Today I'm happy to be interviewing fellow author and blogger Emily Ann Putzke!
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1. (Heidi) Some differences and similarities you see between the three major forms of storytelling—literature, music, and film?
(Emily) In film, you see everything acted out before you. You can be moved to tears and the actors don’t even have to utter a word. In literature, you have to show those emotions in words. And often, that can be even more powerful. If done right, the reader resonates with the character more. They feel like everything is happening to them personally instead of someone else on the screen. Music accompanies both forms of storytelling. As a writer, music helps me write sad or intense scenes, and you would lose something in a film without a good musical score. Film, music, and literature are all similar in their power to inspire and move us to laughter or tears.
2. How have you seen those three mesh together in your own creative process?
If I’m stuck while writing, a good historical film with great character development, dialogue, plot, and inspiring music will help me dive into my project again. Picking up a good book never falls to inspire me to be a better writer, and music, as I’ve mentioned before, always helps me create.
3. When and how did you first begin writing?
I’ve been writing since I could write. I can’t remember ever not wanting to be an author. I was homeschooled, so books and stories were a big part of my upbringing. My favorite author when I was little was Richard Scarry. I used to copy all his pictures and characters. I wanted to be a writer/illustrator just like him.
4. What are you currently working on?
I’m getting ready to publish my first full length novel, Resist, in February. It’s a WWII historical fiction based on the true story of Hans and Sophie Scholl, a German brother and sister who wrote and distributed anti-Nazi leaflets. In the meantime, I’m doing some research for a possible future story idea and working on short stories to keep my writing up to par.
5. Particular author/s who have influenced you?
I’ve recently been inspired by John Hersey after reading his book, The Wall. Phenomenal writer. I also love Lucy Maud Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott.
6. Is there a “non-writing” activity that shapes your writing?
Reenacting, definitely. I reenact both Civil War and WWII. Living history really inspires me in my historical writing. Sleeping in a Civil War tent, cooking over a fire, waking up to the reveille, all helped me write It Took a War. Getting stopped and questioned by Germans, and getting caught in the action between the French and Germans helps me place myself in the 1940s.
7. Your opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of digital books?
Digital books are so convenient. You can get any book you want whenever you want. You can easily transport an entire library of books. You can highlight sentences and look up a word you want to know simply by tapping on it. But I will always prefer a real book over digital. Digital books don’t have that smell that real books have. You don’t have the satisfaction of feeling the weight of the book in your hands and feeling how many pages you’ve read. Also, we as a culture already spend so much time on our screens. Picking up a real book is a nice change from the screen glow. I don’t know … real books are just my favorite.
8. Do you ever do graphic design to help with your writing?
I sometimes like to make mock book covers to inspire me, or Pinterest collages and that sort of thing.
9. Do you outline? If so, in a general way or very detailed?
I usually write out a story synopsis with a tentative ending so that I know where the story is going. I don’t worry about all the details at that point.
10. Do you work on multiple projects at once?
Yes, I do, especially when I’m trying to figure out what to write next.
11. Do you edit as you write?
I try not to … but sometimes the perfectionist in me has to fix up some things. =)
12. Certain themes you see surfacing and resurfacing in your work?
13. A particular aspect of writing you struggle with or a challenge you’ve overcome?
Plot is a lot harder for me then dialogue, characters, and descriptions. That’s why writing about real people who did amazing things with their lives is a somewhat easier challenge to tackle. I have the plot already there. I just have to bring it to life.
14. How do you deal with feedback—particularly negative feedback?
You can’t please everyone. Seriously. You just can’t. I want everyone to love my work, but that’s not an attainable goal, nor should it be my goal. I try to remember that God has given me this gift to touch people’s lives and inspire them, and to not back down just because I got a 2 star rating. Also, reading reviews and comments from people who do love my work really encourages me.
15. One thing you’ve learned from other writers?
To be yourself. We all have our strengths and weakness, our passion for certain topics and time periods. Everyone’s writing is different. Rock your style.
16. A helpful nonfiction book or website?
Here are three of my favorite writing websites:
17. What do you consider one of the single most important things to remember (i.e. an attitude or technique)?
Never stop writing. No matter what. Even if you think it stinks, keeping pushing through and create. “None can sense more deeply than you artists, ingenious creators of beauty that you are, something of the pathos with which God at the dawn of creation looked upon the work of his hands. A glimmer of that feeling has shone so often in your eyes when—like the artists of every age—captivated by the hidden power of sounds and words, colours and shapes, you have admired the work of your inspiration, sensing in it some echo of the mystery of creation with which God, the sole creator of all things, has wished in some way to associate you.” — Saint Pope JP2
18. A word of encouragement for fellow writers?
If you believe God has given you the gift of words, then you need to use that gift. Don’t hide it. Don’t give up.
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Note from Heidi: Thanks so much for sharing, Emily!