We caught up with young adult fantasy novelist Angela J. Ford. Ms. Ford is a well-rounded creative with a strong love of reading, creative writing, travel, and playing music. Her stories inspire young adults to work together when overcoming challenges and to believe in reaching their dreams. She began The Four Worlds Series at age 12, a series that takes high magic and epic fantasy to the pinnacle of excitement and fun. Most importantly, Ms. Ford lives the creative life by spending time on her craft, dedicating herself to developing her skills in music and writing, and being an inspiration to writers everywhere.
Many writers and artists knew early on that they had a connection to writing and creativity. When did you know that you were born to write?
While I don’t remember there being an epic moment when I knew I was born to write, it turned into a natural habit. I have 4 sisters, and we all kept journals growing up. Capturing daily memories assisted in turning writing into a normal habit, and using words to tell stories became the logical next step. I supposed at some point when I was twelve I realized storytelling and writing was what I actually wanted to do in the future. I could see myself writing bestsellers, having those turned into movies or TV shows and video games. I believe envisioning that future was what allowed me to call myself a writer.
Did you have an influential person in your life who encouraged you to express yourself with writing or some other form of creativity?
My family has been the biggest influencer in allowing me to express myself creatively. My parents are huge readers and encouraged my sisters and I to read books and use our imaginations to amuse ourselves. When I was 9 I learned how to play guitar, and when I was 15 I started taking drum lessons. Between the music and writing, finding creative ways to express myself became the norm.
You mentioned that you wrote novels as a teenager. That is quite a feat for a young person. What influenced you to attempt novel writing so young? What support system did you have that allowed you to pursue such an impressive goal?
Reading book series like “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Lord of the Rings” made me want to become an author. I found myself inspired by authors like George MacDonald and Brian Jacques and I wanted to join the rank of greats. Of course, if you want something, you have to get started, and writing was the next step. Since I was homeschooled, it allowed me to be productive and maximize my time. If I got all my school work done in 5 hours, that left me plenty of time to write and be creative.
Many writers suggest that writing serves different functions in their lives. Some write poetry for stress relief, articles for professional advancement, and novels to pursue a lifelong goal. How does writing fit into your life and what purposes does it serve?
Writing novels has been to pursue a lifelong goal and it’s more than that. I get to dive into new worlds and discover different characters, their strengths, weaknesses and hidden motives. More importantly, I get to create something new and birth it into the world. It’s exciting to hear the reactions from readers, the shock and amazement. While it’s fun for me, it has helped with relieve stress and preventing loneliness.
Different writers use a variety of processes to accomplish their writing tasks. Stephen King writes every day, including Christmas and his birthday. Ann Rice says she writes when the mood strikes or when she is working on a large project. What does your writing schedule look like? Is there anything you do to get yourself ready to write?
While I don’t write every day, I believe mindset is key to completing a novel. Having the right music and scheduling time to actually write on a weekly basis helps.
Some writers have changed the writing process to fit their own needs and personalities. For many, following the traditional writing process—brainstorm, plan, draft, edit, perfect—has served them well. Others have transformed the process to fit their own needs. What does your writing process look like and what part of that appeals the most to you?
Oh I’m certainly unconventional and quirky. My process includes writing the ending first, then working my way backwards, sideways, or wherever the characters choose to go. Writing is like being taken on a ride, you never know what could happen next, and I tend to write the exciting parts first, and the logical parts last. Writing should be an exciting, magical journey, and if I’m not enjoying it, I scrape those parts and start over.
Writers are creatives at heart. They tend to be attracted to all kinds of creative activities—playing music, sewing, gardening, painting, photography, etc. What other creative activities do you pursue to augment your creative writing?
Music has the creative pull that aligns with writing. I have to have the perfect writing music before I can begin. Even though I don’t play guitar or drums anymore, I also use gaming as a source of stress relief and inspiration. As odd as that sounds, gaming makes me think strategically, and that sort of thinking bridges well into creating an epic fantasy tale.
Your series The Four Worlds sounds incredible. No one can resist a well-written fantasy action, adventure book. What was the motivation to start this book series? You say that you started this at age 12? How did the story, characters, and ideas develop as you matured?
When I was 12 I had a dream about this man standing at the edge of a battlefield. I woke and named him Marklus, he was the first warrior. From there I decided he needed friends with special powers, and thus the rest of the warriors were born. Their story was inspired by tales of action and adventure like Narnia and Lord of the Rings.
However, even when I was young, I didn’t want to include the traditional fantasy characters, like elves, wizards, dragons and orcs. I ended up creating my own breed of mortals and immortals, placing them in a galaxy far, far away. As I grew older I realized the characters needed motives, depth and reasoning behind what they do. I was able to write that in and create a world I’m quite proud of that, although it may have resemblances to some tales, is quite unique on its own.
Writing certainly has its ups and downs. There will be days when you’re stuck and the words won’t flow. There will be moment when you feel as if the marketing and promotion is overwhelming, and no one wants to hear from you anyway. But there’s magic in writing and how amazing it is. Whether you write simply for yourself, or for others, never give up on the art of breathing life into something new. Writers are creators, no matter the genre, and that’s something to hold on to.
A special thanks to Ms. Angela J. Ford for letting us interview her for this blog.
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