Saturday, 7 February 2015

Getting to Know the Authors: Featuring Starla Hutchon!

        A geek of all trades, Starla Huchton has been crafting stories in various genres since 2007. She is a three-time finalist for Parsec Awards for her podcast fiction work, and was the first place winner for Science Fiction & Fantasy in the Sandy competition in 2012. Her work spans science fiction, fantasy, New Adult Romance, Young Adult titles, Steampunk, Contemporary, and various other varieties of stories. She is greedy and likes all the genres!
        When not writing, Starla trains three Minions, a black lab, and a military husband whilst designing book covers for independent authors and publishers at Designed By Starla.

What has she written?
Starla has written:
Shadows on Snow, Evolution: ANGEL, Evolution: SAGE, Evolution: HEX, Maven, A Ministry of Peculiar, Occurrences: Tales from the Archives, Volume 3, The Dreamer's Thread, Nemesis, Progeny, Sorrow's, Peak, From Paris, with Regret, The Sincerest Form of Flattery, Heart of War, Master of Myth, In the Details, The Blame Game, All Good Things, That You Do So Well:

 and her newest novel: 

The Stillness of the Sky
Once upon a time, my life was certain: it was insignificant, and it was cruel. But I refused to let it define me, no matter how great the cost.

Once upon a time, I made a wish. The world I knew grew wider than the sky and higher than the stars, and I listened to the voice within me, reaching out for freedom.

Once upon a time, my wish became my fate, and my destiny the hardest lesson to learn: kindness may be the most difficult path, but it can save entire kingdoms.

Now on to the Interview!
1) How old were you when you started writing?
Around eight, in second grade I believe. I’ve always loved stories, so the moment I learned how to write them for myself, I was an addict.

2) What do you want a reader to gain from reading your works?
Mostly entertainment, but in every book I write, I hope the reader learns even a little something. Whether it’s a kinder way to look at the world, or some cool science fact, I try to throw at least a bit of knowledge in there that a reader can carry away with them.

3) What are your three top suggestions on becoming an author, or being a pleasure writer?
1) No matter if you’re writing for business or pleasure, make sure you love the story you’re telling. If your heart isn’t in the words, it will show in your writing. 
2) Keep going. Giving up on a story you love is such a sad thing.
3) Take some time to learn your craft. If you expand your vocabulary, learn proper grammar, and discover tricks to make a story flow better, not only will your readers love you for it, but the kind of pride you’ll feel in your own work will make you glow from the inside, out.

4) What is your favourite novel, and why?
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’engle. I’ve read that book both as a kid and as an adult, and I find new facets to it every time. There aren’t many books I could read over and over, but that one I could before any others. It’s amazingly timeless, which speaks volumes of the author’s talents.

5) Who is your favourite author, why?
Strictly from the standpoint of their work alone, I’d say Douglas Adams. I’ve never read anything of his I didn’t laugh over and hug when I was finished, and the prose and plots are so smart and witty. The way his brain must’ve worked to craft his tales fascinates me.

6) What are your favorite pass times besides writing?
I live in Photoshop, but not only because I design book covers. For me, crafting images is another way to tell a story, but without using words. Aside from that, I’m a superhero junkie. Comic books, TV shows, movies… that’s totally my favorite thing.

7) Who in your life do you credit your imagination to the most?
Probably my mother. She read to me and my brother from the start and continued to even when I was a teenager. She always encouraged any and every creative pursuit we ever had, which is the most important outside element a person needs to grow in creativity.

8) What are the top five things on your bucket list?
1) Visit the ruins of Pompeii (though I’d jump at the chance for any ruins in Greece or Italy).
2) My youngest has made me promise to take him to London and Paris when he’s older. It’ll be a HUGE sacrifice on my part, but I’m willing to take that bullet for my kids.
3) Get over my fear of insects enough to see the ancient temples of Aztecs, Mayans, and Incans in South America. It’s a culture I started exploring some on my own, but I really want to see it up close.
4) Total pipe dream, but I’d love to see one of my books made into a movie or TV show. You gotta have goals, right?
5) Tell as many stories and make as many people happy as I can.

9) What is your funniest childhood memory?
Every story I thought of involved my brother in one way or another. He was always doing the dumbest stuff and I still laugh about them. There was the time he shoved a broomstick up through the roof of our attic and sent it straight through the shingles. There was the time he had a birthday party with his church youth group and got the cops called on them because they were playing hackey sack in the street (neighbor thought it was a gang thing or something). And there was a time in middle school where he stood on a desk and got buzzed by a ceiling fan, then walked through the entire school trailing blood to go to the nurse’s office. He ended up with these black stitches in his forehead, resulting in the nickname “Frankenfan.” I love my brother so very much. LOL

10) To the youth of today, if you could tell them one thing, what would it be?
Read more books and learn how to write a sentence correctly. You’ll thank me later.

11) Why did you start writing flipped fairy tales?
It started as a funny conversation between friends over some gender-flipped Disney character art we were looking at. Some of them were kind of ridiculous, but it gave me an idea. Could you tell the story of Snow White if Snow White is a Prince? How does Jack and the Beanstalk change when Jack is Jacqueline? I had to find out. The rest is history.

12) What is your personal favorite part of The Stillness of the Sky?
“Even with pain, there always comes peace. It’s up to us which we hold onto.”
This quote says so much about this story. Jack’s tale is all about her search for peace in life, and learning that it doesn’t come in expected ways, but if your heart is open to possibilities, amazing things can happen. The message of the story is definitely my favorite part.

13) What was your favorite fairy tale growing up?
Fairy tales weren’t so much my thing as a kid, but the story that comes closest is the book Shadow Castle, by Marian Cockrell. It’s a beautiful story of magic and fairies and heroes fighting off the evil villain and true love winning the day with patience and sacrifice. Everyone should read that book at least once in their lifetime.

14) You have written plural novels over the years, which of these novels are you the most proud of?
Honestly, it’s whichever novel I’ve just released. Finishing any book, never mind publishing one, is a huge labor of love. I’m especially proud of The Stillness of the Sky and the wonderful message I hope to share with anyone who ventures between those pages.

15) What are your plans for your writing in the future?
I’ll be releasing several more books this year, but it’s yet to be seen if one of those will be my next Flipped Fairy Tale. My next release is a Contemporary novel with suspense elements (very, very different from a fairy tale and most definitely not for anyone under 18), and I’ve loosely planned to release a new Science Fiction Romance sometime this summer. Fall will likely see my second Steampunk adventure out in the wild, and winter should bring the first book in my follow on to the Evolution series, so more superheroes! There’s a lot of stuff going on, so I hope folks are ready for a little genre whiplash!

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