In today’s post, I got to interview Sydney Hawthorn! Sydney is a fellow author I met on Instagram, and I’ve been privileged to not only follow her writing journey, but to be one of her beta readers for her novel, Awakening Shadows! Sydney has a lovely personality (and a great writing style!), so I hope you enjoy this interview!
When did you first decide you wanted to write? Was it your first career choice or were you planning on doing something else?
Oh gosh, I’ve honestly been writing for as long as I can remember! I started working on the very first draft of this series when I was 12-13 years old, but I’ve been writing and creating stories since I was old enough to comprehend what make believe was. The life of a theater kid, right? ;P
As far as career choices, I LOVE writing. I would be floored if one day I had the ability to write full time and support myself doing it. That would be a dream come true! But I also love working with kids. I’ve been a nanny, camp counselor, daycare teacher, you name it! I love watching kids grow. 🙂
Tell me about your book, Awakening Shadows. What is it about?
What is AS about? Gosh. The hardest question for a writer ever! While AS follows several POV characters with various plots throughout the series, the main storyline is ultimately about Princess Joseline’s destiny to defeat Aeron, the demon king, who’s attempt to reach his full might of power and world domination can only be fulfilled with Joseline’s soul in his possession. She holds the power of the Goddess in her soul, and is therefore, the only one with the ability to completely able to defeat him once and for all. Meaning, only if Aeron has her soul and consumes the power within her (ie, killing her in the process) will he truly be unstoppable. (Yes, it’s a prophecy/chosen one story, sorry not sorry if you don’t like that cliché!) But obviously Joseline, being a naïve and sheltered princess, doesn’t know any of this, so you can imagine her shock when she’s basically kidnapped by a group of protective warriors on her birthday (her first time ever out of the castle by the way) claiming that she’s going to save the world from this mythical demon king nobody in her country believes in anymore. But Quinn, one of the group’s leaders, wins her over . . . eventually. 😉
Is Awakening Shadows a stand-alone, or will it be part of a series? If part of a series, how many other books do you plan on writing?
Oh, it’s definitely a series. I feel no guilt at all for my love of cliffhanger endings! *insert evil laughter here* I already have book 3 draft one done! There will most likely be 5 books, and that’s not including the spin off series I have planned!
Are you hoping to self-publish Awakening Shadows or traditionally publish?
I’m honestly still going back and forth about this. For a long time, I was worried about all the nerves of not being able to get an agent to self-publish. So, I went through all the hoops and got my own imprint name, researched self-publishing, everything I needed to do. Then, I woke up one day feeling like I had to try the traditional route. I honestly can’t even remember when I decided this, but at least if I’m not able to get an agent, I still have everything all set to publish myself! I’m currently working on my query letter and collecting a list of agents to try querying to. I just don’t want to regret not even making the effort to try!
What inspires you to write?
A lot honestly. Nature and music are the two biggest things for me though. I listen to a lot of instrumental music while I write. Sometimes I listen to songs with lyrics if it’s a song that reminds me of a certain scene or character while I’m editing, but I just adore the beauty of instrumental music! I especially love Lindsay Sterling and Celtic music or music with violins and cellos! So pretty <3
Who are some authors that inspire you to become a better writer?
Tamora Pierce, as I’ve said a million times on Instagram, has always been a huge inspiration to me. Her Song of the Lioness quartet about Alanna was one of the first YA series that I read and ever since then, I’ve been completely mesmerized by the fantasy genre (not to say I wasn’t before, but it sure didn’t hurt falling in love with her world!) I also love Sarah Maas. I draw a lot of inspiration from her characters and world building in Throne of Glass (I haven’t read ACOTAR yet). I’ve also had several people tell me that Navarre reminds them of her universe which makes me feel so incredibly humble!
Do you have a favorite character you’ve written thus far?
A favorite darling?? This question hurts, I love them all! But if I had to pick one, I’d honestly have to say Edon Stormwood. Master Healer and pureblood Stormwood witch, he’s got so much going for him. He isn’t introduced until book 2, but his combination of raw emotion, pain, anger, and the constant struggle he faces with concealing his emotions is just to fascinating to write. In a country run by a matriarchy where only the female witches are supposed to have power, Edon is not only a powerful healer but a powerful witch in general. Magical ability is supposed to pass only to the female line (hence keeping the matriarch stronger) so his power is uncanny and unusual. He’s also one of several LGBT characters in my series, and the only one with a POV, so he’s very precious to me. He also has a very tragic backstory like all my darlings do, but his is so real, I just love writing from his perspective. 🙂
What is the hardest part about writing for you?
I think I have to say the slow parts of the plot. Meaning, making sure the slow parts of the story don’t drag on. I love writing action and intense scenes, and it’s something I’ve always been told I’m pretty good at, so finding the balance to make sure the “less exciting” scenes aren’t dull is sometimes challenging!
How would you describe your writing style?
Hmmm. I’m honestly not sure how to answer this! I like to think of my style as descriptive and flowy maybe? I sometimes struggle with run-on sentences during my editing phase because I love it when writing just flows together. I like to be very melodic in my descriptions rather than short and choppy sentences, if that makes sense?
Do you have a favorite snack or drink you enjoy while writing?
You know, not that I think about it, I don’t usually eat or drink while I’m writing unless it’s water! I always have a water bottle. I sometimes write with my coffee in the morning, but I try to avoid having food or drink around my computer to avoid my clumsy self from a tragic accident occurring.
What is some advice you can give aspiring authors out there that you wish you had known when you began your writing journey?
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF. Seriously. I can’t begin to say how many times I’ve been in a slump because I’ve read a book and thought “oh wow, that was amazing. I’ll never compare to that.” Don’t even let those thoughts enter your mind. Everyone has a different writing style, and everyone attracts different types of readers. That’s the beauty of writing after all, is the creative ability to be different. So don’t beat yourself up trying to be someone else when it’s so much better to just be yourself! <3
What do you consider your definition of success, as an author? Have you reached it yet or are you still in the process of obtaining it?
Hmm, another tricky one! I think I’d consider success to be when I’m able to share my story with the world. Whether it’s self-publishing or traditional, just being able to share the beauty of what I’ve created. I know I’m not there yet, and I’m not expecting it to happen overnight, but I’m just so excited for the day that dream comes true!
A huge thank you to Sydney for letting me interview her. <3
To follow Sydney’s journey on social media, check out any of the links below!
Mother of Cats and Creator of Worlds, Sydney has been writing and reading as long as she can remember. Fantasy is an alternate reality, a means to bring emotions to others fueled by imagination and inspiration. Having finished her first book at 13, she never leaves the house without a pen and a notebook for any random sparks of creativity or unplanned adventures. In her free time, she enjoys singing like nobody is watching, dancing in the rain, and pretending she’s good at drawing even though she knows she’s not.