Thursday, 30 April 2015

Shining a Light on Wattpad!

Wattpad is an online writing community and social media platform.  It has over 75 million stories, and 35 million users - many of whom are teens.  It is a global writing group for writers of all levels to share and chat about their work. Users are encouraged to comment and vote on each other's stories. The right feedback can improve your work.  Great, well written stories generate a lot of votes and become more visible due to Wattpad's ranking scale. It can be an excellent way to develop a fan base and it's fun. 

Meet Hannah M. King, author of: The Dorston Fall, Book One in The Dorston Legacy.

Hannah M. King is the author of The Dorston Fall, the first instalment in her trilogy -The Dorston Legacy. This is really engaging and well written YA fantasy novel on Wattpad which has achieved over 20.6K reads and a huge no of votes!  I’m sure only a matter of time before Hannah is published!  

This is part one of my interview with Hannah, focussing on her writing.  
Part two will focus on her great tips on using Wattpad.

Tell us a little bit about yourself please?
I’m a 22 year old, trying to find her way in the world. I am currently studying Creative and Professional Writing at university and having an amazing time! When I’m not being sociable, I’m in my room reading, writing or catching up with shows and films. (My list of shows is growing! Help!) I find fandom references everywhere and I talk to myself more than I should. I am a big kid and I love tea!

What books did you like to read when growing up?
Roald Dahl was a constant, and entertaining figure in my childhood. His novel, Matilda, is one of my absolute favourites. The Secret Garden and A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnet are two other novels I have cherished all my life. Harry Potter has touched the lives of millions across the world, and I am no different. It has played a massive part in my writing, and will continue to do so for many years to come.

I love the Fantasy genre. Always have. Always will. I enjoy work by Rick Riordan, Maggie Stiefvater, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, Veronica Rossi, John Green, Cassandra Clare, Rainbow Rowell, Wattpad’s very own Beth Reekles, P.C Cast – literally the list goes on. I also love the classics like Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, Peter Pan etc. I enjoy historical fiction, particularly work by Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory.




Had you always wanted to be a writer?
Honestly, no. Growing up, I was so desperate to travel, that the idea of becoming a stewardess stayed with me throughout my time at high school. However, going into sixth form, I realised just how much I enjoyed writing and reading and soon enough, that’s all I wanted to do. It took a lot of courage and determination to get where I am now, at university and studying creative writing, in the hopes of achieving this.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated
I do remember the moment I started thinking about it. My best friend, who was a keen reader and writer herself, wanted me to read through a story she’d just started. It took me a while to get into the flow, but once I did, I just wanted to read and read. I wanted to try it for myself. Looking back, my first attempt was appalling! Oh my goodness, the spelling and the grammar. Cringes. After that failure, I tried again, and again, and again. I haven’t really stopped since.

What motivates you to write? 
For me, writing is a means of escape. It is an outlet where I can voice frustrations, joys, dreams and regrets, anything I am afraid to say or show to the world. It is a way to experience something completely extraordinary; experience something you can’t do, something you can’t see. To be somewhere else, when life gets you down. To be someone else, when you lose confidence in yourself. Writing is the best kind of therapy, whether it be story writing or writing a simple entry in a diary.

Tell us a little bit about “Dorston” (audience age range too please) and the series.
The Dorston Fall is about a young Princess, Katelyn, who discovers her father has been kidnapped by a group of mercenaries hell bent on destroying her family and their good reputation. It follows her journey across a land, changed by war and fear. She encounters people who both protect and threaten her. She experiences great change, and not just in herself, but in the people she meets, and none more predominately than Sammy; her charming, but cocky companion and later love interest

The series itself revolves around the two qualities I value most above all others: love and loyalty. It examines the extreme measures one would go to protect those they love, despite all the odds and dangers. It explores the consequences of trusting the wrong people, of not trusting yourself. It is about the coming of age, and finding the strength to do what is right even if it means abandoning your family to serve a greater good, or disobeying a parent, as Sammy and Katelyn demonstrate most famously.

I consider The Dorston Fall to be a Young Adult novel, as the majority of my readers are between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however it is not limited to this age group. I like to think that the novel has something for everyone.

To read The Dorston Fall on Wattpad Click here
http://www.wattpad.com/story/8220409-the-dorston-fall-book-i-in-the-dorston-legacy


Can you tell us about your main character? 
Katelyn Dorston is the combination of every strong female character you’ve ever read and idolised! She is a twenty year old Princess and is heir to the throne of Belran; a kingdom based on medieval England. She’s headstrong, fiercely loyal, passionate and independent. She longs for adventure, and for the chance to prove herself to her parents and her people. Did I forget to mention she’s beautiful too? On the downside, she’s headstrong, fiercely loyal, passionate and independent! The strongest of people are the hardest to control. She is the living embodiment of this.

Katelyn was a challenge to animate in the beginning. As her polar opposite, I found it difficult to write speech and portray the right body language that would echo her strong sense of character. It was predominately after Sammy’s introduction, that I was able to incorporate my own traits and a new side to Katelyn was born. She comes to appreciate different ways of life and thinking. She comes to understand true hardships and true love. By the end, she’s not just a warrior princess, but a real woman with her own voice and her own passions. Since leaving home to come to university, I have grown into my own person and I like to think Katelyn has too.


How much research did you have to do for this book? 
To provide authenticity and realism, I had to conduct a lot of research, looking particularly into medieval living, history, language and warfare. I watched many period dramas and action films to arrange good fighting scenes, as well step-by-step tutorials on platforms such as Youtube. I searched graphic websites like Pinterest and Deviantart to get a better visual of clothing, character and landscape. All of this being said, there is still so much I need to do and to find out, before Dorston is ready for the publishers.


Can you tell us about your next project? 
I have so many stories that are in need of planning, that I’m not sure where to begin. However, once the Dorston series is complete, I like to think I’ll start work again on my other teen novel, The R Word. A world away from Dorston, this novel is of a serious and sensitive matter, a matter I hold close to my heart. Following Dorston’s growing success on Wattpad, I had to put it hold, however I feel it is a story that needs to be told and I look forward to returning to it.

How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?  
I have never been in a real fight or held sword and I have never had my life threatened, nor have I been responsible for the lives of thousands of people. But I have experienced the grief of losing someone I love, and being separated from my family. I have felt the joys of being in love and travelling new places; having adventures, however small. I know how it feels to be betrayed by those closest to you.

In this regard, there is much of my personality, morals and memories instilled in the plot and my beloved characters; all of whom possess a very special part of me that cannot be erased, whether it is loyalty, love, ambition, youth or strength.

How do you juggle writing and working / other pressures and obligations in your
life?
I write whenever I have the chance and the motivation. If I’m at work or university, I focus on the task at hand and try my best not to wander. If I have to decide between finishing an assignment or a chapter, I’ll finish the assignment. Completing the chapter will be my reward. I just live in the moment and do what I feel like doing at the time. Cheesy, I know! Ha ha.

How do you write: lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk?  Do you have a favourite writing spot? 
I work mostly on my laptop, but it really depends where I am when inspiration strikes. If I happen to be at work, I will write on as many blank till rolls as it takes. Naughty, I know. If I’m at home, I will race to my laptop or quickly write it in my notepad. Every spot is a favourite writing spot. During the day, it is at my desk with the window open, and with music playing. At night, it’s tucked up in bed with my notepad, or my mobile. I’d be lost without my Wattpad app!


Do you outline your books from start to finish or just start writing? Or a bit of both? It’s a bit of both, I guess. Before I’d even created the characters and their back stories, I knew how The Dorston Fall would end. It was the one thing I was sure of, but getting there was the tricky part. Dorston Fall is very much a journey story, and what is a journey without a good chase, conflict or romance? Many of the scenes were made spontaneously, simply because the story was losing pace and needed some tension. This later proved a good move, as it developed the storyline and the characters concerned.