Author Roxanne Hunter, of the Venn series, took time out of her schedule to answer some interview questions for me. Once a writer of poetry, she soon realized that would not work for her, as she needed everything to rhyme. In high school she wrote, and finished, her first novel. She wrote, and rewrote, that novel and then moved onto something else. The author of the Venn series is a lover of Starbucks, as every writer should be! She currently lives in Tennessee with her fluffy sidekick named Rogue. By fluffy sidekick I mean a Norwegian Forest Cat, a very handsome fellow if I do say so myself. Read on to find out the questions posed to Roxanne and her answers.
*What was your life like before becoming an author?
Well, I started writing novels when I was fifteen. Before that, I never felt confident about anything and I was especially quiet. The more books I wrote, the better I felt and the easier it was to speak my mind. It was my way of finding out that I had a lot to say.
*When and why did you begin writing?
Back in high school I was friends with a guy named Gabe (yes I named that one character off of him but that character isn’t based off of him) and he started writing a novel. I had always liked writing but I’d never written a novel so I sat down in front of my computer one night and just started writing.
*When did you first consider yourself a writer?
The second that I got through the painstaking process of completing my very first novel, I was thinking “I’m a writer.”
*What inspired you to write your first book?
My very first book that I wrote in high school I got from a dream I had but I never truly completed it. I rewrote it several times and it’s on my to do list. For now, I’ll stick with books I can actually write.
*Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m very direct and my writing is fast-paced. I’ve finally embraced “show rather than tell” after years of just telling people things and I like writing from first person perspective. I might not always do that, but for now it’s what works. The other thing I’ll do is have a third person narrative but later on in the story, reveal who was telling it the entire time. I may or may not go back to that.
*How personal is your writing?
My writing is very personal. I see my books as a part of me. The characters in them are real to me and their experiences are real. I know it’s all fiction, but sometimes I think I can feel them. Crazy, right?
*What sparked the idea for your series?
I had read Push shortly before writing Venn and I had watched Sybil earlier that year. The novel Push really affected me because I couldn’t believe that all of these horrible things could be happening to the main character without someone doing something to help her. I found it unbelievable. I thought back to Sybil and it was similar—she underwent abuse and it was unknown for years. So, I was doing housework one day and I suddenly thought of a scene in my head: Venn sitting in a room at an asylum and talking about Jessie’s suffering. At that point, I wrote down the title and a little description on my computer and left it alone. I went back to it a few weeks later after I wrote in my journal for a couple of nights and the rest is history. It became a series because of my mother. She read it all the way through and said it didn’t feel like it was finished. I’m currently writing the fourth book (there will be six).
*Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
I have this saying: “I don’t have stories, I have characters. They introduce themselves and tell me their stories when they’re ready.” It’s not always the case but it is more often than not. Very rarely I will get an idea for a story and make a note about it somewhere but those are the stories I struggle to write. It’s easier if I have a character in mind already.
*What was your favorite part of the books?
I think my all time favorite part I wrote in any of my three books comes from the second installment of the Venn series. The scenes with Venn and the character Gabe were so fun to write and even more fun to read.
*What was the hardest part to write in the books?
The hardest parts to write in my books were the perspectives of the female characters. I have a more male mindset—I’m really direct, forward, etc. so it’s difficult for me to write from the perspective of characters that I’ve made to be especially feminine and make them sound real.
*What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
It’s a hard road, especially now with self-publishing being what it is. Don’t get me wrong—I’m so glad self-publishing exists because it gives creative freedom, no deadlines, and it is a nice alternative to traditional publishing. If I ever do become famous (dare to dream) I think I’ll continue self-publishing with Createspace. It’s a been a great experience. But getting back to the question, I would add: don’t give up.
*What is your favorite authors/books?
My favorite author and book change pretty often. For now my favorite book is The Sea Wolf by Jack London. My favorite author is Charlotte Bronte.
*If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
My grandmother from my mother’s side. I never knew her but I’ve always felt connected to her. I would ask her so many questions and we could talk for hours. I would love that.
*Where are you from?
Santa Rosa, CA. I lived there 23 out of my 24 years of life. I currently live in Kingsport, TN.
*Tell us your latest news?
My latest news is that I’ll probably publish my fourth novel in a couple of months. I’m very excited.
Roxanne's facebook page can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=hp#%21/pages/Venn/233588876651293. You can also find out more information on her website: http://roxannehunter.weebly.com/ Feel free to stop by either page to find out more, or visit her on Amazon to download her series. She has recently lowered the prices on her books, because in her words, "Books shouldn't cost a ton of money, darn it!"
Thank you for spending time with us! -Melissa
A room without books is like a body without a soul. -Cicero