As an aspiring writer, it was an opportunity of a lifetime to interview, young adult (YA) novelists, Jonathan Auxier and Nick Courage. We spoke about their literary journeys, creative processes, and newest publications.
Jonathan Auxier, similar to his mother, is a gifted artist. He dabbled in screenwriting, while drawing consistently, but never had a true passion for producing plays. His newest book Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard, like his other publications, started as a sketch. Writing is an act of therapy for him. He conjures an emotion or an experience and writes based on them. Jonathan wrote Sophie Quire with his mother in mind. He recalled her isolated upbringing in which she read avidly every story she could find. He wanted to bring his mother one last adventure through characters that shared her interests. Jonathan’s protagonist,Sophie, loved books beyond reason. Indeed, she loved them more than she loved the world around her. It was the very thing that made her unique, until it made her dangerous(Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard).Jonathan’s literary hero, Roald Dahl, inspires him because he is not afraid to express his opinions about issues that children face.
Nick Courage was always interested in literary arts. He worked for various publishing companies and became inspired to create works of his own. When brainstorming ideas for a story, Nick doesn’t write with a distinct plan, but “flies by the seat of his pants”; therefore, is described as a “pantser.” Dubbed as a “pantser that plots” by Siobhan Vivian (author of The Last Boy and Girl in the World), Nick explained that he is beginning to create characters beforehand to lay a proper foundation for his story. When developing superheroes for The Loudness, his first YA novel, Nick used his knowledge of different land bases to assign powers to different characters. New Orleans, known as the Birthplace of Jazz, is a major focal point in The Loudness. Throughout the story, the protagonist, Henry Long explores the culture around him which allows him to discover more about himself. Nick was also inspired by some of his favorite superheroes, such as Swampthing and Bat-girl. Nick, as a former resident of New York, better known as “The Concrete Jungle”, now has the opportunity to hike and enjoy nature in Pittsburgh’s seemingly endless forests. His next book is inspired by the mystery and secrets within the woods.
Both YA novelists gave much needed advice to future authors. Jonathan’s advice was to evaluate their writing and make sure to have executed their story properly. Nick Courage’s advice to future authors was to write until the end, and decide on your targeted audience beforehand.
To learn more, writers can access a literary community in Pittsburgh through http://www.littsburgh.com/.