The world feels as though it has so few artists now, and we often hear stories of failure rather than of success. That is why I was overjoyed to hear about Mikaela, who just recently published her first book! "Beyond Relatively Normal" is the first book in her "Tales from Neverland" series. She was kind enough to talk to me about her book and share some of her experiences and advice on writing.
First, I wanted to discuss with her the beginning of writing "Beyond Relatively Normal and what that Process was like. "I started "Beyond Relatively Normal" as it is now back in November of 2017," she said. "It was really easy getting started because of a dream I had that solved what needed to be done to fix the story. After that, it was a little more difficult, but I felt like it was going somewhere interesting, so I didn't give up."
I followed up by asking her about her writing process and how she handles writing a novel. That is one thing that several writers have trouble with, keeping a good writing schedule and finishing things, but she seems to have developed her own system saying, "The writing process is hard. It's annoying and infuriating and can break even the strongest of writers, but I found that making a deal with myself to write every single day, even if it's just a few sentences, helped me get through it."
She also added, "I always wrote the story straight through and didn't skip around to different chapters because that messed up my flow, but it works for some authors. Whenever I got into a slump, I would just read other books or watch a show or movie. Other artists are always good at inspiring."
I also asked her about some of the other struggles she faced. "My biggest struggles were making myself write and convincing myself that it was interesting enough to even be writing." She added another struggle that I feel every author, or creator struggles with, which is writer's block. "I got really bad writer's block a lot of the time and found myself staring at a blank page for hours trying to write with no luck, so it took quite a long time to write the novel."
Mikaela brought a lack of confidence as well, which is something I myself and lots of others struggle with. "Also, I'm lacking self-confidence in my writing skills, so I still haven't quite convinced myself it's a good story, but I'm slowly learning that there are people out there who wanted to hear that particular story, so it wasn't all in vain." I think that is definitely something that a lot of creators, myself included, don't think about when working on our art.
I also asked her to go back a little farther and discuss when she decided she wanted to be a writer and what inspired "Beyond Relatively Normal." "I decided I wanted to write my freshman year of college. I always loved writing and wrote stories when I was really young, but I decided that's what I wanted to do after I failed with theater." She also added she now knows that is what she was born to do. In regards to her inspiration, she said, "I loved "Into the Woods" and I wanted to do a combination of fairy tales of my own, so I took the darker side of fairy tales that we don't hear so often and put them together. I based a lot of my world building on H.P. Lovecraft's works to add to the horror."
It is always interesting to see how a novel evolves. Sometimes it starts a short story or novella, and it changes over time. I asked her if this was the case with "Beyond Relatively Normal," and she said, "I always intended for it to be self-published first and then maybe picked up by a publishing company later down the line."
Self-publishing is becoming more and more prominent with writers and artist in today's world, and there have been a lot of writers who choose this route. She was happy to describe to me what her experiences have been with self-publishing. "It was kind of difficult, and it still is," she said. "Marketing is the worst part. With publishing companies, they help you get out there and promote it, but with self-publishing, you're on your own, and that's a little scary. It's been great though. I think that every aspiring writer should self-publish at least once just for the experience of it all."
Lastly, I asked her if she had any advice she wanted to impart to any other aspiring writers. "This is super cliché, but I would say to never give up. I gave up several times. This particular novel was set aside for two or three years and almost completely forgotten about until I had a dream about how I could fix it, and now, here we are! Sometimes it feels hopeless but if that story is within you, it's going to come out. You just have to be patient with it." It is sound advice from someone who knows the struggles that writers face, and it shows that if you stick with it, a solution will come to any of the problems you may have. Also as a bit of teaser, I asked if she had a sequel in the works. "I am already on chapter four of the sequel, and I have high hopes of getting that one out in the next year or so."
It was amazing to hear from a writer and artist who truly followed her dreams and made them come true. I think Mikaela should be an inspiration to all aspiring artists to never give up just as she said. Her book "Beyond Relatively Normal" is available now on Amazon, and I look forward to seeing what stories she unfolds in the rest of the series.