Three Questions with Makayla Yokley

As I don't have any new books coming out over the summer, I thought I'd do some special posts. Here's the first one, featuring my friend and fellow author Makayla Yokley. I asked her three questions, and here are her answers:

What is your current book about?

Right now I’m working on the second book in my Lost Angels series, which I’m going to be calling Guardian Angels. This book picks up several months after the first one ended and follows the same cast of characters.

I can’t say too much or else I’ll risk giving away too much about both this one and the first one, but “Guardian Angels” focuses around the Coven and the Alchemists, two criminal organizations of chemists who are on opposing sides of a drug war plaguing Neo-New York City. Laura and the others get dragged into the war and—well . . . I guess you’ll just have to read the book to find out!

Besides that, I just finished writing a post-apocalyptic steampunk novel that I still need to edit. Right now it’s in the “sitting and waiting before editing” phase, which means I’m working on other projects in the meantime.

What is your writing process like?

I usually try to write in the hours before I have to go to work, and again if I have enough energy/motivation after I come home. The process itself is pretty simple, and at the same time impossibly difficult: I sit down and type.

My biggest problem is, and always has been, accepting that the first draft isn’t going to be perfect. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped right in the middle of a draft because it wasn’t coming out the way I envisioned (in a vague sort of way that even I don’t understand half the time) and start over. I’m one of those writers that has to have music on while I write, and more often than not that music comes from YouTube videos. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Green Day and that’s been helping.

Also, the amount of light in my room has to be just right for me to work—something that changes from project to project. The post-apocalyptic steampunk that I wrote was done entirely in faint Christmas lights. Guardian Angels is being done in those same Christmas lights, but also with a bright white lamp on.

What have you read & enjoyed recently?

Recently I’ve gotten back into reading Lois Duncan’s books. I read her in middle school, then periodically since then. Full years have come and gone between readings sometimes, but whenever I pick one up again it always feels like the first time. I don’t know what it is exactly—maybe it’s the ease with which the story flows between one scene and another—but she’s got an incredible style. I’m confident she’s going to be one I’ll keep reading for the rest of my life.

Also I’ve re-read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan which, like Lois Duncan’s novels, is one I keep coming back to over and over again. It’s the fictional account of a girl named Lily who becomes Lao Tong (“Sworn Sisters”) with a girl named Snow Flower. They pass a fan back and forth between them, and on that fan they share pieces of their lives: the good times, the bad times, the tragedies, and the celebrations. The novel follows them as they grow up from little seven-year-old girls into grown women with husbands and families, and does so in such a way that really just grabs on and holds you throughout the whole thing. It’s a quick read but never for a second makes you feel like you missed out on anything.

Thanks, Makayla! Here's where you can find her online:
Makayla's Blog
Amazon Author Page
FB Author Page


Writing Stats for May 2016

Here's the latest update on how much I'm writing this year.

The new story idea has me working. I missed a few sessions, and a day or two, to errands, but overall I'm pleased with how the book is progressing. I wrote 172 pages in May. That's only 20 pages less that what I would have written had I not lost any sessions.

And yes, you read that right: BOOK. The work has just passed 200 pages and 55,000 words, and isn't close to being finished yet. It's the longest piece I've written in at least a few years, if not much longer. That makes me happy, as I haven't written anything close to proper novel length in ages.

Here's hoping for continued productivity in June!

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