My first guest is Ariana Browning, who writes under the name of A.H. Browne. She is author of Dark Illusions, Dragon's Dawn, and Always Consequences. You can check out her writing website and personal one, and you can find her on Facebook here.
Ariana, tell me a little bit about yourself and your writing career.
I have been writing since I was young, but never really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the storytelling and fantasizing part of it, but not the writing aspects. I never really had a passion for it until my mid 20's, at which time I used it as a way to save myself. A lot of personal stuff happened in my life and I needed something to focus on to get my mind off that. Around my mid teens, I ended up starting with poetry because I've never been good at expressing my emotions and I used that as an outlet. I began to write short stories around 18 or so and then progressed from there with encouragement from people to put it online. When I noticed how much joy it could bring people to read what I wrote and that I could perhaps change lives through it, I found this passion strike me that has stuck with me since then. No matter how much hard work it is at times and how much I wish I could have a break, I couldn't imagine doing anything else. I love it.
I've published 3 books so far and many poems. Short stories too. Some of my poems have been in writing magazines and poetry books, but I've lost touch with where those all are. When I was younger, I sent them off, but didn't think about keeping track. Most of the poetry and short stories can be found on my website (www.ahbrowne.com), as well as what I've published, and the list of what's to come.
How would you define storytelling?
Now that's a great question. I've never really thought about it. Let me see; I would say that storytelling is taking someone into another world of existence. Opening up their heart, mind, and soul, and taking them on an adventure without them ever having to leave where they are at. Magic does exist. All around us. That, is storytelling: magic.
Do you do any other forms of storytelling (any element of theatre, design, fashion, music, etc.)?
Other than trying to motivate other people to better themselves and showing that they can do anything they want, through telling my own story on www.arianasmemoir.com, for now, I do not. I have plans later on for more, maybe even sooner than later, but right this second I am focusing mostly on my books.
How do you think about designing your book covers to communicate to your reader what they are going to experience?
When I design a book cover, I think about the colors and images that most convey the story in psychological ways without giving everything away. For my most recent cover, Always Consequences, I wanted something with a slight military theme overall, but also a woman imprisoned. The psychological part is whether she is imprisoned mentally, physically, or both. I went with a title font which portrayed a military theme, and the blue, green, and grey colors. Those colors went with that more somber quality of being imprisoned. The slight bit of red on her dress was to be eye-catching for the observer and break up the blue, green and grey coloring, but also because one of the main lead males, Umar, happens to dress her in a red dress for his benefit. It's also the color of passion and strength. Then you have the bars she is looking out, which happen to be a window to signify a prison and mental anguish.
So the main theme became military, imprisonment, and the colors blue, grey, green, and red. Simple, but loads of meaning behind it. Covers don't have to be complicated, just eye-catching to make the reader check out the synopsis. (Keep your eyes peeled for free download days! Coming up June 4th and 14th, and July 18th and 19th!)
How do you decide what you are going to write? Where do your story ideas come from?
My ideas come mainly from dreams. Or moments where an idea pops into my head from reading another story, watching a movie, or staring out at nothing and losing myself in nothing for a while, which I admit, I can do when it's gorgeous out. Nature is my addiction. I choose which story to work on through gut instinct. I have had to abandon stories that, after a few chapters, didn't stay with me when I didn't listen. But in general, I always advise choosing one that you feel within. That little voice that says this one. You will never go wrong because even when you're mad at your book, and hate your characters, the love will be there, and you will stick with it. Since doing so, I've rarely, almost never, experienced writer's block.
What is your favourite word?
Favorite word ... wow, not something I thought about. How about "which" when I write and in real life, all the old words! I am determined to keep using old words because I love the sound of them, how they sound, how they flow. I may start annoying people by avoiding contractions too.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Shall I share how much I love chocolate? Oh, sorry, about writing. How about some advice? Know that we all think we're a failure or have that little voice saying "I will never be that good." The winners are the ones who have those thoughts, but keep pushing ahead, despite that fear. In the end, the winners are the ones who don't let that fear keep them from being as amazing as they can be.
Thanks, Ariana for sharing all of this with us! And good luck with your work!