Anna Grace, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hiya! Thanks so much for having me. I'm the youngest of three and have been homeschooled since the beginning. My sister is a senior in college and my brother is a senior in high school and both of them were/are "always homeschooled", as well. I've always loved writing and reading. I enjoy creating my own characters the most, then spinning the tale itself. Besides writing, I also do quite a lot of drawing, a bit of acrylic painting, fencing (which I've done for three and a half years), and I act in a youth Shakespearean theater company. During the Autumn, we partner with the local adult troop to do the preshow for their "Shakespeare in the Park" productions. OH - I'm also in a mostly homeschooled Girl Scout troop (a few girls cyber school), a weekly art club, and a somewhat-weekly writers group.
What is your favorite part of being homeschooled?
Everything! I especially love how we never work quietly. Everyone talks and chatters about what we're learning. We help each other and discuss ideas. My brother is really funny and is always coming up with jokes to help us study things. My mum, who over-sees our work, never scolds us for talking and lets us do school on the floor, on the couch, outside -- we've even had days of "pajama school" when we were younger!
How did being homeschooled prepare you for writing?
My mother has always exposed all three of us to classical literature and living books since we were young. We spent a lot of time painting, drawing, modeling, doing crafts, listening to classical music, as well as listening to my mother read aloud. Also, we were allowed to get messy (and clean up afterwards) and discuss anything and everything. I think all of this helped to develop my creativity and my bravery. (Because if you want to be creative, you can't be afraid to fail. I fail ALL THE TIME!) My mother also did a lot of short-story writing workshops for my brother and myself (he enjoys writing as well). For example - we might have about an hour to write a short-story from an exciting story prompt we pick out of a jar, then we read them to each other. Sometimes she'd give us writing challenges like "Put your three favorite characters together in a bank, and a bank robber walks in. What happens?"
What caused you to start writing?
Really, it was rather spontaneous, though my family has been encouraging me since I announced I would be an author. I'm pretty sure I was about ten at the time. I was just reading and getting lost in the pages when I suddenly thought, "Hey, I could do this!". :-) I started planning a story that very day. Two years later I began a full-blown (plotted!) novel.
What was your inspiration for Pandora's Box and Other Problems?
My fascination with Greek mythology. I loved studying it and reading all the incredible stories, especially, of course, the myth about Pandora's Box. When I read it, I thought "what if there was more to it?" and the idea and characters came in bits and pieces after that.
What is it about?
Pandora Birch is a teenager who is pretty comfortable (though not necessarily happy) with where she is: Her dad owns his landscaping business (it pays the bills), she has her best friends by her side, and the whole of her dull and little town of White Water at her feet. But then she and her best friend Erica find an old and mysterious puzzle box in Pandora's attic. Not only does it have a strange and unsettling feeling to Pandora, but it has the two words --Â Pandora's Box --Â written on the side. Pandora will do whatever she can to open the box, even if it means going to visit her estranged mother and her step-family.
During the course of the book, Pandora learns that there is more to life then she thought and that the knowledge of the box will change her life forever.
Who will enjoy it?
I've had people as young as ten who've read it and liked it, and even several adults. But I'd have to say it will probably appeal more to tweens and teens.
Where can people buy it?
At the moment, it is available on Lulu.com in both paperback and eBook format. You can also get it in eBook format in the Barnes and Noble NOOK store and the Apple iTunes store. I hope to have it on Amazon very soon!
Who is your favorite author and why?
Oh hands down, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I am a huge fanatic of the Sherlock Holmes books and stories (just ask my family, it's all I tend to prattle on about some days!). I have read all of them, many twice. My favorite story is A Study in Scarlet. I am a great lover of mysteries and the Victorian era, and I really admire Conan Doyle's style of writing. It allows the reader to become part of the story so fluently. :-) One day I hope to be able to write as well as he!
Do you plan to write more books?
No doubt about it! I have many ideas planned and a few ready for execution.
Do you have any final thoughts.
Writing is hard. It's not easy. You have to have faith and discipline in yourself and in your mind. Sometimes you have to make yourself write, even if tomorrow you'll just go back and delete what you wrote to try again. But in the end, there is no better reward then being able to hold up a book and say "I wrote this!"
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