Kaycee is the youngest winner, finishing up her senior year. (What amazing talent! I wish I could have written so well at such a young age.) She is another writer from North Carolina, and I'm so happy to have you meet her today.
Welcome, Kaycee! Tell us about yourself...
I'm currently a high school senior. In August, I am going to attend college to major in Creative Writing and hopefully minor in business and cinematography/film studies. I'm very excited!
How long have you been writing?
I've been inventing stories for as long as I can remember, but I never tried writing them down until I was twelve years old. I wrote a few short stories, and then I wrote my first novel at age thirteen. I've been writing consistently ever since!
What is your process when you begin writing a story?
I outline the story. It's not a very detailed outline, it is simply a line with the four big plot points (Inciting Incident, Embracing Destiny, Black Moment, and Climax) and any little scenes or plot twists I've envisioned placed roughly where they will go in the story. I know some writers like to outline everything, but I prefer to simply make a vague plan and leave plenty of room for creativity during the actual writing.
I have indeed! Ember Flame is the first book in my Leverage Trilogy. I'm currently editing the sequel, Hail Frost.
Tell me about your Five Enchanted Roses story.
Esprit de la Rose is a Beauty and the Beast retelling set during the Golden Age of Piracy (18th century). It has pirate ships, beautiful mermaids, supernatural elements, an adventurous heroine, and a charming rogue of a captain. It's been quite a lot of fun to write and I hope it is just as fun to read!
What was your inspiration for your story? Anything in particular?
I'm a fantasy writer, but my very first novel was actually a historical fiction adventure about pirates titled Shadow's Fire. As I was trying to decide what sort of short story to write for the Five Enchanted Roses contest, I stumbled across Shadow's Fire and was hit by a wave of nostalgia. I decided I wanted to delve into the world of pirates again, and Esprit sprung from there.
What other writers/books inspire you?
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine was my first introduction to fantasy (and hey! it's a fairy tale retelling!), and in my opinion, it is everything fantasy novels ought to be- fun, intriguing, and poignant. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien shaped my character profoundly. As for current inspiration, I have recently become enthralled with nearly anything by Brandon Sanderson, the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
What advice would you give to other new writers?
Be honest. Good writing requires, almost forces, you to be raw and truthful. It's a little scary because it feels like you're baring your soul to the world. It feels like it will do nothing but hurt. And sometimes it does hurt, but the reward is so worth it. Readers can sense honesty. They know when you are being heartfelt and when you are being withdrawn. Readers love honesty. So be honest. It's worth it.
What's next for you? Anything else you're working on for the future?
Yep! Like I said above, I'm currently editing Hail Frost, the second book in the Leverage Trilogy. After I publish it, I am going to write/edit/publish the third book. And whither then? I cannot say...mostly because I have so many story ideas I'm not sure which one I will pick to explore! ;)
Where can we find you online?
My blog: http://thepinkcave.blogspot.com
My Twitter: https://twitter.com/KayceeBrowning3
My Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6435974.Kaycee_Browning