I told y’all I’d have something super special for you! I am so honored to have been able to interview the lovely Miss Mandi Lynn, author of the young adult novel, Essence. Mandi self-published her novel when she was (wait for it…) seventeen years old, but began writing it at age thirteen. A true testament to the payoff of dedication, Mandi Lynn has now completed her second novel, to be released at a later date. She truly goes to show that, no matter your age, passion is passion, and hard work will get you anywhere. Mandi is a real inspiration to me and many writers everywhere. Without further adieu, here’s what she had to say!
Have you always wanted to be an author, or is this a newer realization?I had never actually even considered being an author until I had finished my first draft of Essence. Until then I didn’t even know I could write. Even through the first few drafts of Essence I doubted my ability to be good enough to be published, but I’m certainly glad I stuck with it.
What was the best piece of advice you’ve been given/by whom?The best piece of advice I’ve gotten was from Cheryl Richardson at one of her writing intensives and in front of about 100 people she told me not to give up on my dream because even though I’m not reaching my goal as fast as I may like, I will still get there one day.
Did you tell your friends you were publishing, or were they surprised? What did they think of the book?
Before I published my book my friends didn’t think much of it, but I think it was when I had the physical book in my hand when they were completely amazed. As of right now I think they feel like they have bragging right because they can tell everyone else they’re friends with a published author.
How do/did people treat you differently after finding out you wrote a novel?
Because I was published when I said I couldn’t do something (like hanging out) they were probably a little upset I always spent so much time with my book, but know that they’ve seen the result I think my friends respect me more because they see where all the effort has gone.
Would you change anything, now that Essence has been in print for a while?
I’m actually very pleased with how Essence came up. I think the biggest change I would make would be the synopsis on the back of the book to make it better marketable and tell a little more about the book to hook more people, but overall I’m pleased with how it came out.
How did you as a person change throughout the writing process/what did you learn by writing your novels?
I’ve completely changed. I’m much more serious about how I approach writing. I make more outlines, do more research, and the outcome is much greater quality than it had been a year ago. I don’t find that I have to go back and do as much editing.
What piece of advice would you give to young aspiring writers?
Stick with it. If writing is something you absolutely want to do, just keep trying. If you want it bad enough you will get there one day.
Which is the hardest part of a story for you to write: the beginning, the end, or somewhere in between?
The middle is always the hardest. It’s very easy for a writer to lose interest at that point, but that’s also where you can lose readers. There are so many books I’ve gotten half-way through and have never finished because I lost interest.
Now that you’re in college, how do you balance class work, a social life, writing, and everything else?
At this point my novel is being edited so I haven’t been doing much writing, but I’ve found the easiest way to schedule things is with a very tight schedule. The only way I can get something done is if I write it down.
What gets you motivated to write?
Recently the biggest motivation to write has been the people who support me, whether it be random strangers or family. Of course there will always be people who won’t support me, but it ones that do that help push me into continuing to write when I doubt my ability to write.
Is there a special place that you do your writing? What makes it special?
I don’t really have a special place, but I have a small little laptop that I carry around with me for whenever I need to write.
Your must-read book of the year?
The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. Never have I seen such beautiful writing with characters that transform so much throughout the story.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading The Maze Runner Trilogy.
Who are your favorite authors?
Lauren Halse Anderson, Tahereh Mafi, Neal Shusterman, I’m sure there’s more that I’m forgetting because the list goes on.
You recently announced the title of your next book, I Am Mercy, saying that the first draft was complete. So you’ve got a novel and a wonderful title– what comes next in the path to publication?
As of right now the novel is in the process I being edited, after which I will go through another draft, then will most likely submit it to literary agents and see what happens form there!
Where can we get a hold of your brilliant book, Essence?
A big thank you goes out to Mandi! If you would like to know more about Mandi and/or (I recommend the ‘and’ option) her novel, Essence, follow the linky links below!
YouTube Channel (Where she provides stellar advice, especially self-publishing, for all writers)