We decided to do some group questions for Caja Coyote and then some individual questions for each teen author. We hope that you enjoy reading their responses as much as we did! Maybe their answers might just inspire that reluctant writer in your house!
When reading the book, I didn’t realize that there were five young talented authors, involved in writing this story. The story seemed to flow from one character to another, was it difficult to blend your different writing styles?
CARLY: "I think that making the continuity flow from chapter to chapter was somewhat difficult, but I think our different writing styles was actually a good thing because each character was unique themselves, and the writing styles helped give each a unique voice."
ZOE: "Blending our writing styles into one cohesive story was one point I was worried about in the earliest stages of the book. We had all read some of each others' work before writing Fractured Fate, so we were aware of each others' writing voices. This wasn't a problem though, because the differences in our writing styles helped to differentiate the characters, and writing in first person made the changes in style sound more natural. However, it did take some discussion and editing to sort out a few plot inconsistencies. Chapter 19 springs to mind as a hard to edit chapter."
K.T.: "Yes and no. We already decided to talk to the author whose character would be in the scene with ours. Plus Mrs. Lisa unscrambled the things that didn’t connect".
JOSHUA: "Yes, it was very difficult. I don’t know what the others did to have them flow but I took inspiration from a video game. You would switch characters through the game and be thrown into different sub-plots. Like rescuing a comrade. I liked how they had the transitions flow together so where one part ends the next begins."
I read that all of you took a writing class with Lisa Cottrell-Bentley, was she an important part of collaboration on the book? Was she available to help meld all the ideas together?
CARLY: "Yes! Lisa helped us organize our thoughts, edit the story, and make the plot better."
ZOE: "We wouldn't have met if we hadn't all been in her writing class. Lisa played many important roles when making Fractured Fate, including editor, organizer (figuring out when and where we could meet, planning helpful activities like making a timeline and character information sheets, etc.), and moderator so all of us was able to get our ideas out. She was always available for help, but made sure to let the five of us be in charge of the story."
K.T.: "Yes, she was very important. She helped us to stay focused and she kept us level."
JOSHUA: "She was very helpful and important. In my opinion she was like the referee on the field helping to settle arguments. I guess she would be more like the UN."
ROCKET: "Yes, she was."
Who has been your major inspiration with taking up writing? Do you all see yourself writing more books?
CARLY: "I just love to write, and my inspiration comes from when I get an idea for a story or character that I feel I just have to write!"
ZOE: "I've been inspired by many people, things, and ideas. I think I look at books differently when I've met the author and know what they're like, and seeing stories from this perspective makes it clear how writers are real people who get help from other people, and stories don't usually come out fully formed. This is encouraging when I don't know where to go with a story. I am currently working on writing several different stories, but I don't yet know which ones I will finish or whether they will be published. Right now, I'm writing more fiction than ever before, partly because Fractured Fate helped me get back into the flow. I'd really like to write more about Valencia Grant at some point in the future."
"For the most part I had no inspiration. Yet, I did have a publishing company that spiked the want to write: Steeple Hill. No, I do not see myself writing another collaborative book, but I do see many single author books in my future."
"I didn’t take inspiration from any author. It was more from disappointment that I started writing. I hated how authors would leave a story open and never finish it, or if they ruined it completely. From this disappointment I started thinking about my own stories and ever since then I have been writing them. A definite yes on writing another book. I would love to write more on my Joe character because there is so much untold about him."
"Hmm… I would say practically any author I've read so far. I do see myself writing more. Either more on Drake, or other books I've started."
When you all were coming up with their supernatural powers for your characters, how did you decide which character would get which power?
"We wanted each character to have a different "superpower" that would allow them to contribute to the group in a special way. We kind of just thought of that would be on our own, choosing based on our character's personalities (and a little bit based on our own personalities too)!"
ZOE: "One of the first things the five of us did was decide who our characters were. We independently wrote up the name, appearance, traits, back story, likes and dislikes, skills, and whatever else came to us about our characters. When it came to the character who we wrote as, we got final say–I had final say on what Valencia was like, and everyone else had the same for their characters. To make our characters both interesting to write and not too challenging, we gave our characters some traits which are the same as ourselves and some which are drastically different. Once we knew the we were going to write about superheroes, we gave our characters superpowers. What superpower our character had was one of many qualities we knew we'd need to come up with. Some of us made the decision more easily than others. I love discussing superpowers, but I actually had a lot of trouble deciding on a superpower for Val. Natalie, Drake, Joe, and Grace each had their powers decided by their respective authors when we got together one week, but Valencia did not. The five of us were discussing the
five main characters, reading our character descriptions and asking questions about them. Val's ability to control the weather was actually not my idea but someone else's, I don't remember whose, based on her goal of being a storm chaser. I'd wanted a more unique power, but it fit her well, so I agreed."
K.T.: "We all decided to give our characters the powers we would want if we had powers, but we all had better ideas than just that. Grace was, originally, supposed to only run super fast and have fast reflexes, but because of Levi we altered Grace to be a super human who never died."
JOSHUA: "At first we all wanted to do a different story. Everyone had their own idea but somehow mine was basically taken and rewritten with what everyone wanted. But the powers kind of came from everyone's own stories. In Zoë’s idea, her character was a storm chaser. So why not give her control over the weather? Rocket’s character had this red hair and dragon tattoo. Why not give him flame? K.T. had already decided that she wanted Grace to have speed and superhuman abilities. Then came Carly. Sadly I don’t remember how she chose her character's power but I believe she already had it in mind."
" I came up with Drake's power to match his "cold" personality, I gave him the fire element–classic fire and ice."
Who wrote for the character, Levi?
"Katherine and Joshua worked together to write the first chapter from Levi's point of view, and I wrote the last chapter from Levi's point of view."
ZOE: "Since Levi was a sixth point of view to write from and there are five people in Caja Coyote, we decided who would write scenes in his point of view based on who could write those particular scenes best and who volunteered to write them. The first scene went to Joshua, with help from K.T., because he came up with a great first line which could be expanded to a first chapter. The later scenes were written by Carly, who volunteered to write them and was able to fit in all the plot, thought, and emotions needed for those scenes successfully."
K.T.: "Levi was a mixture of Joshua, myself, and Carly."
JOSHUA: "I believe it was three of us. Mainly K.T. and Carly. But I would give more credit to K.T. for forming who Levi was, because Levi was mostly her character that she created. Everyone else just kind of met him and didn't interact fully with him."
ROCKET: "Collaborative character."
Being teens, what is your take on homeschooling?
CARLY: "I really can't answer this question because I'm not and have never been a homeschooler (Rocket and I both attend school in our town). That being said, it was definitely fun to meet new people in the writing class that I otherwise wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet in school since they're homeschooled."
ZOE: "I've been homeschooled, specifically unschooled, for my whole life. Most of our characters have had similar educations to us. Like Val, I've found that being homeschooled gives me the freedom to explore my interests as deeply as I want, and also provides a very flexible schedule, perfect for finding time to save the world. She and I both have friends in school and out of school, but we're happy being homeschooled."
"I believe that homeschooling is an effective, safe way to teach your kids. They don’t have to be force into things by peer pressure and other things that are never good for the child’s mind. I also believe that the child can become more connected to the parent who teaches them."
JOSHUA:" I love it. Being homeschooled I am able to do more with my free time, like go hunting or writing a book."
ROCKET: "I have no take, since I've never been a homeschooler. Beats having teachers, I bet."
Questions for CARLY:
From your about page, I see that you are very active in your community. Is there something that you would like to take on that you just don’t have the time for?
"Not really, I try and seize every opportunity I find to get involved in something (even if it means not having too much spare time!) so I generally find I have time to do everything I want to."
In the story, Natalie’s ability was one that I would love to have myself! If you had her power in real life how would your life be different?
"Studying for tests would be easier! I would probably try and take advantage of the power for school work and personal use, but I think I would also be pretty cautious with it, as Natalie was."
Questions for ZOE:
In 15 years, you have done more than most adults, what is left to do on your “To Do” for your life?
"I have a lot of goals and I'm constantly finding new projects to do. Some of my goals include: working for NASA as an exogeologist, working for Jeopardy! on the Clue Crew, and visiting all 50 U.S. states, of which I've been to 40. After going to all the states, I'd love to go to all the continents. Right now I'm making a Jeopardy! style video trivia game called Zoe's Geo Party!, adding more and more to my Exogeology ROCKS! website, writing half a dozen fiction stories on and off, traveling, and getting settled in Milpitas, California, where I now live part-time."
What similarities do you have to your character, Valencia?
"Valencia Grant and I share a love of science, though we prefer different types–she's passionate about meteorology, weather, while I think exogeology, the geology of other planets, rocks! A humorous similarity between us is that people will often say we have a different hair color than we do. She has red hair and hates having it called brown, but I have brown and get annoyed when people confuse it for red. We'd probably say the same thing when asked about it. Her/Me: "Have you seen my mom's hair? She has brown/red, and I have red/brown."
Questions to K.T.:
Something funny about Grace was she was deathly afraid of poodles, did you add that in for a weird twist to her “strong” character?
"I thought this attribute was hilarious and my colleagues thought it to be, too."
Grace lived with her grandparents, because of the death of her family; how close are you to your grandparents? Were their personalities, hobbies, etc. based on your parents or grandparents?
"I know them. I gave Grace’s grandparents personalities that I would have wanted to be in my grandparents, but Grace needed to have her special grandparents. So, they were not made completely into my fantasy grandparents".
Questions to JOSHUA:
Your character, Joe, was the leader of the group. Do you share the natural ability of being the leader of the group?
"This question would be better asked of the others. To be a leader you must have followers. I do not know who would follow me if I led. And I hope I never will led. I will accept responsibility if I must, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. The only reason Joe was chosen to lead was because I mentioned that the team would need a leader, even if all he did was make suggestions and be the responsible one. Then Lisa suggested Joe be the leader. The others agreed and then I just wrote how I believe Joe would lead a team of very different teens. And, of course, there was going to be an issue with Drake because he’s a hot head. I bet you all thought he was going to be the leader because of his ability, huh?"
How did you come up with Joe’s background story?
"I have no idea. I woke up in the middle of the night with this idea and wrote it down."
Questions to ROCKET:
Your character, Drake,seemed to be very guarded when it came to meeting up with the “others” like him. Are you like that with meeting new people?
"I would say no. I'm a little shy sometimes, but not like Drake. I look forward to meeting new friends, Drake doesn't want to meet new people."
I saw from your about page that you love to draw, are you wanting to maybe go into doing illustrations instead of writing?
"No. I love to write, but drawing is currently just a hobby of mine."
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