So, this week I got a chance to interview the author of the Young Adult novel, Letters from Sam to Kylie, which will be published on May 14th!
Hey Lyss! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!
Hi there! First of all, thank you for having me here, Heather!
Question: What does your writing process look like?
I guess I don't have a strict writing process going on. Some may
call me a pantster rather than a plotter. Usually, I gather up all
these ideas in my mind first before I start blurting them out in the
paper, so I technically filter it out first in my head then filter it
out on paper again. So my first draft is usually a bit of a mess.
Question: Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
I don't think I have a strange writing habit, but if there's one
thing I could share, it's that I write a better if I'm imagining that
I'm the one who's talking with the character.Example if I have to
write a scene where the character is mad at someone, I try to think of
myself as the person that character is mad at. I don't know why, but
it helps me connect with the character, it helps me get to know him at
that point, how he reacts, how he talks. It's weird.
Questions: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I am actually writing under a pseudonym right now. Lyss V. is my
pseudonym for Letters From Sam To Kylie. However, I might consider
writing under my real name in the future. Let's just see where this
Question: Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
So many authors have inspired me to write, but J.K. Rowling
definitely has a large impact on my writing journey. Harry Potter has
been one of the first series I read and love, and I absolutely fell in
love with the world she had created. And someday, it's my dream to
build a world as realistic and as great as she had done with the Harry
Question: If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
I never thought of this to be honest, if Letters From Sam To Kylie
ever becomes a movie, I would probably die of happiness. I don't have
any actors in mind but I guess it would be awesome if Chloe Moretz
could play Kylie Darthrow. Kat Graham or or Amandla Stenberg for Mona.
I think Lily Collins would be great of Jenny. But for the Sam and
Carlos, I still can't think of characters that could fit them, not
just in the physical appearance but moreover their personality in the
Question: How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
The meanings of the names of my characters do play a small part in
the book. However for Kylie and Sam, I just named them after my close
friends who inspired me to start Letters From Sam To Kylie in the
first place. Mona's name however means 'hope', and in the book, she
somehow gives hope to Kylie whenever she seems lost of it. While Jenny
means wave, and in the book, she's wild and could be a bit vicious
when she wants to be.
Question: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
I don't view it as a kind of spiritual practice, since I view
spiritual practice in a different way. However, when I do write, I
give it my all. I don't write when a part of me knows if I do, I'll
just be doing it half-heartedly.
Question: What is the most emotional scene you have written to date?
Well, I got two scenes that have become the most emotional scenes
I've ever written. And one of them is in Letters From Sam To Kylie.
That's all I'm going to say, haha!
Question: Does your family support your career as a writer?
Yes, actually! My parents absolutely supported me all the way,
from the first time I posted a book on Wattpad till now, they never
cease to show their support by sharing it with their friends and also
by listening to me rant about my characters. They always say to
continue following my dreams and to never stop. Same goes for my
grandparents and relatives. It actually feels good to know that what
you're doing makes them proud because it makes you a whole lot more
determined to that job even better.
Question: About how long did it take you to write Letters from Sam to Kylie?
It took me less than a year to write the first draft, but I
thought of the idea way back at the beach. It took me a lot of months
before I could finally write my ideas down and turn it into the story
it is now today, and I wouldn't have done it when my friends haven't
encouraged me to write about it that's for sure.
Question: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
I think what I'd tell her is what I think my future self would
tell me too, and it's to keep writing. No matter how hard it is, no
matter whether you're having a lack of inspiration coming in, you
should write and never give up on your dreams. Because it's going to
be those dreams that will be a part of you as you grow up.
Question: What does Literary success mean to you?
I guess literary success, for me, doesn't mean a thousand people
buying your work.I guess it's people actually being affected and
inspired by your work. The number of people buying your work should
not be a way to measure your success, but instead it should be the
number of people who actually got inspired and learned a valuable
lesson through your work. Because I think that's the real reason why
people write–so they can be heard and listened.
Question: Do you read your reviews or do you choose to not focus on them and just your writing?
I read my reviews, but that hasn't been my main focus. The real
reason why I read reviews is so that I can improve on my writing.
Question: Do you have any friends that are published or soon to be published authors? If so, how have they helped you become a better writer?
My publisher, Melissa, actually guided me through this entire
process. She helped me become a better writer by just simply believing
that I could write a book that's actually worth publishing. It's
wonderful, and what makes it greater is that through that, I met a lot
of other authors that have become my friends along the way too. I
think we help each other out by just blurting out ideas of our books
and just helping each other out when we move around topics we know
Question: What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
My least favorite in the writing process is the editing. It has
to be the editing. Because it's when you take a step back and realize
that the first draft you thought was a complete 'masterpiece' wasn't
actually that great at all. It's where you tear down your story bit by
bit and stick it all together again till you're satisfied. Though I
absolutely loved the end result, the process wasn't all that
pretty–that I can absolutely say.
Question: What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
I owe them a lot. I may have only put attention on my two main
characters, but the other characters I created got bits and pieces of
the personality I got form my other friends and family.Without them, I
don't think the characters would be who they are now.To be honest,
without these people, I don't think Letters From Sam To Kylie would
even be finished. They're the ones who helped cheer me on to finish
the book, and for that I would always be grateful.
Question What was an early experience where you learned that a lot like superheroes, language has/holds power?
I was always told how words could leave a much deeper scar than
actions. However, I that didn't actually sink in till I hurt my one of
my classmates using my words and helped comfort a friend using my
words too, both happening at the same day. I think I was in first or
second grade back then. But it was that moment I realized how words
could literally hurt and heal someone. And as I continue to grow and
find a love for books and reading, it also made me realize how words
could also inspire and push people towards the right direction.
Question: Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?
I think sad scenes are a bit harder for me to write. Since there
are times where my character would go through something I haven't gone
through before, so I can't personally connect with the emotions that
certain character could feel. But to be honest, as I get to know the
characters, the sad scenes are easier now, given now I could see how
they're going to react, how they're going to feel. I haven't exactly
tried to write a racy scene, so that has to be the type of scene where
I could see myself will really struggle with, that's for sure.
Question: How many unpublished books/manuscripts do you currently have that you want to publish one day?
I have a lot. I got two fantasy trilogies that I've been
rewriting. I got another trilogy I'm working on at the moment. And I
have two stand-alone books that are half-way in their first drafts,
haha–that makes a total of eleven books? Hopefully in due time, I
could publish them all.
Question: Have you ever gotten readers block?
Yes. There was this one book where I tried to read (see? I
couldn't even remember it!) where I find myself just stuck in the
first chapter. I usually finish my books, no matter how thick, by the
end of the week. However, this certain book had me reading it for two
whole weeks, and I haven't even got pass the first chapter! It was
hell. That's when I decided to drop the book and head over to find
another book in my shelf. Hm, now that I'm thinking of it, I wonder
where it is now.
Question: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A dog or an owl.
Question: Do you believe in Writers block?
Yes. I actually find myself stuck in this chapter in Letters From
Sam To Kylie with absolutely nothing in my mind. I guess that's the
cons of being a pantster. I don't have an outline I could look back
to and be like, "Hey, this should happen." However, I did scrape my
way through it.
Question: What is one thing you wish to accomplish by writing and publishing your books, both Letters from Sam to Kylie and future books?
I guess I want to accomplish sending my message across. Like for
Letters From Sam To Kylie, I want the message of trust being very
important in relationships as well as friendships be learned from
readers and friends all over the world. I want to inspire people like
authors have inspired me, and if I accomplished that, I'm sure that
I'll feel like the most accomplished person in the entire universe.
Question: What do you find is more important: A unique title, a powerful blurb, or a one of a kind cover? Why?
The blurb because in my opinion, what makes people turn the
book's page isn't the beautiful cover nor the eye-catching title, it's
how powerful the synopsis is.
About The Author