What inspired you to write?
My adolescent years were lonely, and I felt utterly bored with the world. I didn’t like to deal with drama the other girls my age did. I just wanted to feel something special and unique about life that I could share with others. I wanted to help others open their minds to see the world in a different light. When I was in the middle of my teen years, I discovered that I could do just that with writing.
It wasn’t enough to read about a walk in the woods.
I wanted people to hear the crunch of dried leaves underneath their boots, and smell the smoky, earthy scents as they imagined it.
Did the inspiration to write come to you suddenly, or had you been thinking about it some time?
I quite literally just picked up my pencil in 9th grade chemistry, grabbed a notebook, and started writing.
That story is still a work in progress that I intend to release this year, 2017. Since then, I’ve written several short stories for anthologies, and for myself. Some are published and available now for the world to read.
How did you tell your story? In other words, did you use an outline, or just write your story from start to finish?
To other writers’ horror, I am a pantser. I don’t outline. I get an idea, and I write until the pictures in my mind stop.
Did you receive any encouragement from family and friends, or did you work on your book alone?
My oldest brother was the only one who every showed true interest in my writing, from the beginning. Now that my oldest daughter is old enough, she loves to spend time listening to the stories I’m working on.
What was the most difficult part of writing your book?
Editing. Once I go through my story two or three times, I lose interest in fixing things. It’s like a part of my mind says, “nope. You told the story. You’re done now. It’s out. Move on.” It’s very hard to publish anything when you have to edit a book several times.
What was the most enjoyable aspect of writing your book?
Delving. I absolutely adore the days when I have my music playing in my ears, my eyes too close to the screen, my body tense, and my mind deep inside my story. Delving so deep that the real world is a blur around me. It’s such a rush!
Did you experience any personal transformation after the book was published?
The realization that my words reached random parts of the world. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, my words reached Ghana, Nigeria, Thailand, New Zealand, India, the Middle East, and more! I received emails about religion, thank you letters from parents, and fan mail from kids/teens. Knowing that I can impart ideas that can change others’ views made me more courageous in what I push through my stories, and more motivated to keep writing.
What’s something that gets in the way of your creativity?
Emotions. If I’m super stressed about life-problems, I can’t focus on my writing. If I’m not sleeping, the brain-fog sends me into a cloud of brainfog.
What strategies do you use to deal with criticism?
I don’t have any strategies, to be honest. I’m pretty open to it, and accepting of the fact that I’m learning every day. Writing gets better, and people have ideas that can help. If I don’t like an idea, I don’t apply it, but I say thank you and move on. Anyone who can’t take criticism of their work, probably shouldn’t be writing. No one knows it all, no matter how long they’ve been writing, and no matter how famous they are for it.
Where did you grow up and what is your favorite/worst childhood memory?
I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. My favorite memory actually turns out to be somewhat fabricated by my mind, to be honest! My mind tells me I was seven, and it was a beautiful, sunny, Summer morning. I crossed the street and realized how pretty the day was. I looked over my shoulder at the mountain that rose behind the neighborhood.
A few years back, I went to see my childhood house and remembered that day. I looked up behind the neighborhood and realized…there is no mountain there. There never was. The neighborhood is in the middle of a desert!
My worst memory would have to be around the same age, again, in the middle of Summer. Our air conditioning broke, and we were AC-less for most of the afternoon. My brothers and I were in our room, playing video games, dripping sweat. The fan was on, but it was just pushing more hot air on us. The light in the room was orange, as the sun was starting to go down, and I remember watching the dust float around the room, thinking about how miserable that moment was.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
What is your favorite show on TV?
I have several childhood memories of sitting on the sofa or on the floor, watching it with my dad.
The Lord of the Rings. I wrote full blog about why I love it so much here, https://lfoake.com/2016/01/29/lord-of-the-rings-why-the-fandom/
The Bridge to Terabithia. I’ve loved that story since I was a kid! And Tuck Everlasting. And Where the Red Fern Grows.
Who would you want to meet if you could? Dead or alive.
Alan Alda. I would like to have lunch with him some day.
Is there a talent you wish you had?
I wish I could sketch. I’ve tried, but I just don’t seem to have the talent, or the patience.
What’s something about you that would surprise us?
I can twist my arm 360 degrees around, then bend my elbow backwards. You can see it on this random tweet to Jimmy Fallon. https://twitter.com/LF_Oake/status/820443449459666945
Describe yourself in 3 words!
Nerd. Queen. Bubbles.