Hello there, friends!
I’m super excited to host a fellow young author and missionary kid on my blog for today’s interview!
Rebekah DeVall is the author of When Your Melody Fades, Aveza of the Ercanhelm, and many more upcoming Christian fantasy novels.
Aveza Kenlin is no classic princess.
A harsh childhood leads her to join the Ercanhelm, the underground religious organization dedicated to removing her stepfather, Hagan, from the throne. Though she hides her identity from the Ercanhelm for ten years, her missions take her closer to the palace. Rumors of her true identity spread. If the Ercanhelm discover the truth, they will kill her. If Hagan discovers her, living within his city, allied with the Ercanhelm, he will kill them all. Both paths lead to death, yet Aveza cannot speak the truth, plead shelter from one or the other.
How much is she willing to give for the cause? Can the truth set her free?
Now, on to the interview!
KS: What’s a little-known fact about you?
RD: I live in Bolivia, have seven siblings, and am an INTJ (we rock!).
KS: Wow! I lived overseas too. And seven siblings! That’s amazing. Next…if you could meet one movie character, who would it be?
RD: I’d love to meet Maximus from Gladiator (my favorite movie), but I have the feeling he would see right through me and, I don’t know, kill me. I’d like to avoid that, thanks.
KS: Haha avoiding death is always preferable 😉 Now, do you prefer Chocolate or Vanilla? (Is this a trick question? 😉 )
RD: Option number 3. Coffee. The beverage (and ice cream!) of the gods.
KS: Fair point, fair point. Alright, on to bookish questions: what’s your first novel about?
RD: In short, Aveza of the Ercanhelm is the story of a young woman who is faced with desperate decisions, important choices, and discovers not only who she is in the world, but also the truth that matters.
KS: Sounds awesome! How old were you when you first published?
RD: Nineteen. Still am, actually, for just a few days. 🙂
KS: A very merry almost-birthday, to you, to you! 😀 How did you choose Indie Publishing?
RD: I chose indie publishing because I very much like to be my own boss. Write when I want to write and what I want to write, and to be able to avoid the sappy romance that seems to dominate every other part of our culture.
KS: Sounds like going Indie was perfect for you, then! What novels have impacted your writing?
RD: I could go on forever about books that have taught me over the years. Goodness knows I spent enough time with my nose buried in a book. Little Women gave me a love of reading. A Pilgrim’s Progress taught me to look behind stories to see their meaning. Louis L’Amour’s books taught me about dialogue. In the end, every book teaches me something, gives me something more to insert into my writing.
But then there are these two books (or series) that stand out from the rest.
- So Sang the Dawn, AnnMarrie Pavese. While this novel is not published yet (we’re crossing fingers for it to happen in December), So Sang the Dawn taught me so much about how to be vulnerable in my own writing. Besides the fact that Annie is pretty amazing herself.
- Legends of Light series by Hope Ann. Hope’s series are brilliant retellings of classic fairytales, each one based off a Fruit of the Spirit. The words Christian and Fantasy can go together, and Hope’s books taught me that.
KS: Those sound so very good! Who was your favorite character to write in this novel and why?
RD: I should probably say Aveza, my protagonist, but actually… Madchen, a secondary character and one of Aveza’s closest friends was the most fun to write. She carried my sisters’ annoying habits into the story (HOW one wakes up from bed looking red carpet-ready is beyond me), while having some of my own characteristics, such as love of writing.
I loved Madchen so much that I considered writing a second story, all about her. I don’t know. Read the book and let me know if I should. 🙂
KS: Awww I love her already! What is the biggest way that your novel has changed from the first draft?
RD: Oh my goodness. In explanation of the title, the Ercanhelm are a (literal) underground organization committed to bringing a righteous ruler (their leader) to the throne. Aveza is one of them.
In the original, the Ercanhelm guarded the king, rather than seeking to overthrow him. Aveza joined them, sent by Hagan, the antagonist of the story, to ferret out a traitor. Her reward? Falk, the man she loved.
Yeah, I think we can safely say a lot of things changed.
KS: What theme that has been woven into your novel are you most passionate about?
RD: Finding truth. It’s really hard, in our day and age and at my age, to discover exactly: “Where do I belong in this world?” Aveza struggles to know where she belongs and who she is meant to be, how much she is willing to sacrifice for her beliefs.
KS: How do you find time to write?
RD: I don’t. I’m pretty sure my day has 48 hours and I’m Wonder Woman.
No, actually, there have been spurts of my life where I write from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., and other days that I get up at 4 and write until everyone else gets up. It’s not a matter of finding time, it’s a matter of sacrificing time meant for other things in order to write.
KS: I love that! ‘its a matter of sacrificing time meant for other things in order to write.’ What does your writing process look like?
- Have an idea.
- Jump up and down, and then run, excited, to my writing buddies, who throw a metaphorical cooler of ice over me. If the idea survives, go on to Step 3. If it doesn’t, repeat Step 1.
- The idea remains? Good. Here, I write down all I know about the idea, and start outlining it.
- Utter despair. This story is terrible. I’m going to trash it.
- Moan to writing buddies.
- Pull story back out of the trash bin and attack it again.
- Repeat Steps 4-6 until the story is done.
- Revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, with a pinch of despair thrown in. Hey, who ever said writing was easy?
- Edit, do all that “fun” formatting stuff, and publish.
KS: I can definitely relate to that process! Especially the repeating and revising and pushing yourself through moments of despair. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
RD: Writing buddies! Always writing buddies. They keep me sane.
Also: If you’re coming for an easy paycheck, you can just turn around and go back right where you came from. Sorry, but nothing about writing is easy. While it’s exhilarating, creating characters and worlds and being the god of their stories, we writers also bare our souls to the world. There’s an intense emotional connection.
Are people going to understand when you’re slumped over the keyboard crying out of frustration that a figment of your imagination disobeyed you? No.
Are people going to understand the exhaustion of typing x amount of words in a day? No.
If you’re coming for an easy paycheck, you’re going to find yourself more frustrated than you have ever been before in your life.
Come into writing for a greater purpose. Come because you love it. Come because you have a story that must be told. Come because you will burn up and die if you don’t write.
KS: …and if I may add, come because He has given you something so special, so broken yet beautiful to say, that to keep it trapped inside would mean that even one life may not be touched by it. Write because you’re doing so much more than writing–you’re putting a bit of your soul out there, hoping it resonates with someone else’s broken pieces.
And when that happens, wonderful things are possible. <3
Thank you so much for joining me, Rebekah! And the rest of you–don’t forget to go check out her novels and the facebook party 😀