Monday, May 23, 2011

Inspired by a Teacher and The Simpsons

Working full time and writing is hard. A few weeks ago, I met someone who is so dedicated to his craft that even though he has a day job he spends six hours a day writing on weekdays and longer on weekends.
His day job: New Jersey middle school student. His age: 12. 

I met Chris P on his twelfth birthday. (I met his mom too, who confirmed the amount of hours he spends churning out stories). I was so inspired by Chris that I wanted you all to meet him. Plus when he becomes a famous author, I can say that I gave him his very first interview.  Fortunately he agreed to stop by Ramble Street and answer a few questions.

So please welcome 12-year-old writing prodigy, Chris P.

Hi Chris, so how’d you get started writing?

I love to write. I can throw my emotions into my stories, and just have fun with it. When I first decided to write a novel, I started at 8 pages a day. In language art classes, I hated to brainstorm. I always just started writing whatever came to mind on a subject.
My fifth grade teacher always made me write more than everyone else, because she knew I had potential. If she said one page for everyone, it was two pages for me. I would write and write, and if it wasn’t better than the last, I had to redo it. Then I wanted to write a novel. 

 How many hours do you write a day?  And tell me a little bit about your writing process.

I write at least six hours a day. If I write less than six in one day, I write more the next. I feel that if I break my routine, I’d be hurting myself, because I’d wind up with writing less and less each day. So I write on a strict schedule.

If my friends want to be in the novel, I pick the first three friends who ask. I wound up adding my friends Abby, Nick and Jess. They supported me the whole way. When I ask them, they give me ideas about what I should do.

Ha! I put the names of my friends into my stories too. 

Your mom mentioned that you’ve already sent in your first manuscript to some publishers. How’s your submission process going?

I’ve sent manuscripts to two large publishing companies. They both rejected me. It felt bad at first, but I know that some of the best authors get rejected plenty of times. Someone told JK Rowlings that she wouldn’t make money off of children’s books. Harry Potter is a best seller!

Where do you get your inspiration?

Two things inspired me to write a novel. One was an episode of The Simpsons where Marge decides to write a novel and it gets published.
The other was my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Mulrane. It was like she could see the futures of her students.

I’ve never seen that Simpsons episode, but I have been lucky enough to meet teachers like Mrs. Mulrane.

What authors inspire you?

One is Rick Riordan, who has written two book series in three years. The other is Eoin Colfer who has written lots of books and is still going. I can’t wait for Rich Riordan’s new book!

What type of stories do you write?

   I mostly like to write "Sword and Sorcery" stories, because fantasy and mythology have always fascinated me. I love the idea of magic, alchemy and armies storming castles. I love to read fantasy books because it’s like a movie of magic and warriors and castles right in your head. I think writing is the best of the arts.

 Thanks again for stopping by Ramble Street, Chris. Keep writing!


cleemckenzie said...

One wonderful interview! I have a very strong hunch that Chris is on his way to being a widely acclaimed author. I'll be looking for his alchemy and magic on the book shelves.

Thank you both for the post.

Anne M Leone said...

Wow! Go you, Chris! To be honest, I'm completely jealous! I really wish I had started writing when I was your age. I think I thought I had to be an adult first, but of course now I know that's not true at all. Best of luck with your writing.

Oh, and that's one of my FAVORITE Simpsons episodes! =)

Anora McGaha said...

What an inspiration. 6 hours a day! Chris, do you have a website? Or a blog? Or a Facebook Page, so people can show their admiration and support for you?

anne Mazer said...

Wow, Chris, it sounds like you have an overflowing imagination. With your love of writing, commitment, and persistence, you have an excellent chance of getting published some day. Just don't worry if it takes a while! For me, it was seven years and that's pretty standard. It's also good to give yourself time to grow up and to become a really, really good writer. So enjoy your writing! Hope to read your books in the future!

Gina Perry said...

Thank you for such an insightful interview! Chris, clearly you have found work you love at an early age - congratulations! Many of us search decades, and others never find work to be so passionate about. I look forward to reading your first published novel someday.

nanmarino said...

Thanks so much for your comments, everyone. I know that Chris will be happy to see them.

none said...

Wow. If only I had that motivation, and self-awareness, at that age. Keep up the great work, Chris.

This just jumped out at me: If my friends want to be in the novel, I pick the first three friends who ask. I wound up adding my friends Abby, Nick and Jess. In my current work-in-progress, I have three characters with the exact names. That is spooky.

nanmarino said...

L.E. Falcone, All three names are the same? That is odd. *cues spooky music*

Stephanie J. Blake said...

What a cool kid!

Chris, keep submitting! I have over 200 rejection letters in my file.

Kelly Hashway said...

Great interview. Chris, you are an inspiration! I love your dedication to your writing. I have no doubt you will get published. Good luck!

nanmarino said...

Thanks for your comments, Stephanie and Kelly.

Nikki said...

Chris, you are an inspiration! Sometimes I find it hard to devote that kind of time day in and day out to my writing. Next time I feel the urge for an extended coffee break, I'll just re-read your interview!
I hope you can find a good critique group or partner to help you polish your work - that's what has helped me the most. Then, send it to agents who represent your genre. My agent has a teenage client, and another in the same building has two - who are winning awards and selling tons of books. So you can do it!
You have a great attitude and an amazing work ethic. Good luck!

Christy Raedeke said...

Wow, what an amazing kid! With that kind of determination and discipline it's really only a matter of time before he's published. Very inspiring for those of us who work and write. :)

Katia Raina said...

And my friends think I am productive? OMG. You put us whiny grownups to shame! :)
Okay, that's IT, I am doing it Chris' way now. Six hours a day, here I come! Thanks for the inspiration, Chris.

nanmarino said...

Nikki, Christy, Katia,
I can't help being inspired by his dedication, but he's also a really nice kid. I think it's only a matter of time before we're all reading one of his published books.

Anonymous said...

Chris sounds like an awesome kid. He has great focus and already a thick skin with the rejections. I wish him luck in his endeavors. :)

nanmarino said...

Thanks for your comment, Medeia. Hope you're doing well :)

Chris P. said...

Hey, guys! it's Chris! Thanks for the support! I'm glad that there's people in the world like you who support me.