Thursday, August 27, 2015

Introducing Curious Wren (An Interview with Annie Hawthorne)


join the fun over at www.anniehawthorne.wordpress.com! 
Friends and fellow bibliophiles, I'm excited to introduce to you Annie Hawthorne, a dear friend of mine who just launched her first blog. (Tis the season! So exciting!) Annie is a dear, whimsical, sweet girl who has send dozens of encouraging tweets to me in our acquaintance. We've laughed together, discussed stories over the phone, prayed together, colored together...eaten coffee cake together. What better bond of friendship can you have?

Annie's created an online home for herself called Curious Wren. It's going to be a bookish sort of blog, and today I'm sitting down for an interview with her so you can get to know her better!

Schuyler: Hi, Annie! I'm so excited to host you for your brand-new blog launch. Since you're new to the blogging world, tell us a little bit about yourself. Hobbies? Family? Pets? Favorite food? Enchant us!

Annie: Hello, Schuyler! Thank you for hosting me! I'm delighted to be here today. *gives everybody chocolate chips*

Well, let's see... I am a people-loving, inquisitive, optimistic writer who tends to be guilty of hyperbole or making readers cry. Books are my treasure (or babies, that works too). My family is a large one and--having a strong strain of Spanish blood in us--we tend to be ridiculous, lively, demonstrative little humans, which I absolutely love. Someday I will have a fluffy cat, and a baby dragon which I'll have to bandage up every few days from fight casualties; but until then I console myself with mice I've knitted. I could eat pizza every day and not tire of it. Peppermint tea is my favorite, and the color blue makes my heart skip.

Schuyler: I love the way you growl at each other over Dutch Blitz games. :) And your baby dragons are simply adorable.

OK, so you call your blog Curious Wren--I love the whimsy! :) What is your hope for this blog, as far as what you hope to post and what readers will receive from it?

Annie: We do growl, don't we? Dutch Blitz is a serious and dangerous game, my friends. ;)

Curious Wren is going to be a very bookish blog. I plan to post articles about everything from writing tips to snippets to character studies to What I Love About Science Fiction, and why I like the movie Maleficient so much. I want my little window-seat of the cyberspace to be somewhere that people visit to be inspired, cheered, and have fun discussions about books, writing, and all that good stuff.

Schuyler: I love snippets! Actually, I love all things writing, but snippets especially are grand. And I can't wait to hear some of your thoughts on sci-fi, because that's a genre I know little about. Do you have a cozy nook or writing spot that you'll be writing these blog posts from? I love to picture authors in their work spaces. :)

Annie: And I can't wait to share with you my thoughts on sci-fi! My choice of "cozy nook" fluctuates between my desk and my older sister's bed. The desk has photos of friends and family, a hodge-lodge of notebooks, books, and precious items, plus artwork on the wall next to it, and everything's bathed in a soft glow from the faded pink lamp. Holly's bed, on the other hand, is near our bedroom window -- the white coverlet is soft, the scenery is lovely, and there's an inspiring ambiance about her quiet corner.

Schuyler: That sounds extremely cozy. A bed is the perfect place to curl up and write. :) OK, like most of us writers I assume you like to listen to music! Give us three soundtracks that you find inspirational for your writing muse.

Annie: Quite simply, music is the best. My list of inspirational soundtracks fluctuates depending on my mood/the book, but currently my muse flails over the first How To Train Your Dragon score, the main theme for Assassin's Creed III (https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EevWu6A1LPM), and certain songs from Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Schuyler: How To Train Your Dragon soundtrack. Epic awesomeness. O.o *fangirls with you* So. Owls. you like them. Tell us what you like about them, and some of the owl-decorated things you've collected over time (or if you prefer, what you want to collect).

Annie: Especially the track "Forbidden Friendship." O.O

Owls are easily the cutest animals ever, barring baby dragons, hedgehogs, and kittens. I love the wise persona they're often given, and there's so much scope for imagination when it comes to putting them in books. My owl characters in my current WIP are my favorite. Occasionally I'll just skim the story and fangirl over them. ^_^
Right now the only owl-related object I own is a bookmark you made for me -- which I love. Oh! And stationery I bought years ago. Someday I'd love to have mugs with owls on them. Maybe a poster for my wall, with an owl and quotes from my WIP on it. Owl socks. Owl notebook. A pet owl, obviously.

Schuyler: I didn't know I had given you your almost-first owl paraphernalia! How flattering. And a pet owl would be adorable.

I've known you for almost a year now, as a sweet friend, a wonderful writer, and a committed believer. And I know I'm not the only one your friendship has richly blessed. How do you see your role as a friend, daughter, and sister? What are some messages God has laid on your heart that you want to use to encourage those around you, both in person and online? (Some want to be a voice of truth, comfort, wise counsel, etc.)

Annie: Oh, help, I'm getting teary over here. Schuyler, you are so sweet! *hugs*

In a word, encourager. I want to be the best daughter, sister, and friend that I can be, and one of the best ways of doing that is being there for the people I love when they need it; listening to their heartaches, hopes, fears, and doing what I can to help, guide, and strengthen. I fail all the time, far more often than I succeed, but I know with my Heavenly Father's help I can accomplish whatever he wants me to. Even when I don't feel like it.

Something else that I try to show in my everyday life, whether on-line or in person, is how important thankfulness is. Please, don't misunderstand, I'm not meaning to be pompous or "Holier than thou" or anything of the kind. I've learned over the years through various hardships that unless someone is thankful they won't ever truly be happy or content. And so I see people around me struggling under the weight of multiple things, and it makes my heart ache, and I wish I could somehow show them if they focus on the good instead of all the bad that life is so much more joyful and less stressful. It doesn't change the situation, but the changed attitude helps incredibly. It took a lot for me to finally get through my head that God was teaching me that, and I still have to re-learn it over and over. Being thankful all the time, looking for the silver lining to every cloud is frustratingly hard, but life is so bright when I remember everything God has done for me, and how much I do have to be grateful for. So I try to live it, and maybe if God wills, I can be an encouragement to the people around me by doing so.

Schuyler: *hugs back* It's all the little graces that count up to the grand whole, isn't it? And counting them makes our hearts so full of gratitude that we in turn can encourage others. Amen. All right. Say your favorite author is coming over to visit. What would you whip up for dinner, and what would you make them for dessert? An elegant tea? A home cooked meal? Tell us!

Annie: Oh, goodness, my favorite author coming over for dinner would be an amazing and daunting prospect! O.O I think I would go for a light luncheon. Chicken salad, fruit, cheese ball, coffee cake, and afterwards tea and scones while we sit outside under the trees. Of course, depending on who the author was I might change the menu -- a hobbit meal for Tolkien? *grin*

Schuyler: That sounds like one of the lunches we had! I love it. But you might want to add mushrooms for Tolkien. :)

Sisters. You have several. What's your favorite part about living with older and younger partners-in-crime?

Annie: Well, I have you to thank for coffee cake being on that menu! < 3
Oh, my. I don't even know where to begin. O.O My sisters and I are very close. We're like a really small gang -- and yes, I stole that from Pinterest. ;) They're my toughest critics, unfailing supporters, and my go-to people when I need to fangirl/hyperventilate/brainstorm over Book Stuffage. I love how we bounce ideas off each other, always have each other's backs, can communicate volumes with one meaning look or word, have oodles of inside jokes and moments, and can (usually) read books at the same time without fighting over them. It's utterly amazing having sisters who are bookworms, writers, and deep thinkers too. I can be myself around them; I can be comfortably silent if I want, I can sing the Hallelujah chorus at the top of my lungs if the inclination comes over me, I can ask for prayer and know they'll actually do it, I can dance a jig in the rain and know they'll join me (and if they don't, they're having fun anyways), and I can spout my people-watching snark and they laugh and nod sympathetically.

They understand me. And it's wonderful.

Schuyler: Sisters are special soul mates, aren't they? Yours are of the race that knows Joseph. :) Besides sisters, what are some everyday graces you're thankful for? (Books, food, clothing, blogs, etc.)

Annie: "The race that knows Joseph." I love that you just said that. Montgomery for the win! ^_^

I'm going to answer this with something I wrote several years ago. Basically a small list of things that I'm grateful for, things that make me happy. Because lists are the best.

A smile on a stranger’s face, a giggle from a tiny baby, the smell of coffee, the sharp black silhouettes of trees against the deep blue of an evening sky, a bird chirping, a tight, never-let-you-go hug from my brother, a flash of vivid colour, the clink of heeled boots on a wooden floor, teardrops from the sky splashing against glass panes, the feel of satin, the smell of rain, books that make me cry, Sehnsucht moments, laughing so hard your chest aches, train whistles at night, cider or hot chocolate so burning hot it makes you cough, flaming sunsets, flannel shirts, catching fireflies.

Schuyler: Lists of small graces are my favorite thing to read. Tell us a little bit about your current writing project. What's it about? Who are the characters?

Annie: My current WIP is all blurry in my mind -- the MC is still unnamed, and it doesn't even have a working title, for pity's sake. *huffs and shakes brain* This is my least favorite state of affairs, but! It stars a snarky cat who's a bit full of it, and absolutely adorable -- to me, at least. He and his bird friend Prism get up to all sorts of dangerous shenanigans ("beautiful word, shenanigans.") in the steampunk-ish city they terrorize, all while trying to keep a wild, little girl from being killed by a vengeful faerie before she even has the chance to grow up. It's a shorter project that I'll be scribbling like a small, fierce maniac for the next month, and I love it so much I wish I could give it a hug. *clutches notebook close*

My other WIP is a sci-fi Beauty and the Beast re-telling called I am Juliette (the first book in a series of re-tellings) and at the moment I'm editing the third draft -- read: panicking, and alternately wanting to hug the manuscript or chop it into little pieces and feed it to the sharks.

Schuyler: Annie, I am Juliette was so enchanting. I am deeply moved whenever I remember it, and I can't wait to see it in print. Could you share a snippet of your writing with us?

Annie: Stop, you're going to make me cry again! *hugs you* Just for those lovely words I'll share more than one snippet. ^_^ 

From I am Juliette:

1. “You can see me. How can you see me?” I demanded, “Your eyes aren’t open.”
The man shifted.

“Why do they have to talk?” I heard him mutter before he said clearly, “You don’t have to see hallucinations to imagine them.”

2. “Humans,” the Owl addressed the cabin, “have very weak minds.”

3. Our eyes locked and I wished again for something to call him by.
No wonder children are given names the moment they’re born.

4. A chair is a wonderful thing.

Unless, of course, it was designed by someone who considered comfort a vanity, and one’s toes barely brush the deck when they sit on it.

From one of I am Juliette's sequels:

Day 455.
Vince has altered his look.
He now has spiky hair (still deep black), an evening suit (of all things!), and cowboy boots.

Love the boots, but other than that he looks like an absurd, brooding vampire. I say it's his way of sulking 'coz I dyed my hair silver instead of brunette--his suggestion. Of course, Vince denies it emphatically.

(Fond of her adverbs, isn't she?)

I disconnected the holotank here in my control room so I can't see his hologram. I did try just shutting it off, but he kept switching it back on.

Wretched AI.

So, I've ripped the wires out. And--being only a brilliant computer with no fingers--he can't do anything about it. No matter how much he fumes.

(Anyone who can see these files--other than Metal Brains--must be a scientific genius, hence will know that an AI NEVER fumes.)

I love these characters so much. O.O

Schuyler: The Owl. Such a gem. I think you should give out pet PONDs as part of your I Am Juliette fan club. ;) Thanks so much for joining us today, Annie! :hugs: Hasn't she been fun, everyone? Go check her out at Curious Wren, and don't forget to enter the fantabulous giveaway. :)

Annie: Oh, I wish! I can't tell you how much I want a pet POND of my own. O.O We shall just have to satisfy ourselves with the fictional versions. ;)

Thank you so much for having me, Schuyler! I had a delightful time. :hugs: Isn't she brilliant with her questions, m'dears? I'm so happy I was able to be here today! 


Annie Hawthorne is a twenty-something writer who tends to be guilty of either hyperbole or crafting scenes that make her beta-readers cry. If she's not scribbling YA fantasy and speculative fiction, then she can be found interacting with her family as one of its more lively members or attempting to shorten her TBR stack (it never works). She practices piano badly, and photography even worse. People-watching, long road-trips, dissecting movies, Doctor Who and LOTR marathons, wearing red heels, and collecting mugs are always on her To-Do list. She chases beauty, and is a child of God. Annie talks books, writing, and life at https://anniehawthorne.wordpress.com. You can find her Twitter account https://mobile.twitter.com/account

4 comments:

  1. I can't wait to read your thoughts on sci-fi, Annie! I would love to know other Christians' thoughts on the genre, as my current long-term WIP is sci-fi. And owls. Owls are amazing. What else can I say?

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  2. Gah, I LOVEEEE those snippets. *hugs them* Seriously, I need to read this. (ever need a beta reader? *hint* *hint*)

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  3. You can't imagine how much I enjoyed reading this interview, Annie and Schuyler.

    I can't wait to read your post about sci-fi. My current WIP, which I'm currently rewriting and rewriting and rewriting, is sci-fi and it's been fun to write so far. However, for this fourth draft I'm going to need to do a ton of research because I completely ignored it for all the other drafts. My little self from before thought I could get away with research by not writing a historical fiction book. Ha! *pats little innocent past self* I do really want to try historical fiction for my next book, though.

    Owls! Baby dragons! Kittens! Hedgehogs! I want all of those so badly and I want them all to stay babies forever. How exciting that you feature owls in your books. That's positively charming!

    Awww, I love your mission statement so much. Sometimes it can be really hard to change my attitude and find a way to be grateful about things like stress from school or other hardships, but there is always something to be thankful for in any situation. I value school and work hard at it, but I also complain about it a lot inwardly and I'm trying harder to keep on reverting myself to a positive attitude whenever I'm stressed out about it.

    Ah, your list of little graces is so wonderful and poetic. I'm shy around babies, but yes, there giggles are the best thing ever. So precious and sweet! I wish everyone in the world valued that.

    I love your snippets as well. Your writing style is so swashbuckling and thoughtful at the same time. I hope to see many more snippets on your blog. (That might have possibly been a passive agressive order. :D)

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  4. Aww, I love this interview, my dear Annie and Schuyler! It was so sweet to read, and I had a lot of fun with both the questions and answers *hugs* :). <3

    I want to hear you growl over Dutch Blitz, Annie! ;) I just love how close you are to your sisters and share a love of writing and books with them - that is such so sweet, and a wonderful thing. Sisters are truly one of the most precious gifts :D. I also love what you shared about giving thanks and being thankful in life - that's one of those lessons that the Lord has been teaching me a lot lately too!! :)

    Aww, I just love your snippets - some of them I already know, which makes me super happy, but some of them are new (YAY!). I love the PONDS so much! Also I'm so intrigued by your new story, Annie darling :). It has really piqued my interest!! A story about feline cats in it makes me smile and think of Stengl's Eanrin :D.

    I look forward to reading about your upcoming posts especially the one about Science-Fiction - that is one I want to especially know more of your thoughts on because I'd like to be more familiar with it :)).

    Can't wait! <3 :D

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