Tell us a little about yourself first.
My name is Zara Hoffman. I’m sixteen going on seventeen, (Emily starts humming The Sound of Music) a junior in high school, and self-published my debut novel on November 13, 2013. It’s a fantasy romance novel, and the first in The Belgrave Legacy Trilogy.
I love The Sound of Music! Oh, wait... getting back on track here. Who or what has had the most influence on you as a writer?
My grandma and mom, both of whom strongly encouraged my love of reading and writing. And authors who inspired me are Philip Pullman, JK Rowling, and James Patterson.
What do you do when you're not writing?
Lots of homework, singing, and playing with my puppy.
Ugh. Homework. It's the one thing adult authors have over teens: no homework.
What is your writing process? Do you write regularly at certain times or just when inspiration hits?
I get an inspirational dream, then write it down, then I go back and do a loose outline for the book. I try and write at least 100-300 words a day. When it's a good day, I can do around 1k-2k.
Hey, I start off with dreams too! :)
What inspired your book? How did it all start?
It actually started out as two different books. One a realistic fiction romance, and the other a spy novel where the main character has to betray her best friend. Both morphed together, and a lot of things changed to create The Belgrave Daughter.
What was your favorite book or author as a teen? What's your favorite now?
The Giver by Lois Lowry. Now it’s either Fire by Kristin Cashore or Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. It’s hard for me to choose just one.
Oh, I can relate! Can you tell us about the publishing process? Was there anything in particular that surprised you or that was easier (or harder) than you expected?
Editing was harder than I anticipated. By a lot. (Emily: Truth!) Every time I went through the book (8 drafts), I found more mistakes. It got tedious, but I always improved the story, so it was worth it. Working on the cover was surprisingly less stressful than I thought it would be, especially since I was collaborating with an artist. He was very receptive to my feedback and timely in sending in his drafts. So that was a relief.
I have to say, my favorite part of self-publishing is the great team with me - editor, cover designer, formatter. They help keep me sane.
Are you planning any other books?
Yes, I am. Two more in The Belgrave Legacy trilogy, and a fairytale retelling series of four standalone novels called Fearful Fairytales.
How does your real life interact/play a role in/interfere with your writing life?
Well, homework takes up most of my time, so does family events. Usually I find time to write despite both of those, but Junior Year is constantly leaving me short on time.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but senior year... is not better. At all. I'm right there with you.
If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
I think I’d be a teacher. I love working with kids and have enjoyed tutoring little kids.
And finally, some extras: where can I find you online?
You can find me on my website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.