The awesome Yara Gharios agreed to be our first interview here on The Literature Hub. She's a relatively new author, but she's definitely one to watch.
When did you start writing?
I guess, if you want to get technical, I wrote my first short story when I was 8, as in, I documented it using pen and paper. I still have it laminated somewhere in my treasure box where I keep everything I've ever written. But even before that, I wrote stories for school and always enjoyed them. I even made up some that I told myself, often when I was scared of going to bed, or happy about something. I can't remember ever not having a story to tell.
Do you plot out your books or do you just sit down and write?
I'd say it's a pretty 50-50 division. Some things I have no control over, such as when the idea strikes. Plus, because I'm such an avid reader, I like to treat my books when I'm writing them as if I'm reading them at the same time. I like keeping some things a mystery even to me, which means I don't always plan the way the actions unfold. What I do plan is the major things; the resolution, the knots and the plot twists, for example. I've tried making an outline before I start writing, but that took the fun out of it, for me. Every writer has his or her own technique, and I prefer to be a bit more spontaneous.
What is your least favourite part of the writing/publishing process?
My least favorite part is the critical revision with my writing beta. Everything comes into question there, and I get moments of fear and doubt. However, my writing beta is also my best friend and one of my biggest supporters, which means her criticism is always honest and in the purpose of improving the story. The process solidifies the entire book and makes it even better. In a way, I guess, it's also my favorite part of the writing/publishing process. I come out of it with more confidence in my story.
How many books have you written, and which is your favourite?
Wow, this is going to take a moment. I haven't thought about the numbers in so long. My first full novel was part of a trilogy, about a girl who finds out she's from another planet and has to save her parents. I wrote all three of the books at 11-12. Then I wrote four novellas (short novels), three of which were published as a single book. And then I started another trilogy, about two people going back in time and falling in love, but then going back to the present and only the girl remembers their story. I still have a soft spot for that one. But I only finished the first installment and wrote two chapters of the second. I wrote another novella and I started about three novels after that, but I didn't get far in the novels. That's when I started the Guardian Children series. I finished one book and a half of this 5-books series before my next idea hit, and I wrote Beauty of Blue Hills in four months. Next came the idea for Silver, but I'm working slowly on that one, because I really want it to be perfect. Also because I'm writing the Masked SheWolf trilogy at the same time. Roughly speaking, from the age of 11 until now (so about half my life), I guess I finished around 13 novels and novellas (if you count UnMasked as finished) and have partially written 6. Each one means something different to me, but I can't really pick a favorite. I'm attached to all of them in some varying degrees. They're my babies.
Do you have a favourite author? If so, who?
I admire a lot of authors, but I don't think I have favorites. I can name a few whose works I am amazed by, but they're all over the place and there's not much in common with most of them. There's Richelle Mead, Veronica Roth, Charlotte Bronte, J.K. Rowling, Nicholas Sparks, Thomas Hardy, Amanda Hocking, Harper Lee, Charles Dickens and Rick Riordan, to name a few.
Which authors have most influenced your writing, if any?
I don't always notice how influenced I am by other authors, but the of the ones I have noticed, Richelle Mead is the most recent. In some things, I didn't even realize I was trying to be more like her until I re-read some of my favorite novels written by her and saw the similarities in style. I'm also influenced by Suzanne Collins a lot, and Veronica Roth, because I like the dystopian genre.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
Absolutely, I always look for reviews wherever I can find them. Other than comments on Wattpads, I don't really respond to them, good or bad. I mean, I don't write out an answer to the person who made the review, because that would be time consuming. But of course I react to all of them and imagine what I would say if I could write back. When it comes to dealing with bad reviews, I don't think that I've ever gotten anything too bad, and that makes them easier to ignore. Bad reviews will be either constructive or destructive. The former is always good, because even if I might not agree with the reviewer's opinion, it's helpful to know what other people think. It makes me step up my game and want to prove them wrong. But when the reviews are destructive and don't really have a specific point other than to attack the author, that's when writers are usually affected the most. For me, it's not an issue, because those people know nothing about me and are just trying to get me down for no reason. My advice is to just ignore them. Petty reviews don't matter. Often, I didn't have to think of a reply because some faithful readers are always quick to defend me. One bad voice vs. 2 or 3 good ones is quickly drowned out.
What literary character do you most admire?
For many personal reasons, I admire characters who are flawed but whose decisions are affected by whether or not they're doing something good for someone else. I realize that's a very general thing to say, but I don't have any higher regard than for morally strong and altruistic characters. That's not to say I like those who disregard or even bring themselves down. I admire characters who know their own worth and fight for it, but not when it goes against what's morally right or is at the expense of another. With that in mind, at the top of my head, I can only think of Jane Eyre and Jamie Sullivan from A Walk To Remember.
What writing advice have you been given that has helped you the most?
The advice that has been most helpful to me is not strictly related to writing. I think it could be applied to everything, and that's why I always use it, if it applies, when someone asks me for advice. "Do what you love and love what you do, but don't ever give up on it."
What do you have planned next for your writing?
Well, I have just published an edited and revised edition of Masked SheWolf and am currently working on UnMasked. I'll continue writing Exposed after that's done. When the trilogy is complete, I would like to release the second book in the Guardian Children series. I'm also very excited about writing Silver, but I'm taking my time more with this one, as I said.
Read our Masked SheWolf review here.
Visit Yara's Smashwords page here.
Connect with Yara on Wattpad here.
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