Final Interviews with Wattpad Writers from the COMMON ROOM Anthology

The complete COMMON ROOM anthology, written by Wattpad teen writers and edited by the Freshman Fifteens, will be released on Wattpad on January 27, 2015—next week!

It’s been a long time coming! We started working on this project in the summer of 2014, and the teen writers had a full fall of revising their stories. For more on the project, check out our previous posts.

Before you read their fantastic stories, we wanted to introduce you to these talented writers. For the past two weeks, we’ve highlighted ten of our COMMON ROOM authors, and this week, we bring you the final five (see previous interviews here and here).

Get to know them and their other work on Wattpad and be sure to show your support and read COMMON ROOM on January 27!

AshleyJellisonAshley Jellison, author of LEAVE THE LIGHT ON (Wattpad username: AshJellison)

Mentor: Jenny Martin, author of TRACKED, releasing May 5, 2015, from Dial/Penguin

About me: I’m an aspiring author, a hopeful actor, and a horrible dancer. I intern with Entangled Publishing, and when I’m not doing work for them or my own homework, I’m reading or writing. Sometimes you’ll even find me training for my marathon.

How did you get into writing?

I got into writing when I was really really young. I actually wrote my very first story about my dog and I sent it off to Scholastic. I stopped writing for a few years, until I got this incredible story in my head, which I thought about for years before actually writing. But I’ve started really writing again because of NaNoWriMo. Without it, I never seem to have time. I’ve just always wanted to write and I can see myself writing in the future, so I figure the best thing for me to do IS write.

What do you like to write best?

Hmmm . . . I think I like to write fantasy best. But I think I write it the worst—haha. I love writing a new world and creating things only in my mind. I actually write more in the contemporary range right now. It seems easier for me to write and make everything flow together. Sometimes I dabble in different genres, like my horror short story.

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

I would like to see more platonic relationships between male and females. There are hundreds of books where the two are best of friends and then one always falls for the other. It makes it seem like they HAVE to fall in love. Definitely not true. I know Simon and Clary in The Mortal Instruments, no matter how much I love them, were so close. The best of friends. But Simon was in love with Clary for so long. I just want a story where the characters can mess around and do friend things without having romantic interests in each other. The only book where that worked for me was The Future of Us.

 

KatieSpektorKatie Spektor, author of THE VOICES IN MY HEAD (Wattpad username: KatieSpektor)

Mentor: Kim Savage, author of AFTER THE WOODS, releasing Winter 2016 from FSG/Macmillan

About me: I am homeschooled and dream of becoming a published author one day. When I’m not writing or reading, I spend my time adoring my kitten named Charlotte, who will assist me in writing by trying to eat my laptop.

How did you get into writing?

I actually got into writing when we adopted my older sister. She wrote and told stories that captivated me as a child and inspired me to be just like her. Over the years, I had stopped writing for some time until a novel idea suddenly came to me. I wrote the first chapter and showed it to my mother, who told me that I should participate in a writing event called NaNoWriMo where you write 50,000 words in thirty days. When I won it—and had a full novel under my belt—I knew that being a writer was the path for me.

I mean, really, in what other occupation can you talk to imaginary people in your head without being deemed legally insane? That’s a fabulous perk to being a writer.

What do you like to write best?

I love to write about heroines that are so flawed—so human—that it’s hard to find a positive thing about them, yet you can relate to them in so many ways. The genre I love to write in is fantasy because I can make worlds and rules completely unlike ours. But I like to experiment, too! Being a writer on Wattpad has widened my perspective on stories. I can see exactly what readers like to read and what they expect in a story. This stretches my mind to write the unexpected.

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

What a difficult question! I think first I want to see unique characters. I would love to see weak protagonists who have strength in different ways, soft-spoken characters who find their voice in the world, and cowardly heroes who would much rather run than save their nation. I want to see the unusual rather than the usual. I want to see stories that aren’t afraid to stand out because they’re different. I also want to see positive stories of hope. There are so many dystopian novels out there today talking of death, destruction, and government takeover. Sure, that’s interesting to read about, but I’ve seen so many of these novels that I’m starting to believe that people are trying to predict the future rather than write simple fiction. I’m sure our government wouldn’t go so far as to put kids into a death-defying arena like The Hunger Games, but the mere thought is disconcerting.

Last (and probably most) of all, I want to see love truthfully represented and not whittled down to mere impulses based on infatuation or feeling. I want to see fiction where love isn’t fantasized to the point where it blurs reality of what love actually is. For instance, do you need to kiss someone to prove that you love them? If you don’t kiss them, does it mean that you don’t love them? (The horror! No kissing?!) From what I’ve seen in a lot of YA fiction, that seems to be the ultimate step to show love and I personally think it’s a severe misrepresentation.

 

Coralie TerryCoralie E. Terry, author of BABYSITTING GRANDMA (Wattpad username: terryco)

Mentor: Jenn Marie Thorne, author THE WRONG SIDE OF RIGHT, releasing March 17, 2015

About me: My name is Coralie Terry, and I am a junior Music Education major attending Berea College. I read and write in what little spare time I have and one day hope to be able to write endlessly, anything but research papers and class essays.

How did you get into writing?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to read. I love to hear stories, and I’ve come to love telling them. I have pitiful attempts that go as far back as my first grade classes, but I think my true passion for writing really began to come forward when I was entering into my eighth grade year. I started short stories and wrote plenty of poems that I hope never see the light of day, but I also found some of my closest friends today because I started writing then. I’ve grown with them both in my writing and in my life. I suppose I honestly just stumbled into writing and have only fallen deeper the older I’ve become.

What do you like to write best?

I love to write in many genres and lengths—poetry, fanfiction, short stories, etc. I think I most enjoy writing stories of longer lengths because they give me more room to build my plots, explore the worlds, and more time to play with the characters. As for genres, I particularly enjoy writing mysteries with a twinge of romance, and I love writing fairytale-like stories. On the other hand, I find myself more and more interested in realistic fiction and creative nonfiction, which is what inspired “Babysitting Grandma.”

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

Personally, I absolutely love reading fairytale retellings! I always love to see new, inventive ways to portray classic fairytales as well as original fairy tales in YA. I also enjoy Christian fiction, historical fiction, science fiction, adventures, and mysteries. Honestly, just about anything with an intriguing plot and enjoyable characters is up my alley.

 

Britton Hansen_newBritton Hansen, author of A THOUSAND STARS (Wattpad username: CutieFlutie)

Mentor: Laura Tims, author of PLEASE DON’T TELL, releasing Winter 2016 from Harper Teen/Harper Collins

About me: I’m a high school senior obsessed with playing the flute, eating frozen yogurt, and shopping for clothes I definitely don’t need. I hope to continue to pursue writing through college and beyond.

How did you get into writing?

When I was in first or second grade, I had this idea for a story. And it was called . . . wait for it . . . “Dogland.” I must have written fifty versions of it, one of them involving a giant meatball, throughout elementary school. Then I continued to write in sixth grade and eventually sort of fell out of it for a few years. The summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, though, all of my friends were out of town, and I had some ideas in my head that I was desperate to get out, so I searched up writing Web sites on Google, and lo and behold, found Wattpad. I’ve been writing very seriously for about two years, although it’s been a pastime and passion of mine for much longer than that, and hopefully it’ll continue to be.

What do you like to write best?

I love writing romance. I’ve got a fascination with the idea of teenage relationships, and tragedies. Recently, I’ve been attempting to branch out of the genre a little bit, and right now I’m working on an adventure story where the love is, granted, less important, but still pretty prevalent. Like most girls my age, I think, romance is a very appealing subject, and since I really only read stories with at least some sort of romantic plot, I also tend to stick to writing them, as well.

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

Oh gosh, definitely more realism. The vast majority of the young adult novels that I read, especially the ones where teenage romance is involved, are extremely misleading as far as healthy relationships go. And I get that it’s called fiction for a reason, but one reason I love to read is because it prepares me for experiences I may have, at least if it’s the right sort of novel. It’s rare for me to find a book or author that I can really relate to, so when I feel that a plot is more realistic, it makes the entire reading experience more enjoyable.

 

shellyzevShelly Zevlever, author of LIBRARY OF AN OLD GHOST (Wattpad username: shellyzev)

Mentor: Jasmine Warga, author of MY HEART AND OTHER BLACK HOLES, releasing February 10, 2015

About me: I’m a lover of all things bookish. I have a part-time job at my library, am a co-blogger at Read.Sleep.Repeat, and a contributor at Adventures in YA Publishing. It’s not an understatement to say that books run my life.

 How did you get into writing?

I’m not really sure. As I wrote in my original bio for the contest, I had too many ideas that had to be written down! I started writing two years ago, but it wasn’t until this year that I actually committed to a project that I’m proud of.

What do you like to write best?

Currently, I prefer writing YA (although that’s not an actual genre). I dabbled with dystopian, but I soon realized that I like writing contemporaries the best. I’m always noticing the people around me and how they react to things around them. I sometimes just see something and immediately think “I AM TOTALLY WRITING THAT.” So that’s why I like writing contemporaries; you can twist the world around you however you want. I try to write stuff that I’d want to read, because ultimately, I’m writing for myself.

What would you like to see more of in young adult fiction?

I’d definitely love to read more books with diverse main characters, for sure! I absolutely admire the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and I will read any book with diverse characters. I’d especially love to see historical fiction and magical realism with diverse main characters.

 

A huge thank you to all our writers who have been working so hard on their short stories. Don’t forget to visit us next week for the release of COMMON ROOM!

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