Meet Abigayle Claire, our featured Author of the Month! Abigayle is the author of Martin Hospitality (you can find our review for her first novel, here!)
Don't forget to give this beautiful girl a follow on Instagram, check out her book, and you can even listen to our Podcast interview with Abi!
Are you a panster or a plotter, and why?
I’m definitely a combination—a plantser! I have to do some plotting, so I have at least a general sense of who my characters are and what they will go through in the storyline. I can’t write without an end goal or direction. But I also have to let go of the plotting at some point and just start writing. A lot of my individual scene ideas and conversations come to me more spontaneously once I’m in the actual writing process; plotting too many details in advance can take the joy out of diving in for me.
How long have you been writing?
I can’t remember a time before I didn’t write stories! (Not even kidding.) They were short, plagiarized, or unfinished for a long, long time. As far as finishing entire stories of all lengths for publication, I’ve been doing that since 2015.
Where's your favourite place to go, or your favourite thing to do when you need writing inspiration?
I like to go to local coffee shops to get work done when I need to get out of the house and be inspired (one word: peoplewatching). It’s not always super productive, but I enjoy the atmosphere. I also try to make storyboards on Pinterest, and playlists on Spotify for my more serious projects. Those help inspire me, as well.
How do you make time for writing, given your other life responsibilities?
I pick a bare minimum that’s achievable. (For the moment, that means I quit blogging weekly. But I still have a monthly street team newsletter, quarterly “blog” newsletter, and I try to keep up with some posts on social media.) I fit the rest in when I have the time, inspiration, or energy, and try to set myself small, achievable goals.
Do you have a favourite place to write?
The place I usually write is on my laptop, in my bed! I’ve tried other things, like handwriting, notebooks, and desks, but nothing else works for me quite so well (except for the occasional coffee shop, to shake things up).
What's the best bit of writing advice you've heard/seen?
I think my answer to this question is always different! I think one of the most helpful tips, for me, was being told that a first draft is just getting words on the page. The time to obsess over word choice and look up comma rules is later. As a writer and editor, I had to learn how to not do both at once!
Spring-boarding off of that, one piece of advice I always give other people (especially fellow indie authors) is to hire an editor! Or at the very least, don’t do all the editing yourself. Self-publishing does not have to equal DIY. The world needs your story, so act in its best interest, to make sure it’s quality after all that effort.
What's one thing the writing/editing/marketing/ publishing process has taught you? (This is a big question, haha, so if you've got up to three things, that's more than fine.)
I learned to balance the fine-line between professionalism and perfectionism. While I want all my books to be the best they possibly can, I could spend forever trying to get them to that point, and eventually I have to let go of any hiding typos and release it.
Along those same lines, I also learned that no one book is meant for everyone, and that’s okay. I have somewhat thick-skin anyway, so I enjoy reading all my reviews, positive or not. It’s been an interesting trend, that most people who leave me negative reviews do so because they just didn’t like it, plain and simple. That’s so encouraging to me because 1) there’s nothing I panic over and feel like I have to fix, and 2) it means the book simply wasn’t for them. And again … that’s okay!
Which of your novels has resonated most deeply with you and why?
All of them have resonated with me in different ways as I’ve written them. Everything I create comes from where I’m at personally, as I’m creating it. Going back and rereading them, sometimes I can see how I’ve grown, but also learn things for where I am now. So I think my current WIP will always be the one that resonates the most with me.
Do you prefer to write with music or without, and why?
I write with music probably 75% of the time now, just to help me tune out the noises of the house more (and so people know I’m working). Music with lyrics is somewhat distracting, but it often inspires me. (Those Spotify playlists are great.) I try to stick to instrumental, when I need productivity over inspiration.
What's been the most difficult thing about your writing career so far?
Probably the learning curve of finding a community, starting a blog, and figuring out how to self-publish. It was definitely overwhelming at times. Now that I’m more established, some of that is easier, but actually releasing a book never fails to stress me out at least a little. It’s a hectic balancing act of deadlines and unknowns.
What are some of your other interests and passions, besides writing?
I have a quirky love for wild mushrooms, geodes, and agates, and all things sky-related (clouds, sunsets, stars—you name it). I occasionally enjoy baking, and I’ll never decline a good period piece, board games, shopping trip, or a chance to hold a baby (of any species). Otherwise, almost everything I enjoy is bookish!
Who's your favourite author, and why?
Louisa May Alcott and C. S. Lewis are two of my absolute favorites, and it’s for the same reason. While I’m not even close to reading everything either of them has written, I enjoy the depth of their works, and that they explored multiple genres and audiences. Between the two of them, I’m always awed by how they capture the imagination and small parts of life, and subtly share their faith.
Abigayle has picture-proof of being enchanted by books since before her first birthday. Jotting down her story ideas in spare journals and word documents came later, leading her to self-publish her first novel at eighteen. Now she’s dedicated to not only creative writing, but to helping fellow storytellers refine their own words … when period drama films and wild mushrooms haven’t sidetracked her. None of her successes—from completing drafts to winning awards—would be possible without the support of her large family, online community, and Savior.