With us today we have Celesta Thiessen a writer hailing from Steinbach, Manitoba. Celesta is a published author of over 20 books. Her other achievements include currently raising two young kids and working with her husband on their iPad app creation business, Visions Encoded. Thank you for joining us today, Celesta.
What genres and authors do you enjoy reading?
I really enjoy reading clean science fiction and fantasy. Sometimes I read middle grade or young adult science fiction and fantasy. I also enjoy Christian speculative fiction, which is fantasy and science fiction from the Christian worldview. My favorite author is Kathy Tyers who wrote the Firebird trilogy.
What genres do you write in? What age groups are your books for?
I have written books for elementary age children, middle school readers, young adults, and adults. My books are mostly science fiction and fantasy. Prince Jade, a young adult fantasy, is my favorite fantasy book that I’ve written. The Dragon Warrior and the Princess, a space opera for adults, is my favorite science fiction book that I’ve written.
Tell us a little about your most recent release. Where did you get your inspiration?
My most recent release is called, Whispers of a Faded Dreamer. I’ve had this idea in my head for a long time now. I get most of my story ideas from my daydreams and that’s where this one came from. The idea is that you can get paid to sleep because wouldn’t that be fantastic? I think I first started contemplating the story in high school or it may have even been in junior high. The story has evolved over time. Even from the time I started writing it to the completion of the story the plot changed significantly.
What are you working on now?
I’ve written a series for children called, The Super Seven. So far, there are five books in this series. I am now working on the next book, which doesn’t have a title yet. I want to write two more books to complete The Super Seven series.
Tell us about your creative process.
Most people assume that because I’m a writer and a published author that I find writing easy and fun. I don’t. I love the ideas in my head. I love holding my finished book in my hand. It’s everything in between that I find difficult. So my creative process looks like trying to figure out ways to get myself to actually write the story and then to edit it.
I have found joining different writing groups or participating in writing challenges to be helpful in getting myself inspired to write the story. I wrote my first novel during NaNoWriMo 2010. Now, I write a novel during this writing challenge each year. Also, participating in the 3 Day Novel Contest has been helpful for my productivity. I have written most of The Super Seven series during 3 Day Novel Contests.
Having accountability with writer friends has also been very beneficial. I meet with a local writers group in Steinbach where we read our stories to each other. It’s great hearing someone’s reaction to your story and looking at them to see their facial expression during the story. It really gives you a good idea about what kind of effect your story is having on people.
Recently I have bought the program Dragon Naturally Speaking by Nuance. This is a new part of my creative process, something that I’m starting to try out to help myself get excited about writing. With this program I can speak the story instead of having to type it. Some people say they have found Dragon Naturally Speaking to be very beneficial for their productivity. For me, that remains to be seen. So far, it is an interesting novelty. So the most important part of the creative process for me is feeling the inspiration and energy to be able to write.
Do you outline or just write wherever the story takes you?
As for being either a pantser or a plotter, I am more of a pantser. A pantser is someone that basically flies by the seat of their pants as they write, meaning they don’t really have an outline that they’re following. I like to go where the story takes me. Most often, I do have a general idea before I start though. It’s important to have a setting and characters in mind. I also like to have a beginning for the story in my head as well the major problem and how that problem is addressed so I will know how to start and where I’m trying to go.
What does your workspace look like?
I’m very lucky I have my own office where I do my writing. I would like to say that my office is neat and organized with a place for everything and everything in its place. However, the reality is that my office is usually a mess. Sometimes even finding a spot on my desk for my laptop can be a challenge. On the wall in front of my desk I have dozens of sticky notes, small posters and cards from friends displaying motivational notes, phrases and Bible verses. I like having these words nearby. When I am feeling tired or discouraged I read these notes and verses and then the inspiration comes back.
Do you have any habits or quirks when you are writing?
As for quirks or odd habits most of the things I like to do while writing are pretty normal. I like to have a cup of tea, for instance. I guess some of the things I do are a little unusual. One thing that’s a little unusual is that I prefer wearing something red when I’m writing. I find the color red inspirational. And I guess I do have a weird thing that I do during the writing process. I like bouncing while I think about the story. Before I got a knee injury, I used to jump on my trampoline while I worked out the story in my head. Since I am unable to do that now I had to find a new way to bounce. So now I have what’s called a Bounce Back Fitness chair – it’s chair where I can sit and bounce. I wrote about my Bounce Back Fitness Chair on my blog. My Bounce Back Fitness chair not only helps me think through my stories but also helps my mood a lot!
What do you find to be the hardest part of writing a novel? What about the easiest? What’s your favorite part?
As I mentioned earlier, I find the whole process of writing a novel difficult. I suppose the most difficult part of writing the story is the middle. At the start of the story I still have excitement and drive and also some knowledge of what will happen in the beginning. At the ending of the story I’m excited because I also usually know the ending and am excited to be almost done the story. The middle is kind of a no-man’s-land of I-don’t-know-what’s-going-to-happen and despairing of ever getting the story done. My favorite part is when I open a box and see the physical copy of my book for the first time. I just love spinning nothing into stories – stories that can light the way to a different world.
Thank you for sharing with us today Celesta Thiessen.