Today my special guest is Sydney Crawford, better known in literary circles as Sydney Dreamweaver. She is currently working on her fifth book (yes, I did say FIFTH) at the ripe old age of fourteen. You won’t want to leave your seats for this interview with one amazing Teen-acious Teen. Her first book, Blindfolded, An Im Agine Novel, was published when she was twelve, followed by two more, The Mermaid’s Daughter and A Ghostly Murder the same year. Her fourth book, The Timekeeper’s Son was published the following year, and number five is in the works.
LP: Sydney, we all want to know how a 14-year old gets into the writing business so quickly and prolifically! Tell us when and how it all started.
SC: Well, I really realized I loved to write in fourth grade, but I’ve written way before that. My stories were cute little stories about unicorns teaming up with dragons to save the day—a lot of cute little fantasy stories. The first one I finished was about a mermaid, in fact. I was shy at first to let anyone else read them, but after finishing Blindfolded: An Im Agine Novel, I let my grandmother read it and edit it. I wrote that one out long hand like I had with other stories, but after months of slowly and painstakingly transferring it to a word document, we decided that I should type them up every time.
LP: You must have started reading at an early age. What types of books do you enjoy most now? Can you name a few of the best books you have read and why?
SC: I know I was really young when I first began to read, but I can’t remember the certain time. It was a natural thing when I was younger. Once I started to read, I just couldn’t stop because reading was so much fun! It’s really hard to pick favorites, but I really like Fantasy and Science-Fiction, like Percy Jackson or Divergent. Fantasy and Science Fiction are really my favorite genres because everything can be blended, and it’s super fun to see how others can twist the laws of nature.
LP: Since you are a student with regular homework, when or how do you find time to write books?
SC: I write whenever I can, and whenever I feel the inspiration. I don’t have a lot of homework to do at home because most of it I do during school, but if I do have homework the writing has to wait, even if it’s an itching feeling. Weekends, breaks and summer are when I like to write the most, where I can curl up on my bed or at my desk and just type whatever I can.
LP: What publishing process are you using? Is someone helping you navigate all the steps in the process (editing, proof-reading, covers, marketing, etc.)?
SC: I’m self-published, and my grandmother and I are a team when it comes to getting a book out there. I usually do all the customization stuff myself (the cover, the blurb, the “about the author,” and of course, the writing) while she does all the other stuff (editing, proofreading, marketing, and especially finances). It’s really great to have her next to me through this process, because if she didn’t help me, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
LP: Without going into detail, are you satisfied with what your books are earning? Are you saving the earnings for a special purpose?
SC: I’m satisfied with just the knowledge that my books are out there. The money is fine, of course, but I’m into writing for the fun and excitement of telling stories. All the money is being saved up for something special, probably college when I’m eighteen.
LP: Do you have time for other activities? if so, can you name some and a few details about your favorites outside of writing?
SC: I like to draw, and I guess I’m pretty good at it. I’m pestered to put my artwork into my books, but I don’t think I’ve hit that point in my art yet. I also play some videogames (not full-on, just stuff like Mario Kart or whatever) and I read. I hang with my friends as well, and the girls in my neighborhood kind of share my interests but kind of don’t at the same time. That’s good, I guess, because everyone sharing my interests would be boring after a while. I am involved in my church youth group, which also provides lots of opportunity for service.
LP: I understand that you are attending Early College. Tell us a little about how that came about and what it is like.
SC: Early College is a half-high school half-college sort of deal. It’s all free, and only eighty kids get accepted each year. It’s amazing for me to have been accepted, out of the more than three hundred kids who applied. The core subjects (Math, English, Science, and History) are all sped up in a way. I took the first few core subjects last semester and I’m taking the ones after it this semester. The school wants our core classes out of the way so we can start taking our college classes, with like, actual college professors and people. Freshmen only take one college class, Gym (I, for one, was not a fan), and then it starts to expand after sophomore year into what major you’re going into. After four or five years, you’ll be able to graduate with enough credits for an associate’s degree. Oh, and most of the high school classes are in trailers.
LP: Can you share a few things that you have learned about the writing process along the way? Does writing get easier as you become more prolific? How has your writing changed from the first book to the most recent one you are working on?
SC: Well, I’ve learned a lot of things about writing these past couple of years. I’ve definitely gotten more descriptive and have put more action and subplots into my novels, and I’ve actually finished them. Writing isn’t as easy as you’d think it would be. I sometimes find myself staring at a blank page before slamming my forehead on my desk multiple times because of a dreaded thing called writers block. NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has helped me manage to make the first draft of the first novel I’ll be publishing this year, and thank goodness for that. Looking back from Blindfolded to now, I can definitely say that they’ve gotten more intense (is that the right word?) as far as story, plot, description, and especially cliffhangers.
LP: Thanks so much for giving us your time today, Sydney, and we wish you continued success in your writing career. Readers, you can find Sydney on Facebook as Sydney Dreamweaver, Twitter @SDreamweaver, and on Instagram as Syd Dreamweaver Official. Her books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, as well as Sweat Repeats and More in Waxhaw.
Hey READERS, I would love to hear from you.
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