what she did to try to stop it.  

What do you write? 
I write contemporary fiction with a few touches of fantasy. I say a few touches because I don’t go off and create my own world--anymore, I tried that once and it was utterly insane--I stick to the real world and just add some fantastical elements. And currently I write for older YA. 

Have you published anything?
Not yet.

When do you plan on publishing?
Soon. And by soon I mean probably within the next two to five years, how ever long it takes for me to actually do some serious edits on my current WIP. 

Do you plan on self-publishing or going the traditional route?
Traditional route. I want my novel in bookstores.  I don’t have anything specific against self-publishing, but I feel like if you go the traditional route it’s more legitimate, you know? Well, and sort of the fact that I don’t want to go through all the formatting for it myself. 

Ebook, paperback, or hardcover?
Doesn’t matter too much to me. I prefer holding the book in my hands and turning the pages in a real book, but whether it’s paperback or hardcover doesn’t matter to me. 

What are you currently working on?
Well, currently, as in this month, I’m outlining my next novel, but ultimately my current work is my recently finished novel, Masks. I wrote it for NaNoWriMo in 2012 and it’s the first thing I’ve written that I really wanted to be published someday. So I actually plan on going back and doing a real edit of it in a couple months, getting it all ready to be awesome, and then I’ll figure out a query letter and start getting it out there. 

What makes your writing unique?
It’s unique because I wrote it. And I’m a different person than every other person in the world. In actuality, though, I think it’s unique because I try to keep the characters very real--they all have flaws and they make mistakes and nobody’s perfect. And I know there are definitely a bunch of other people who do that, but to me that’s what stands out. I do all I can to develop their character and figure out who they are before giving them a situation and throwing them into it and then it’s just figuring out how they respond. And sometimes it’s badly. And that’s why it’s unique. 

Why would someone like your book?
Because I have interesting plots? Because I have real characters? I have no idea. Not a whole lot of people have read much of anything I’ve written, but most of the feedback I’ve received is that my ideas are new and interesting. 

How old were you when you wrote your first and most recent books?
I was fourteen when I wrote my first one, but seventeen for this last one. And I assure you, my skills have greatly improved.

How long did it take you to write your most recent book?
One month, for NaNoWriMo, like I said. However, the planning process began about three months before that.

Did anything in particular inspire anything in your book, or anything you have written?
Oh, holy crap. Yes. I have a good friend that I sing with in an opera chorus, and he’s extremely good at memorizing his music. And before I knew his name, that was all I knew about him. So in my mind I knew him as “Memorizing Guy.” And I had actually written that in my music at one point, when I was staged to stand next to him. That was just over three years ago. And about a year and a half ago, I had found that little tidbit in my music, and of course I died laughing, because I knew him well by that point, so I showed it to him. We both died laughing. So then a friend of ours walked in and we showed it to her, and she said the following line: “Memorizing Guy? Sounds like a superhero name. Ha. Librarian by day (he’s a librarian) and saving the world by night. I wonder what his power would be?” 
I, too, wondered what his power would be. And I continued to wonder for the next six months. Finally, in March of 2012, I knew what it was, and the world that this character lived in, and I figured out his name and I figured out what went wrong. And then over the summer I planned it all out for NaNoWriMo. 

That sounds like a great story! Do have any writing rituals? Treats you have to have, places you have to be, etc.?
I wouldn’t say I necessarily have to have any particular things, though I do prefer, if I can, to sit in a quiet place with no distractions, and have some candy and/or chocolate to motivate me. Something I can eat a piece of every 100 words or so. Chocolate chips, Skittles, stuff like that. It really gets those words out a lot faster. J

What do you like to read?
Mostly the same as what I write. Contemporary fiction with some fantastical stuff. But also dystopian stuff. The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner--those kinds of things are my favorites, but I’ll read almost anything as long as it’s good. 

What advice would you give to other aspiring writers?
  • Outline. 
  • Set yourself a deadline and writing plan and stick to it.
  • Don’t think it’s the best thing the world has ever had the opportunity to lay their eyes upon. But don’t think it’s the worst, either. It’s always somewhere in the middle. 


What are some of your hobbies besides writing and reading?
I play piano, though that’s more of a career goal than a hobby. I’m learning how to play the guitar. I make intricate friendship bracelets. I sing in an opera chorus. I practice karate and am currently a brown belt. And I’m an obsessive record-keeper. Anything I can do to help me remember events and details in my life, I do it. Photography. Journaling. Jotting down thoughts. Those "one something a day" books from Barnes and Noble. And then I can look over it all again and it’s like I’m reliving it and it’s one of my favorite things to do. 

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?
I don’t. I can’t, actually. As a musician, my brain is trained to give almost all my attention to music when I hear it. Obviously that would not be productive for writing.  I’ve tried. It just doesn’t work.

It has been great getting to know you and your work today. Thank for stopping by! Where can people go to learn more about you and your work?
I have a blog and an author page. I don’t update the author page very much, especially now that NaNoWriMo is over and I’m not actively writing something at the moment, but I update the blog every week about my writing and other related projects in my life. Those can be found at:

2 comments:

  1. Hi! I would like to nominate your blog for the Liebster Award. Here’s the link to the information if you’d like to participate in this bloghop: http://aljambor.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-liebster-award.html

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