Happy Wednesday everyone! Another great new person for you to meet!! Sit back and relax, and meet Vanessa Barger!
Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Masters in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), the Virginia Writer’s Club, and the Hampton Roads Writers. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She is married to a fabulous man, and has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.
Interview Time! Wheeee!!
Christina: What’s your current project? Tell us a little about it.
Vanessa: The manuscript I just finished for PitchWars is called LEARNING SPACE, and it’s about a boy who keeps getting pulled out of boarding schools, only to discover that this time, his mom is putting him into school in space. Once he gets there, he gets stuck in a group with his arch nemesis, ends up in his first ever detention, and then has to work with his antagonist to help save the school from space pirates.
C. What has been your favorite scene to write so far?
V.Any scene with Asimov, a lovely little worm who eats anything and poops ball bearings. He’s adorable.
C.Who or what has inspired your writing?
V. I think it would be my parents. They read to us as long as I can remember, and have always encouraged my creativity. Without them, and their encouragement, things might have been different.
C. What is your biggest goal with your writing?
Someday, I’d love to be able to write as a career and teach for fun. But beyond that, just being able to be published by a major publisher would be a dream come true!
C. Do you have any pre-writing rituals?
V. Hmmm… I have a tendency to keep notes in my writing journal about the story, and I have started to take those and make a Scrivener file with all the character information, setting information and etc. It took a few tries, but I learned my lesson and now make sure I have the information down before I start writing.
C. What is the weirdest location you’ve ever written at?
V. I wish I could say something more interesting like on the side of a mountain or something, but probably the weirdest has been in a strange hotel room or on vacation in a bus.
C. How do you handle writer’s block?
V. I force myself to write. For me, writer’s block is usually less about not having the idea, and more about not being motivated to write. If I make myself meet a word count goal everyday, it is always easier to write the next day. I keep a calendar and use stickers (its VE Schwab’s calendar method) to keep track of how many words I’ve written. Its amazing, because if I keep up writing everyday, the amount of stickers always increases. If I take a few days off, it starts all over again and has to gradually build up.
C. How much research was involved in your latest piece and how did you tackle it?
V. Not as much as you’d think. There was some science I had to explain, but I teach Technology Education, so I already had most of the background I needed to get it believable.
C. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
V. I used to be a pantser. But I’ve had to admit defeat, and now I’m a plotter. Loosely. I don’t do a serious detailed outline, but I do write one with the major events I intend for each chapter. That being said, I always allow myself the permission to wander away from it, which does sometimes result in having to stop midway and rewrite the outline.
C. Is there anything you wish you were told prior to writing or publishing?
V. I think the time, and how long everything takes. You know it, but you don’t know it. Its hard to understand until you’ve talked to people and really seen it, just how long everything takes. Also, just how much depends on timing and dumb luck sometimes.
C.What’s next for you?
V. Right now, I’m searching for an agent and keeping my fingers crossed that LEARNING SPACE is the manuscript that will get me my dream agent. We shall see!
C. Is there any talent or skill you wish you were better at within the writing/publishing process?
V. Patience. And making sure I have the next thing already on the back burner.
C. Have your parents read your work?
V. Mom has. My dad has read some. They are the best – they never stop encouraging me!
C. What scares you the most?
V. Being a failure, by my own standards. Never getting an agent and being able to share my stories.
C, When did you start to feel like an author?
V. The first time I did a school visit. That was awesome!
C. Which poets or authors have influenced you in your own writing?
V. I think every time you read a book it influences your writing somehow. But my favorite authors and people I hope to emulate would be Austen, Shakespeare, Bill Bryson, Lisa Ann Sandell, Susan Cooper, Rick Riordan, and so many others. (okay, those are just favorites. I’ll never be that cool)
Thanks again so Much Vanessa!! 🙂