Writer’s Desk with E.B. Dawson
E.B. Dawson is an award-winning independent author. Raised in the remote regions of a developing nation, her visits to America as a child felt like traveling into the future. Now she writes science fiction and fantasy to make sense of her unusual perspectives on life. She currently lives in Idaho with her best friend and roommate, drinking lots of tea, learning crochet, and studying philosophy.
More about Sing to Me of Rain:
An innocent naiad. A wounded boy. An adventure that will change their lives forever.
Plip is a naiad of the Great Waterfall, destined to one day sing the songs that send rain out into the world.
Akino isn’t destined for anything but trouble. His father long gone, his mother working on a plantation far away, he doesn’t really belong in the village below the Waterfall. And the villagers don’t let him forget it.
When Akino convinces Plip to travel down the mountain with him, for his own selfish purposes, he launches them into a world more dangerous than either of them could imagine. A world where people are not always what they seem and the rain does not fall evenly across the land.
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Q&A with E.B. Dawson
TG: Everyone always asks for an interesting fact, we’re going to flip the question. What is one boring fact about yourself?
EBD: I have a strict bedtime these days. No more late-night writing sessions. Even on weekends and days off, as I have gotten older I have found value in keeping my body in a routine.
TG: Where did you get the inspiration for Sing to Me of Rain?
EBD: Inspiration for Sing to Me of Rain came from a couple of places. I had a vivid fantasy dream that was so unlike any fantasy I’d seen or read. I don’t remember the content of the dream but it left a distinct emotional and artistic vision in my heart. From there I started collecting images and music that seemed in tune with that vision. There was a picture on Pinterest of houses built along a waterfall, which became the centerpiece for the worldbuilding of the story. The music from the video game Ori and the Blind Forest became the audio inspiration. The final piece seemed to fall in place when I was house-sitting for my aunt and uncle. They have a beautiful house that overlooks a lake. It was springtime and I was watching storms roll in over the lake when I sat down and wrote the first scene.
TG: Do you have any habits or rituals as a writer?
EBD: Not really. Every book has been so different. There have been seasons where I wrote multiple books in a year and seasons where it took multiple years to write a book. The only “rituals” would be a hot beverage and music. I really value sensory stimulation when writing.
TG: What habits would you encourage others to take up to be a more productive writer?
EBD: Setting a timer for yourself can be extremely helpful. Especially if you have someone afterward who will ask you what your word count was, or if you finished the scene you were on. I have also often found it useful to stop writing in the middle of a scene when you know what the next line is going to be. It can give you some momentum for the next day.
TG: What do you snack on or drink while writing?
EBD: I drink tea or coffee (depending on the time of day). I love snacks! Some of my favorites are Biscoff cookies (to dip in the tea or coffee), cheese and crackers, or chips and salsa.
TG: How do you overcome writer’s block?
EBD: I force myself to seek out creativity in another format. This could be cooking or baking, taking a walk in nature, crocheting, rewatching a series that I love, or drawing. Consuming art fills my creative well and also gets my brain working in new directions and reminds me what is most important to me about the art I want to produce and the stories I want to tell.
TG: Are you an “edit-as-you-go” writer or do you wait until the very end before you do any editing?
EBD: I definitely edit as I go! If I know on a gut level that a scene doesn’t work (for plot or character reasons or whatever), I can’t leave it behind and push forward. That would be like leaving a mess of a house before you go on vacation. Sure, it sounds good to just escape for now and maybe you’d come back refreshed and able to clean, but I know myself and that it’s awful to come home to a dirty house and that as lovely as vacations can be, they are also draining. I like to call myself a Trailblazer. I know the major landmarks of where I am going in a story, but the details get worked out as I carve a path through the jungle. If that path starts to get crooked, it could lead me to a dead end or a swamp. If I see I’m not aiming properly for one of my major landmarks, I need to correct the course as quickly as possible. I’m also very deliberate about word choice and dialogue. I will tidy up paragraphs and dialogue as I go because it just makes me happy and more confident.
TG: What would you say is the most common mistake new writers make?
EBD: I see a lot of writers tackle emotional subjects they clearly don’t have personal experience with. I’m convinced the old writing adage, “Write what you know,” is not about plot or setting (or we certainly wouldn’t have science fiction or fantasy). All those things can be researched or imagined. What it’s talking about is people and emotional themes. There are a lot of things you just can’t write about convincingly unless you or someone you know has actually experienced them. And a reader who has walked through them is going to see right through you if you don’t have the maturity to know what you’re talking about.
TG: What is the best piece of writing advice you’re ever received?
EBD: It’s not complicated: get feedback on your work.
TG: What is coming up next for you?
EBD: I’m currently in grad school pursuing a master of philosophy, which is super exciting! It’s going to fuel new stories in so many ways, but it means all my writing projects have extended deadlines. I’m in the brainstorming and developmental stages for a follow-up book to Sing to Me of Rain, as well as an epic-scale hard sci-fi space opera.
Enter for a chance to win a copy of E.B. Dawson’s award-winning book Sing to Me of Rain
Don’t miss E.B. Dawson’s Chat Monday, May 22nd at 7:30 PM on the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Facebook Group! Click below to join the group + watch the LIVE!