A Little Something About Autumn Rivers:
Autumn is versatile in the genre she writes in. Her current published work is a YA romance novel The Good Girl’s SECRETS. She has built a small following on the social writing platform Wattpad and the first story that she shared, has gained over 32,000 reads and has won multiple first and second place awards as well as being featured on the website’s homepage for many months. Autumn has had a passion for writing ever since the fourth grade and has since been creating the worlds that she hopes to one day bring to life on the big screen.
Questions and Answers:
1. What made you want to be an author?
I have always been big on story telling from a young age. Since I can remember I have always wanted to be a person that wrote the kinds of stories that people would want to read over and over again, that they would retell the story as if they had lived in that world and experienced all elements of the characters. Book were my go-to and I found a lot of things helpful after reading so many. So, I always wanted to write those kinds of stories that people could enjoy and escape reality for a while.
2. Typically, what was the timeframe it took you to write your books?
I didn’t really have a set time frame to finish a book. I originally found Wattpad and just started writing for fun after reading a lot of books on there. There are so many talented people out there. So, I just uploaded when I could and seen people were actually reading what I wrote and liked it. I think I finished writing my first book in a year maybe but that’s because I was very casual about it. I wasn’t planning on it going anywhere.
3. Are you a planner or pantser?
I am definitely a punster type of writer. I can’t for the life of me get my head around planning an entire book. I like to see where my characters take me, because even when I do have a plan for a particular scene or character, it usually ends up changing and I like it better than my original idea.
4. What would you say is your unique writing style?
I’m not sure if I have a unique writing style, I just try to go with the flow. I’m more of a mood writer. If I’m not feeling it, I struggle and end up setting something aside until the mood strikes to revisit that story later. But I love it when everything just falls in to place and I can sometimes get twenty thousand words down in an afternoon, other days may only be a sentence or a few paragraphs and sometimes I don’t write at all. I’d say I have to be in a writing mood though.
5. Whether it be traditional, self, or story book apps. How did you find the publishing process?
I have written on Wattpad as you now know, and I have always wanted to be traditionally published by one of the five largest publishing companies. But that being said I chose to self-publish for now because I didn’t want to give up creative control nor did I want to wait six months to a year or more just to find an agent to represent me through query letter. I have learned so much about the process of self-publishing and I know I have so much more to learn, but I never realized everything that actually went into it. I don’t so much enjoy the process of formatting and editing, and the logistics of figuring all of that out, maybe I will the better I get at it, but for now, I just really love writing and I want to try to spend most of my time doing so instead of figuring out font sizes and all of that.
6. How much of your process includes doing research into your subject matter or plot?
I haven’t done a lot of research into my current books I’m writing, there wasn’t really a need for it, but if in the future it calls for it, I am more than willing to put in the work.
7. How old were you when you first discovered your passion for writing?
I don’t remember exactly what age I was when I realized I loved writing as much as I do, but I was very young. I didn’t know the name of the career choice per say, I just knew I wanted to be the person writing the books.
8. When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing with your time?
When I’m not writing, I’m trying to learn new skills that will support my career as a writer. I try to support other authors as much as I can, obviously I love reading and wish I had time to read more. I have a very entrepreneurial spirit and I am always looking for new things to learn and accomplish and I have a very busy home life with a family I love dearly. So, that goes without saying I spend a lot of my time with them.
9. Is your family supportive?
I have an awesome family that is very supportive. My husband is actually the person to thank for so much, because whenever I would get so frustrated that something wasn’t working, he would help in any way he could and push me to not give up because he knew how hard I had worked and how much I wanted this.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned about yourself in creating your books (characters, location, plot)?
I’d say one of the most surprising things I learned about myself is finding out I’m actually a decent writer. I never put much thought into it before, I was just writing for fun and to see where it went. But there’s been a few times that I have gone back and read something I wrote a while back and almost forgot that I had written it because it sounded so good. And I was extremely proud of myself that I had written a full book that made sense.
11. What is your favorite component about the genre you write?
My current WIP is a young adult, and I love this genre because there is so much room for my characters to grow. Their progression is beautiful and jarring and I can take these characters as they grow and write them a more mature setting maybe later down the road as adults. There are just so many options and I love it.
12. What advice would you give to help others become writers?
My advice for aspiring writers is just do not give up. If you love what you’re doing that’s all that matters. Write until your content, write when you have nothing to say, write when you have a million things to say. Because if you find something that you’re willing to do for free, and you love it, then that is what you should pursue in life. Find what makes you happy and perfect that something. Research, ask questions, learn as much as you can and enjoy the process.
13. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I hear from my readers more than I ever expected to. I loved reading every single comment I ever got on Wattpad, it would make me so happy to know people were actually enjoying my story. I’ve always had awesome feedback. No matter what the chapter was. If a character was in a tough situation, they would be emotional and feel for them like they were real. They would complement my edits and, the way a chapter would strike up strong emotions and had them needing to find out what was going to happen next.
14. Do you like to create books for your target audience?
Honestly, I wasn’t trying to write for a specific audience, I more so write the books that I want to read. I think that’s important. You should always love what you write in many ways. Whether it breaks your heart or makes you swoon over a certain character, your writing should ultimately be something you enjoy writing, because if you enjoy it, it will show in how it comes across to your readers.
15. What pulls you in about a book? Do you read a book based on the cover or the summary?
I read based on the summary of a book. If I have it in front of me, I will read the blurb and then flip to a random page to see if I resonates with me. Most of the time the blurb is enough to get me to buy it. If there are striking and unique characters that aren’t your traditional hero/heroin then that’s the book for me. And a bonus if the blurb reveals some kind of damaged or flawed character, I’m all for it.
16. How do you handle writer's block and what do you tell other aspiring authors who may be fighting or fearful about hitting that wall?
I unfortunately get writers block all the time. Like I said, I’m a mood writer, and there are many things that interfere with me being able to sit down and type away. My advice would set some time aside every day or maybe just a couple of days a week, and brainstorm. I like to think of my characters first, I usually name them, and then think of where they are in life. I have a list of notes on my phone that when I get an idea, I type them down to go back to later. Anytime I have an idea pop into my head, whether it be a conversation, and outcome, some kind of dramatic scene, I pick one and then write from that point on in the story. Then I go back in and fill in the missing parts at the beginning. Writing random things down like this helps me to further explore more of the story and I usually let my characters dictate what happens. Don’t be afraid of hitting a wall. We all do at some point. Sometimes that just means you might want to take a step back, read more books for inspiration and revisit your book when the time feels right.
I am currently reading The Good Girl’s SECRETS and I absolutely love it. I am more than halfway through and it is very difficult to stop reading and go to bed. Autumn has a nuance that resonates and revibrates off the page right into your heart. Her characters are broken and tragic but you really do route for them to be okay. Autumn knows exactly how to break your heart and just when you think she will give you a reprieve - she breaks it again. But it just makes you want to continue cheering Josephine on. I see great things for Autumn Rivers.