Writer’s Desk with Kara Swanson
As the daughter of missionaries, Kara Swanson spent her childhood running barefoot through the lush jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped into a unique world, she quickly fell in love with the fantasy genre.
The award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See, Dust, and Shadow (Heirs of Neverland Duology) Kara guides aspiring authors in telling powerful stories as an author coach and faculty member of the Young Writers Workshop and Author Program alongside Brett Harris.
Kara is passionate about crafting stories of light-shattering darkness, connecting with readers—and taming her own pet Neverbeast.
Be sure to stick around until the end of the post for more about Kara, her most recent releases, Dust and Shadow, plus a chance to win a signed copy of both books!
Q&A with Kara Swanson
Do you have a writing routine? When/Where do you write?
Yes! I tend to write at night, tucked away on my window seat with some coffee, gentle fairy lights to add to the mood, a playlist of story-inspired songs in my ears, and try to get about 3,000 words written in a writing session.
When are you most productive?
At night, once I’ve finished work (I co-run an Author Conservatory!) and don’t have anything else distracting my mind.
What do you snack on or drink while writing?
I love to make myself iced coffee and tend to use it to bribe myself. 😉 I will tell myself I have to finish three pages before I can take another sip, and that helps to motivate me to get more deeply into the story, and by the time I’ve written three pages, the story is usually flowing more smoothly.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
I find that outlining helps a lot with knowing where a story is going. I often have to find the balance between just pushing through when writing gets hard, and making sure I’m not burning out and am living life and resting as needed so that my creative well is filled and I have a rich depth of emotion and experience to pull from.
What is your outlining process? Are you a pantser/plotter or something in between?
I outline using the 3 Act Structure. I bullet point each piece of story structure and outline from there, expanding to have a brief sentence/paragraph describing each chapter.
Best advice for someone who is just starting out.
Write. Lots. And receive good feedback. Nothing can replace the experience of writing many drafts – and not just drafts of one book. Read and write widely so you can learn a variety of skills.
What is your favorite thing to binge-watch: My boyfriend and I have been keeping up with all the latest Marvel shows!
Favorite song right now: “Misery Business” by Paramore as it fits the vibe/aesthetic of my main character 😉
Favorite thing to order at Starbucks: I get an iced mocha at Starbucks!
Enter to win a signed copy of both Dust and Shadow from Kara!*
More about Dust and Shadow:
The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale.
Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real—since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London… and a boy who shouldn’t exist.
Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.
The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan—and herself.
Peter Pan has crash-landed back on Neverland. But this is not the island he remembers.
Desperate to rescue Claire and the fractured Lost Boys, Peter must unravel what truly tore his dreamland apart. But with each step, he is haunted by more of his own broken memories. Not even Pan himself is what he seems.
Claire Kenton is chained to a pirate ship, watching the wreckage of Neverland rocked by tempests. When she finally finds her brother, Connor is every bit as shattered as the island. Claire may have pixie dust flowing in her veins—but the light of Neverland is flickering dangerously close to going out forever.
Connect with Kara Swanson
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