I first had the pleasure of meeting Tierney when she attended my Friday after-school writing class at the library. I now teach Tierney (along with her two younger sisters and several other wonderfully creative young people) in a weekly home school writers’ group. A polite, enthusiastic, hard-working young woman, Tierney has impressed me again and again with the quality of her writing and her willingness to push herself and take on suggestions for improvement while never losing her own distinctive voice.
Check out my interview with Tierney below:
How old are you / where do you go to school?
I am thirteen, and I’m homeschooled. Learning at home is fantastic, because I can use the time that schoolchildren spend on the bus to edit a story or scribble down a poem
When did you start writing?
I started writing at a very early age, and began attending the School for Young Writers at age eight. Since then, writing has been my favourite thing to do.
What sorts of things do you write?
I enjoy writing short stories and poetry, but am always trying out new forms of writing, such as songs, radio plays and even novels. My favourite type of poem to write is a haiku, a short three-lined poem.
Have you ever been published?
I have been published several times in the School for Young Writers magazine, Write On, as well as on the Christchurch Art Gallery blog. Recently I have been published on a site called FaBo3. FaBo3 is a competition in which young writers compete to have their “novel chapters” chosen as winning pieces. Here is a link to a chapter that I won:
What is the most rewarding thing for you about writing?
The most rewarding thing about writing for me is having people read my work and see something in a different light, or stop and think. It’s wonderful when a story has an impact on someone.
What is the most frustrating thing?
The most frustrating thing is writer’s block! It always seems to occur when I have a deadline. It seems that inspiration only comes when it wants to.
What sorts of things inspire story ideas for you? Can you give me an example?
I get my story ideas from my experiences, surroundings and reading. One story I wrote, called The Fall of Icarus, was inspired by the legend of Daedalus and Icarus, as well as a painting by Bill Hammond, also called The Fall of Icarus. My inspiration comes from anything that makes me ask questions.
What do you like to read? Do you think your reading influences your writing? In what way?
I like to read historical fiction, true stories, and fantasy. I definitely think that what you read influences what you write. My writers “voice” is made up of my favourite authors voices all stuck together- plus my own unique style. No-one writes the same way. Styles are like potions, and reading is like adding something new to that potion, making it stronger and more distinctive.
What sort of advice would you give other young authors who want to write but aren’t too sure where to start?
The best advice I can give to young writers is to:
1) Read, and develop your writing “voice”,
2) Enter as many competitions as you can,
3) Try to surround yourself with people who can give you constructive feedback. These people can show you how to improve your writing,
4) Finally, no matter how much someone tries to alter your work, your decision is final. Take their advice, but don’t let your piece become their piece.
Good advice for all of us!
A big thanks to Tierney for participating in my interview series for SpecFicNZ’s Blogging Week. Remember to comment for your chance to win a signed paperback copy of my novel ‘The Silver Hawk’.