by Rhianna Urquhart, UK North Blogger for jaBlog!
Lil Chase is a British author who lives in London. Lil is a full time editor, and has also written and published her own books – Secrets, Lies & Locker 62 and Boys for Beginners. Lil will be speaking at the UK Junior Author’s Writing Conference on Sunday, May 18, 2014, and I was lucky enough to get to ask her some questions about her books and about the conference.
What’s your favourite thing about writing?
You might be surprised to know that I find writing a challenge. I don’t love it. But I do love using my imagination, and I love stories. The best stories should surprise the reader, but often my own stories surprise me. I love it when I’m working on a book and I think, “wow, I didn’t see that coming!”
You came up with the idea for one of your books, Boys for Beginners at age 11. Do you think that your experience makes you able to take young writers more seriously than some other adults?
Absolutely! If it can happen for me, it can happen for anyone. The first draft of Boys For Beginners was written in pencil, with terrible drawings, and the spelling was even worse. It was about 40 pages long, but sadly, unfinished. However, the idea of the story; the characters and the situations, were great. They were good when I wrote it aged 11, and they are still good now. As I said before, you’re never too young to start writing.
Did you ever think at the time when you wrote Boys For Beginners you would one day see it published?
Ha! Probably, as I was always a dreamer… But it is a miracle that something I wrote as a child was published twenty years later. A dream come true.
Onto the conference…have you ever spoken at a conference specifically for young authors before?
I have spoken at conferences for adult authors, and for young readers, but never for young authors. I have given smaller workshops for young authors and it’s great to see young people so enthusiastic about the writing they are doing in their free time. This conference has been necessary for a long while!
What made you want to speak at the conference?
A conference for young authors is such a wonderful idea. I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t writing stories. It took until I was an adult before I got published, but all the writing I did beforehand helped be become the kind of writer I am now. You are never too young to start.
What can we expect from your talk?
I’m going helping the group to develop their own stories. I’m guessing that most people who come along to my talk will have a book – or books! – they are working on (though it doesn’t matter if they don’t). My workshop is about taking that idea and enhancing it so that the plot keeps coming and they don’t hit a wall at chapter 17 (or so). Hopefully they will be surprised by their characters’ actions just as I often am by mine.
How do you think your talk will have an impact/influence on the young authors who attend the conference?
I am a firm believer in coming up with a plan for my books before writing them. (Though that doesn’t mean I always stick to it!) If I have a plan, I know where it’s going, and I don’t get writers’ block. The young authors attending my workshop will leave completely enthusiastic about their idea and where it’s going and how they are going to finish it.
If there is one young writer reading this interview who is unsure about buying a conference ticket, what would you say to them?
What have you got to lose?! It’ll be a fun day, you’ll learn a lot about writing – your own writing especially – and you’ll pick up some writing pearls of wisdom that will stay with you forever. You might also make some friends that will become the people you turn to for writing advice. Those kinds of friends are invaluable!
And lastly, what is one short bit of advice you would give to any aspiring young writer?
Write a lot. Read even more. Reading books you love will show you what kind of writer you want to be. Reading books you don’t like will steer you away from becoming a writing you don’t want to be. Which is probably more important.
If you want to hear more from Lil, before and after the conference, head along to her website, www.lilchase.com where you can find out more about Lil, her books or read her dog blog. Yes. Her dog has a blog. What more could you want? Tickets for the conference? You can get those locally through the Guildford Tourist Information Centre 01483-444334 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Scholarships, sibling discounts and group rates are available.