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Meet the Writer… Christina Dwivedi

As a new mum, I've been interested to know how other artist-mums manage to balance their artistic projects with kids, work, life. So I was pleased to chat to the talented and lovely Christina Dwivedi today about writing, reading and everything in-between.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m mostly working on my middle grade fantasy, From Peaksbury to Piyali. Ella, twelve and curious, is thrown onto a journey to help protect her family. It’s a bit of a genre mashup, with some sci-fi, because there are people living on another planet who can see what’s happening on Ella’s world, and are also invested in protecting Ella’s family.

So what’s the inspiration behind the story?

Years ago, I first thought of the image of a girl walking on a hill, in a chilly wind. I imagined her wearing a shawl. So frontier life came to mind, and yet I wanted it to be fantastical. The story has been influenced by prairie/frontier life, C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy, and my international travels.

How are you finding balance work/ writing/ family?

I am still working on that. I have had to put the more intense writing sessions aside, off and on. Recently, I’ve tried to get writing or editing done after dropping my older son off at school. My four year old stays at home with me, but if he is distracted by toys or games or a movie, I’m able to get some writing time in. I used to write late at night, but my mind wouldn’t stop thinking about the story when I tried to sleep! Now I read more at night, able to turn my imagination off better than if I was writing.

Do you have a your writing process?

With From Peaksbury to Piyali, I “pantsed” it over many years’ time (i.e. I just let the plot ideas come as I wrote). However, it has caused me headaches for editing the plot. But now, for revisions and future stories, even a loose outline works wonders for me personally. So I start writing my ideas, especially in Google docs, and then try to turn them into a simple outline.

Does that mean you’ll finish the book soon?

I have finished it, with several drafts done. But I would love to finish and polish my latest, somewhat major revisions by July this year. It’s so different than the first draft!

 

Doodlings of an inspired writer.

A writer’s toolkit: a trusty laptop and a big mug of coffee

What are you reading at the moment?

A Nearer Moon – by Melanie Crowder (MG) (See fantastic front cover! I’m a big advocate of judging a book by its cover)

Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet: Counting Sheep – by Jacqueline Kelly (Chapter Book)

Why do you write fantasy for middle grade audiences?

It has been my favorite genre ever since I myself was the middle grade audience. I love the adventure and curiosity. The stories reach children at an important time in their lives, when they are getting older and more curious about the world. If we can give them a little hope, courage or magic to hold onto, I think they benefit.

Do you believe in writer’s block?

I do believe in writer’s block for sections of a story. Sometimes you can’t work out how the plot should transition from one point to another. I haven’t had a problem with new story ideas, but once you get down to writing, detailed plot can stump you. What helps me is taking a shower, or doing dishes—or trying to get a stubborn child to fall asleep. I think getting away from the screen (sometimes not by choice) helps with brainstorming ideas.

What were you like at school?

I was quiet and shy but friendly if approached. My closest friends saw more of the real, goofy side of me. I did well in school and my favorite class was oceanography. I enjoyed other science classes too. I was a fast reader, and enjoyed it, but didn’t think of myself as a future writer.

Last question. What’s your biggest learning experience so far from this writing process?

Wow. I’ve learned so much. First of all, it’s much harder to write, and then edit, a book than I imagined. Editing is where the magic happens, and where I spend most of my time in the writing process. Also, critique partners are essential to polishing your story and encouraging you to push ahead.

Thank you for dropping by! You can follow more of Christina’s work through her blog https://christinadwivedi.wordpress.com/

2017-05-18T23:07:36+00:00

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