Interview: Rebecca Sky, Author of 'Arrowheart'
Canadian Author, Rebecca Sky, debuts her first novel ‘Arrowheart’ this June- a romance story all about female empowerment and real love. To celebrate, we talked to her about all things writing, inspiration and girl power.
An easy question to begin with, but one I find provides a great difference in answers- What is your inspiration?
Wonder. I’m so darn captivated by life, that everything makes me wonder. I’m constantly questioning, dreaming, wondering. It’s a heavy influence in my characters, in how they see and interact with the world. Also the concept of nature versus nurture. Is the darkness in us cultivated or created? Do we act the way we do because it is what we want or what we were trained to do? I love exploring this in my characters, it helps me look deeper into myself and challenge my own perceptions.
You’re about to release your first traditionally published novel ‘ARROWHEART’ (How exciting!) How would you describe it to our readers?
In Short: Kiss the boys and make them cry.
In Long: Arrowheart is about the descendants of Greek God Eros who have the ability to take the will of anyone they kiss. This is a problem for my main character Rachel who is a romantic that wants someone to love her because they want to and not because they were forced to.
You're travelling through the U.S and U.K to promote your book, but you have also travelled many countries of the world for your own pleasure. Has this influenced what and how you write?
It totally has. I’m so fascinated with culture, part of that is being a third culture kid, and part of that was birthed out of my travels. But even things as little as the way people eat – do the men eat first, do they eat as a community, do they use their hands, a fork, chopsticks, do they eat from plates or a communal bowl – it speaks so much into the history and beliefs of the people. It’s amazing to me how we are all the same but so different, how where we were born and the people that came before us, influence our worldview. I like to try to include as many unique-worldview characters as I can in my novels. I think it makes for a more holistic and interesting read. And seeing the world as best we can from another’s lens, can only help us have more empathy and understanding for each other.
You started writing ARROWHEART on Wattpad (now at 12.1 Million reads!) How has this platform helped you develop as a writer?
So much! I wrote the very first line of my first novel on Wattpad. I had no clue what I was doing and I stumbled into this unusual way of learning with hundreds, thousand, and then millions of people reading my rough drafts and giving me feedback. To be honest, I think access to all that feedback is what helped me grow so fast as a writer. I went from never writing to getting a book deal within five years. That is fast!
One of the main features of Wattpad is the interaction between author and reader- how did you find talking to your readers in the early stages of your book and did this in anyway shape the rest of your story?
I love reading reader comments and experiencing their feeling as they read. It’s such a unique thing that connects me to them on a more personal level. Also, I can be a little cruel as an author, okay a lot cruel. When they tell me they think character A and B should be together, I make sure that never happens. I like to keep them constantly interested and having access to their thoughts as they read allows me to do that.
How important is female identity and strong representation for you in your stories?
So important! I mean, I am female after all and if we don’t stand up for ourselves who will? That said it really bothers me this new perception that women who want men, or romance, are lesser feminists than other women. That’s such crap. Almost all my books have a strong romantic element because I believe a woman being able to choose whatever she wants to do with her body, whoever she wants to love or not love, that is what’s empowering. The choice, not what the choice is. Also, I write romance because I believe all women should be treated like Queens!
What is your writing process? What does a typical writing day look like for you?
Waste hours on twitter.
Force myself to write.
At this point I’m either sucked into writing or I’ve been sidetracked by Twitter.
Netflix or Read.
Bedtime but I can’t sleep because of the amount of caffeine in my system so I read or wander back to the computer and write some more.
Basically, it’s a wrestling match between procrastinating and engaging. I notice the more positive I am about myself and my art the easier it is to slip into writing and forget about time, twitter, and yes, *gasp* even caffeine. Self-care, especially in areas of mental health, are so important to keep that positive mood going.
Name three other female authors who you love to read!
Mindy McGinnis: The female of the Species is dark and twisty with some of the best character writing I‘ve read.
Maura Milan: Ignite The Stars, a gender-swapped Hans Solo-esque story, yes please! (Plus she’s a debut so I’m excited to see what comes next for Maura).
Monica Sanz: Seventh Born, or any of her work, which is so poetic and atmospheric you’ll see the world differently just for having read it.
What one book do you wish you had been the one to write?
Anne of Green Gables, for obvious reasons and also Gilbert Blithe is my book boyfriend for life.
If you could pass one bit of advice to other authors and aspiring writers- what would it be?
Read. Then read some more, in your genre and in others. And write, for fun, to learn and grow, and with whatever ambitions fuel you. It’s easy to get trapped in the need for perfection, especially if you want to publish your book. But the need for perfection stifles creativity and growth. Allow yourself the grace to make mistakes and the grace to take the time needed to get to the place where your work is publishable. Some of us take longer than others and that’s okay!
Finally, where can we find ARROWHEART from June 14th?
Clutched proudly to my chest, and/or in all major bookstores in the UK and Germany and online everywhere else for now!
Interviewed by Rachael Mole, Magazine Manager of Manchester Girl