And we’re back with a new instalment of Getting to know… Today, our guest is Wattpad sensation Avylinn Winter. We first met last autumn through a mutual friend and spent a great day together drinking coffee, eating pastries at a wonderful café just outside of Stockholm and writing. Volatile, Avylinn’s debut novel, launched recently and it’s already getting rave reviews.
Avylinn, I am so glad you could join us today. And congrats to the release of Volatile! I’ve been following the reviews and readers are really connecting with it–but we saw that already on Wattpad. Let’s get started, could you tell our readers a little about yourself?
I’m from a smallish town in Sweden, but I’ve moved around a bit since I left my hometown ten years ago. Currently, I’m based in Stockholm, which is a great city with loads of possibilities. I’m one of those boring people who don’t have a lot of interests outside of work and writing. I used to ride horses, but after an accident last year, I’ve stopped that endeavor. I guess I should take up another hobby soon, but I’ve not found anything that holds my interest for long.
I think we don’t need a lot of hobbies. If you have one or two things that make you happy, then that works. 🙂 I don’t have many–mostly writing and traveling and enjoying good food. 🙂
So tell me, what is your favorite part of being a writer?
I love creating characters and stories, and I absolutely love to discuss my creations with readers. I have a very fulfilling interaction with my readers on Wattpad, and it’s absolutely wonderful. Without that interaction, I’m not sure I would have continued to write these last three years.
Did you always know you wanted to be an author?
I’m not sure there was a particular moment. I more or less grew into it, I guess. When I began posting stories for free online, it was more of a steady progression than a sudden realization. I’m still not sure I’m an author to be honest.
Trust me, you are definitely an author. You’ve been writing such great M/M stories that are connecting with readers. I’d say you are a natural born storyteller. When you write, would you say you are a plotter or pantster?
I’m definitely a pantser, but I do try to have a general idea of how I want the story to develop. It’s more like a guide than a strict plan, however. And most of the times, my characters end up going their own way, leaving me behind to chase after them. I have a feeling I might plan a bit more if I end up writing more plot-driven stories in the future. With character based stories it seems natural for me to let them have their way once in a while.
What about writing spaces? I know I love writing in cafés. I also love sitting on my balcony and writing (when Swedish weather permits). What about you? Where’s your favorite writing space?
I mostly write from my couch, staring at the screen with next to no distractions in the background. I’m not one of those who can work to music, instead I prefer silence. I’ve tried other settings as well, but it doesn’t work as well. I think I need my peace and quiet.
What’s your typical day of writing like?
I don’t write all that often, actually. I typically write a chapter on Saturdays or Sundays when I have enough time on my hands. I prefer longer sessions where I can finish a chapter since I post all of them as first drafts on Wattpad. I have a loose schedule that my readers keep reminding me of. Some days I tend to sit until I’m finished without stopping in between, other days I take breaks, so I’m not sure if I can tell you what’s my typical day. I try to keep the pressure low, that’s all.
I know what you mean. Some days I can write for hours until my fingers hurt. Other times, I can write a couple of scenes and then take a break. Sometimes I can spend hours just looking for images that help inspire my writing. What about you? When you write, do you imagine any particular actors/actresses as your leads? Or do you find inspiration elsewhere?
I usually have a face of a model or an actor in mind when I write because it helps me focus on certain physical aspects that I might otherwise forget. I’m not a very visual writer, so it really helps me along. I’ve also found that it helps me keep descriptions solid throughout a series since I have the worst memory ever and keep forgetting to type up what traits I’ve used to describe someone. I’m very inefficient that way.
Readers often ask me if I have a favourite character. I think it changes based on my mood. What about you? Have you got a favourite character that you’ve created?
I think I have to say Joachim. He’s in the third book of the Treacherous Chemistry series. I can relate a lot to Joachim, and I think that’s why I like him so much. He’s from Stockholm, which helps a lot. He’s also trying very hard to be the person others want him to be. He keeps up a cheery façade even though he’s not actually happy all the time. I’m not as good as Joachim at hiding when I’m unhappy, but I still feel very connected to him. Whenever I write about him, I tend to smile a lot.
That’s definitely the sign of a favourite character! It’s like that me when I write about Mads. 🙂 Now, Avylinn, you have to tell me–what are you working on now? Can you give us a sneak peek of the plot?
I’m working on two books actually. I have already written the first, second, third, fourth and fifth draft of my second installation in the Treacherous Chemistry series, but I’m still not happy with it. While revising, I’m also writing on the third one. Attraction is still in the first draft stage, though, which makes it a bit easier to write. At least when you compare it to the manuscript from hell, i.e. Toxic.
What are you reading now?
I’m reading a book written by an acquaintance of mine, Christian Baines. I was seriously impressed by the first novel I read from him which is called Puppet Boy. This second story of his that I’m reading is called The Orchard of Flesh, and it’s just as dark as Puppet Boy, but with a bit more romance going on in the background. If you enjoy dark and gritty stuff with a lot of sharp wit, give Christian a chance. He’s really an excellent writer and I don’t say that because we’re friends.
Have you ever thought about co-writing a book with someone? If you could work on a collaborative project with any writer, who would be your dream writing partner?
I would actually be super interested in writing something together with Christian Baines, but I have a feeling both of us would tear each other’s throats out before finishing the first chapter. But I was allowed to dream here, after all.
What would you say is the most difficult part of being a writer?
Currently, I find it most difficult to reach the right kind of readership. I’m not in 100% control of my marketing since I’m with a publisher, which means that I have to follow their lead. For instance, my recent release, Volatile, works for a YA audience, but since my publisher is an adult publisher, I can’t market it for YA.
What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
I think the best advice came from a quote. I’m not entirely sure where it originated, but the gist of it is that the first draft is telling yourself the story, the second draft is preparing to tell someone else. It gives me a lot of freedom to feel that I can play around with the first draft (even though I actually publish my first drafts online).
What’s your take on writers needing social media? Is it vital for today’s authors?
It appears to be absolutely necessary when you’re starting out. We have the tools today to seek out groups of people who can support you from afar, but I’ve also found that a lot of what happens online is empty content. It’s not absolutely certain that it will help regardless of how active you are. I have my platform on Wattpad which is a social reading and writing community, but I’m also on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve found that I can’t really keep up with all three in a good way, however, so that’s another complication to consider.
What do you think about fiction addressing topical social issues? Some readers say they only read to escape and don’t want to be reminded of racism, social inequality, etc when they open a book. What’s your take on this?
I like to be challenged when I read, but I also see the point of books with escapism in mind. I think readers tend to interpret content in their own way, however, so I’m not entirely sure that it’s always up to the author. I don’t know if that answer made any sense at all, but I’m rolling with it.
It made perfect sense! I am like you–I read to be challenged and have new experiences. But sometimes I just want to escape. 🙂
Before we sign out, could you share with our readers the advice would you give to novice writers?
Write because you love it, write for yourself, write what you’re passionate about. The rest will sort itself out.
Wise words, indeed! I hope you’ve all enjoyed getting to know Avylinn! Make sure you connect with her!