Wow, y’all, I can’t believe this rally is almost over with! Time just flies! Well, if you’re visiting for the first time or a returning reader, on behalf of TWN, I want to say welcome and thank you for joining us for day eleven of TWN’s FIRST-EVER Teen Writers’ Rally. We’re kicking-off National Novel Writing Month with back-to-back posts featuring amazing authors, bloggers, and more! Tune in every day until November 5th for new posts full of writing tips, advice, and encouragement. Posts are live at 6:00 EST, and if you’re not already, subscribe to Teen Writers’ Nook via email to receive a notification when the next post is up. (Form can be found to the right if on a computer or at the bottom of the page if on a mobile device.) And as always stay until the end for information about the giveaway running through the entire event!
I am SO excited for our next author interview with Stefanie Lozinski!!!! Stefanie is the author of the YA Christian fantasy Storm and Spire series, with book one, Magnify, and book two, Majesty already released! She has SO much tips, advice, and encouragement to share today, so I’m gonna end this intro and just get right into it!!!
#1. To begin, can you tell us a bit about yourself, your books, and where we can find/follow you online?
Hi everyone! I’m Stefanie. I’m a 30 year old wife and mom of two from Ontario, Canada, and I am currently publishing the Christian fantasy series Storm & Spire. 🙂 You can find me at my website, www.authorstefanielozinski.com, and you can find links to my books and social media there as well.
#2. When did you first discover your love for writing and what inspired you to pursue it seriously?
It’s hard for me to remember when it started, because I was always writing. Reading was something I enjoyed from a very young age, and writing just became a natural extension of that. I’ve dreamed of becoming a fiction novelist ever since I was a preteen, but I worked at that dream in stops and starts.
I wrote a few books, though none were very good and pretty much stayed in the “neat-ish draft” phase. In 2020, my life fell apart in so many ways due to the Covid chaos, and I ended up taking a long hiatus from writing altogether.
It wasn’t until I got that space that I found clarity. I realized this dream was not going to die. I had to write, it wasn’t something I could say no to. I had to embrace the challenge, and I’m so happy with where I am now.
I’m glad that having that break from writing gave you the realization you needed that this was something to pursue!! Readers, there’s nothing wrong with breaks. Sometimes life just happens and writing just has to be put on a pause right now (I know, I’ve been there myself before), but if this is something you’re serious about and really want to pursue, then you’ve got to be like Stefanie. You have to come back!
#3. What do you do to help stay focused on one project until the end?
It’s hard for me to give advice, as I think it’s kind of part of my personality to stick with things. I can be extremely stubborn. I have given up on books before, though, and usually it was because I didn’t know where I was going and fell out of love with the plot in the middle.
Outlining was a gamechanger for me. I know there are awesome writers out there who “write by the seat of their pants”, but if you struggle to finish things, I would highly recommend a decently thorough outline. It helps to minimize those instances where you’re just staring at the screen and not sure what to write next.
Yes! I so agree! I know what you’re thinking reader, um, Issabelle, you’re like the queen of pantsing, WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU AGREE ABOUT OUTLINING????!!!!!! What I mean is, if you’re writing your novel one way, whether that is plotting or pantsing, and it’s not working for you, try writing it the other way. Every author’s process is different, and guess what, every book you write will have a completely different process, too!
#4. Can you describe a typical writing session for you? Are there things you do that help you write faster or better (i.e. listening to instrumental music, writing at night/in the mornings, etc.)?
Oh, I love this question. Yes. I have a pretty specific ritual to how I write, but I’m also a mom (and I homeschool as well) so I am trying to become more flexible when life demands it.
Still, I get the best results when I follow my routine. I work in the morning, very early. The hardest part of my routine is actually getting out of my bed at 420, but the ideal for me is working from 5-7AM every day. I basically get up, brush my teeth, wash my face, make coffee, say my morning prayers, eat something small, and then get to the kitchen room table with my laptop. I light a candle, and I always play some kind of sound. Right now, I swear by this one (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5Tt3LoygCQ&t=2835s). It really helps me focus.
That’s an awesome routine!!!
#5. What’s your favorite part of writing fantasy?
I love the way that fantasy allows me to explore truth in endless unique ways. You can say anything with fantasy, because you have a whole world of your own making for your characters to explore.
There’s also something about the medieval-esque (I suppose it could be called a few different things) style of fantasy that just draws me in. I feel a physical longing for the Shire when I think about the opening shot of the Fellowship of the Ring. It’s like it’s a real place, a home I left behind in a dream.
My fantasy continent, Kaveryth, is beginning to feel the same way for me, and that’s so special to me as an author.
#6. Have you endured any discouragement over your writing and if so, what inspired you to persevere?
I’ve been very blessed that my family has always supported my writing. I can’t really think of anyone who has discouraged me. I have, however, allowed myself to be discouraged by comparing myself to others, which is an easy trap to fall into. I love the business side of writing as an indie author, so it’s hard for me sometimes when I see people writing 10 books a year to not feel discouraged. I have to remind myself that God has given me this immense blessing of being a wife and mom first, and that means I have to accept some limitations!
Yes, comparison is one of the hardest things to overcome! It’s so easy to start thinking about how good this author’s writing life seems and wonder why yours can’t be the same way. But, readers, if you’re struggling with the same thing, I try to remind myself that this author whose writing life seems so easy and perfect is struggling with her own things, too!
also, I shall never understand how those authors can write 10 BOOKS A YEAR 🤯
#7. Do you have any advice for writers who want to incorporate faith into their stories, whether that’s in fantasy or another genre?
My biggest advice would be to really get to know your characters. If you can craft characters that come to life, it becomes much easier to include their faith experiences without your book becoming a monologue or a sermon. Let your characters live and breathe, and explore their faith (or lack of faith!) in God. Let them be flawed. Let them doubt. Let them sin, but offer them grace. I think this applies to all genres!
Yes, I totally agree! Your characters are pretty much the foundation of your novel. If the reader doesn’t care about your characters, everything else, is not going to work.
#8. Is there anything you do to help find motivation when you don’t feel like writing?
I try to watch videos about other successful authors, or sometimes I’ll visit Facebook groups or discord chats where authors hang out. Sometimes a few minutes in contact with other writers gives me a boost and gets me started. Once I start, I’m usually fine!
On the whole, though, I try to save those “motivation tricks” for moments of urgency and desperation, lol. The rest of the time, I try to ignore motivation altogether, and foster an attitude that I can write with or without it.
I think of writing like I think of love, or prayer. Feelings are not what counts. If I only wrote when I felt like it, I would never finish anything. I know this, because there was a time when I did just that!
I do pray for inspiration, and it certainly exists – there are moments where writing feels like magic – but I mostly pray for discipline to show up and do the work. When I do that, motivation tends to follow. It kind of happens backward for me.
Oo, that’s a good way of looking at it!
#9. Do you have any advice, encouragement, or words of wisdom for teen writers who want to take their writing seriously?
Keep writing. Don’t be like me and run away from it. Or if you do, don’t run so far, because you have a precious opportunity right now to improve your craft! Time comes quickly once you hit a certain age. I had to be that adult saying that, but I’ll be darned, my dad was totally right. And as much as I don’t regret the way things worked out, I could have written ten books by now if I accepted my writerly fate earlier.
I would also advise any writers out there to finish your novels (if you ultimately want to write novels, that is!). You can learn a lot from short stories, three chapter openings, and half finished draft carcasses. But in the end, you have to learn about the whole thing.
Beyond that, I firmly believe you learn more from writing a few novels than perfecting one. There’s editing, and then there’s moving rocks from one pile to another. Maybe that novel just isn’t “the one” that you’re going to ever publish at this stage in your life. The novel I wrote just before Magnify (Storm & Spire Book 1) was just not ever going to be something I wanted as my debut. But I learned a lot from it. And I stole a lot from it for the Storm & Spire series. So ha. =)
YES I LOVE THIS!!!!! I just second everything!!! Keep writing, finish novels, and sometimes you have to accept that it’s time to move on to another project! And that’s totally okay.
Stefanie, THANK YOU SOOOOOO much for joining me today!!!!
Stefanie Lozinski lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband, two young children, two cats, and a whole lot of books. When she isn’t homeschooling her little ones, you’ll find her on a long walk, drinking coffee, praying a Rosary, or working on her next novel.
I hoped y’all enjoyed the interview as much as I did! If you loved this, show your gratitude to Stefanie Lozinski by getting a copy of one of her books or adding them to your GR shelves. If you’ve already read them, leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or recommend it to a friend! Not only is writing books hard, but trying to get your name out into a very competitive market is just as difficult. So every bit of support means so much to these authors!
WHO’S READY FOR THE GIVEAWAY TIME! *raises hands and jumps up and down* During the rally (October 24th-November 5th) Teen Writers’ Nook is running a giveaway. Three winners will be chosen and the winners will win their choice of one of the books pictured below. (Imagine anthology is also included, though not pictured.) This giveaway is open to both U.S. and international entries!
Every post you comment on during the rally earns you an extra entry into the giveaway! To enter with this post comment below and tell me: Music or no music when you’re writing?
Until the next post,
Keep on being awesome and never stop writing,