Amarillo author gives advice to budding writers
October 8, 2013
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There are millions of different takes on the classic story of Alice in Wonderland; however recently there have been a couple of books published by an author out of Amarillo that takes yet another unique view of it. Splintered follows Alyssa Gardner as she finds out about her maternal family’s mysterious past, as well as their odd gift for talking to the insects and flowers, a “gift” that sent her mother to the insane asylum. As Alyssa’s gift gets stronger, she is forced to enter Wonderland in order to save herself and her mother from madness.
This book is a good read for anyone that enjoys the Alice in Wonderland theme, or dark fantasies. The protagonist does follow the suit of being a teenage girl with plenty of angst, but she has the perk of not being overly dramatic and relatively down to earth for a teen whose mother has been committed since early childhood, not to mention the fact that everywhere she goes there are bugs and flowers talking to her.
A.G Howard wrote this book while working at a school library in Amarillo. The second in the trilogy, Unhinged, is due to be released in January, so you have plenty of time to read the first one before the next comes out. The third in the trilogy will be called Ensnared, and does not yet have a release date.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with AG Howard, and talking with her about the future of her characters, any advice she might have for fledgling writers, as well as her own inspirations. She told me, as mentioned before, that this was decided to be a trilogy, not wanting to get caught up writing about the same characters instead of spreading her literary wings and flying on to new stories.
Howard was born in Massachusetts, and with her father being in the Air Force moved around a lot; however the places she remembers the most is the Lubbock/Amarillo area. She had always been inspired by Alice in Wonderland, but Dr. Seuss was the one to first inspire her imagination. She also was inspired when her teacher would read the Wind in the Willows to her class when she was in school, as well as Charlotte’s Web and the way that she felt Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird was talking directly to her. Howard does read and watch all the different variations and different takes on the Alice in Wonderland story. It was not until Howard was working in a Middle School library that she remembered her inspirations, and how much she loved those voices, as well as finding inspiration for her characters from watching the kids.
I was told that she didn’t start out writing at a young age as many writers do, but would tell stories, especially when she would babysit at 13. Howard said she had to learn to write as she went from telling her stories to writing them down, writing and rewriting novels as she would learn and grow.
The number one piece of advice that AG Howard gave to me was to keep writing. Finish what you start and even while you are looking for a literary agent, something that is a really good idea to have if you are looking to be traditionally published, keep writing. It takes plenty of work and rejection and one lesson to be learned is tenacity. The more you write, the more you evolve as a writer and refine your craft.