AaronLeeSharp is a fantastic author on the wattpad platform. He has seven published stories in his name and Ten works in total. With over a thousand followers he proves himself as being a fantastic author time and again.
READ INTERVIEW BELOW!
QUESTION #1: When and how do you start your day? What do you do to prepare yourself for a day of work and your morning routine?
ANSWER: Haha, well in traditional bachelor fashion my mornings look painfully the same; I roll out of bed around 8 am—half an hour before I head to work—to quickly brush my teeth and get dressed. What can I say? Sleep is next to godliness for me.
QUESTION #2: What do the day-to-day responsibilities look like to you, would you consider yourself strict or disciplined when it comes to do your duties?
ANSWER: An odd answer to be sure, but I’d say a bit of both. I am, relentlessly and by nature, a pragmatist, so when it comes to things I prioritize—like my work and my writing—I am incredibly disciplined. With things I don’t necessarily deem as high priority—like the dishes—I am far more lax. Still, I try to find a good balance for everything by planning ahead for my chores and duties and ensuring I’ve set aside time specifically for it.
QUESTION #3: How often or how long do you spend in a day preparing for your work and how does it fit into your schedule?
ANSWER: Well for my job I just roll out bed and go—as we’ve already established—but when it comes to my true work, my writing, I’ve got to be honest and say there’s not a lot that goes into preparing for it. I spend a lot of time in what I like to call ‘pre-production’ where I live and breathe an idea for a novel, fleshing it out and creating an outline. So by the time I get around to the process of actually starting to write it, I don’t have to do anything but pick a time to sit down and start typing. It flows fairly effortlessly from there, as it’s all been fastidiously mapped out.
QUESTION #4: What is your favorite part about being a writer? Will you continue to pursue this career in the near future or you have other plans?
ANSWER: Probably the cop out answer, but I genuinely love the power that mere words can have. Nothing makes me feel more like I’ve carved out a place in this world for myself than when someone reaches out to express how something I’ve written has moved them. To wield such an ability, it’s awe-inspiring. As for career wise, I definitely plan to keep writing until I can’t, and whether or not I ever gain recognition for it, that remains to be seen. I’ve always said you should write for yourself. Tell the stories you want to hear, and it just so happens to be really cool if someone else wants to hear them too.
QUESTION #5: How did you discover your passion for writing and how long have you been doing it? What benefits have you derived from it?
ANSWER: I’m incapable of pinpointing that exact ‘a-ha!’ moment. Honestly, I think I’ve just always done it, like its kismet, fated—like writing is as natural to me as breathing. Growing up I didn’t have a lot of money, so telling myself these fantastical tales was an excellent way to keep myself occupied. I’ve always loved storytelling, and the greatest benefit I’ve received from writing is a sense of peace. Peace of crafting a lasting legacy, and peace in knowing that my head won’t explode from the million thoughts and ideas warring inside it.
ANSWER: Stephen King. I was practically raised on a diet of his stories, and he has been absolutely instrumental in shaping my view of how a story should develop, and how good themes work in tandem with compelling plots. That’s important, a rookie mistake is underestimating how they can easily overshadow each other.
QUESTION #7: What book of yours would you recommend a person who hasn’t heard of you before?
ANSWER: Any decent person would probably jump to say Not Another High School Love Story, but, to tell the truth, I would direct a potential reader to my set of five urban fantasy novels, the Prophecy Series. The aforementioned teen fiction is fun and deals with relevant issues, but I will forever be a child of the 90’s, and I’m at my best when I’m storytelling with exaggerated juxtaposition and death-defying heroism.
QUESTION #9: What does your writing process look like and what goes into your physical and mental preparations when you are developing a concept for a book?
ANSWER: A book begins a lot like a spark. It’s a small seed that gets planted somewhere along the way, maybe from hearing a song, or just something someone said. For me, it’s not even intentional; characters start to develop, the book starts to take shape and form when pieces adhere themselves to a part of that specific idea.
Once that happens I just think about it obsessively, puzzling through scenario after scenario: ‘if this/then this’. When it comes to a point where I feel like there’s enough of a concept to justify a book, I’ll put it to paper and start the outline. The bones come first, basic plot points and what each chapter needs to accomplish. Then the meat goes on the bones; the themes, how they service the plot (and the plot, them), what the given characters need to feel and experience. Once that’s done, it’s time to start writing!
QUESTION #10: What was the worst mistake you made in your journey and how will aspiring writers prevent the same from happening to them?
ANSWER: Easy, the worst mistake was ever listening when someone told me how to write. ‘Well you would get more interest if you did this’, or ‘if you want your book to sell you need to cut this’, are both examples. There are no rules to writing. None. Do what feels right, experiment in genres and styles and tense and narrative, play around until you find what you like, what looks good to you. The only right way to write, is the one that feels organic to you.
QUESTION #11: What do you look for most in a plot and how do you achieve the results you want? What do you consider the most important part of a story?
ANSWER: Another easy one. What I look for in plot is intrigue, and intrigue is the product of sustainability and substance. A good, engaging plot should be intelligent and accessible, and it should never stall or struggle to propel itself towards the climax or resolution. This is easily achieved through what is incidentally the most important part of the story: the themes. You could consider it the moral of the story approach.
I’ve never thought it was enough to tell a story. Because you can, and it can be funny or make your heart race, or make you all warm and fuzzy on the inside, but at the end of the day, what was the point of it? What do readers take away from having invested their time and energy in reading? The themes you choose not only resonate with the reader, but if treated with the urgency and importance that they demand, will provide your plot—and by extension your book—with the sustenance it needs to tell a gripping and lasting tale.
QUESTION #12: Are you happy about where you are as a writer? Do you sometimes want more attention or less?
ANSWER: I think given the choice, most anybody would want more recognition for their work. That is, of course, the dream, but I never stand still long enough to worry about it. My success is only measured by the value and worth I find in my writing, so in that way, yes, I would say I am very happy with where I am as a writer. My hope is that the things I put out into the universe will captivate an audience as much as it’s captivated me, but until that happens, I’m content to write for myself and the good and loyal base I have already.
QUESTION #13: What was the most exciting and exasperating moment for you in your journey and how have you coped with disappointment?
ANSWER: You never forget your first, and the most exciting part of my journey was the first time someone ever picked up one of my books. The reader loved it and it was such a positive experience, I imagine, for the both of us! But on the other hand, the more discouraging moment was when I got that first bad review, and as much as it stung to hear, it was pivotal in opening my eyes to the vast differences by which readers can interpret work. Even when I didn’t agree with all the points in the critique, it helped me to realize that there should be some caution put into writing, to maintain its accessible nature for everyone.
QUESTION #14: What does success look like to you in this position? What new projects are you working on and when should we be expecting them?
ANSWER: Success will always be quantified by crafting a good book. Even if it just sits on a dusty shelf and is never read, it’s the pride of the conquest. That’s all I need, to keep creating, and with that being said I can guarantee I have so many good stories in development. I know, I know, I really should focus on one at a time, but I wasn’t kidding, it’s really not intentional. Currently I am actively writing the sequel to Not Another High School Love Story, aptly titled: The Art of Being a F*ck Up, but I’m also really excited for the dystopian thriller that I’m developing, as well as another YA romance and a…religious comedy? I refuse to restrict myself to one genre, I swing manically all over the place.
QUESTION#15: What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job and how do you overcome them?
ANSWER: Referring back to our formula, I think the hardest part of writing is figuring out how to cultivate intrigue in a story. If you consider that a typical book is 80-100 thousand words, that’s a lot of pages you have to fill without resorting to cheap tricks or lazy writing. The best way to overcome it is to go in with eyes wide open; to be prepared. Establishing your characters history and backstory before you even start writing will always ensure you can unbox it naturally throughout the story. Choosing several themes, and several subplots, to augment the overall plot are also good ways to not only tell a well-rounded and faceted story, but to avoid running into that dead space when you inevitably find you’ve run out of things to write about.
ANSWER: This was a very gradual process for me, as far back as I can remember my talents with words and language were always celebrated by my teachers and educators. One of the best compliments I ever received, which still fills my cup to this day, came from a college professor a few weeks into freshman year when she told me she was blown away by my mastery of the English language. It’s an eventuality that that kind of encouragement breeds confidence.
So in that way, I’ve never felt shy about sharing my work; rather, it’s always been a rush of excitement. All of this is to say that I’m not perfect, I make mistakes in my writing and sometimes it doesn’t quite hit its mark. In my most recent book, Not Another High School Love Story, we follow protagonist Jonah on his journey to establish identity—as a queer man, as an adult, as a friend, as someone’s son. From my own experience I know that a journey to identity is a complicated and messy one, but to someone who maybe hasn’t walked the same path, it may look completely different.
I was aghast to learn that he could ever be seen as unlikable, but a year later and he’s proved to be very polarizing—some people think he’s annoying, or entitled, or all around unrelatable, while others understand and rationalize with him on such an incredibly personal level. This taught me that when writing I have to be aware of every angle, because when exposed to light on either side, what I create can look very different. Any negativity I take in strides, I dissect it to find what it’s most basis root is, and then I keep it in mind going forward to provide the most open stories I can.
QUESTION #17: Rank the various characters in your book:
Yikes! Okay, I’m game, let’s see…
I. The most annoying and most likely to get killed by you.
the most annoying and likely to be killed by me would have to be Queen from Not Another High School Love Story. While he obviously had growth that completed his character arc by the end, his purpose in the story was to serve as a foil to the protagonist. As such he was, by his nature, haughty and arrogant and nosy, and there were too many times I just wanted to shake his fabulous little head off.
II. the one you might have a relationship with, that is if they were real.
Most likely to get into a relationship with? Weirdly enough, I actually think of all my characters more like my children. I create them and nurture them—I spend so much time with them that I start to hurt when they hurt. In that way I don’t think I’d be comfortable having relationships with any of them. What I will say, though, is that Levi from Love, Dad is probably closest to my type.
III. The most adventurous or badass.
As for adventurous and badass, the award goes to Qui’hara from the Prophecy Series. She’s a ferocious demoness hailing from a tribe of warriors charged with guarding the nexus between worlds. She’s dedicated and calculating, and unlike any other character in a strangely human story, she’s fearless.
QUESTION #18: Rank your stories:
I. The one you enjoyed writing.
What can I say? I enjoyed writing almost (don’t ask) every one of my stories. If I had to absolutely choose a favorite though, it would be the Prophecy Series with a bullet. Again, as a kid I loved Buffy, and Angel, and Xena, the X-Files—all these fantastical stories. Drama and life lessons are best served with a dash of the unbelievable.
II. The one most likely to get an award.
Obviously Not Another High School Love Story has proven to be my star vehicle, and I suspect that if any of my books were to be awarded, this would be the one. And why shouldn’t it? It’s a very gritty, down-to-earth, and relatable tale about figuring out who you want to be.
III. The story you’ll never give up if your life depended on it.
As for the story I would never give up, I’ll circle right back to the Prophecy Series. I love it way too much and am already looking at going back to rewrites to make it even better, as well as pouring constant thought into how I could continue it. That’s the beautiful thing about a world of your own imagination—there are so many ways to reinvent it!
QUESTION #19: What promotional method or practices did you use to promote your book? Which ones did you find the most useful? How did you get so many people interested in your work?
ANSWER: I didn’t really do anything to promote my work. I had written seven—count them, seven—books before I wrote the one that exploded and garnered such massive popularity. Maybe it was luck, who knows, I just spent my years doing exactly what I say everyone should do: writing for myself.
QUESTION #20: Do you ever consider luck, your gender, ethnicity or race as a helping factor in your success?
ANSWER: In a way I do. I think being a queer man writing queer characters in queer stories for a queer audience has been impactful. People like me don’t have a lot of literature or media that’s made for us. Sure, we’ve been happily relegated to the role of gay sidekick and GBF in a lot of prominent cinema or television, but actual stories where our issues and our people are the point has been rare. So sure, the experience that that’s helped lend to my writing has probably helped somewhere along the way.
How would you want others to perceive you at first sight.
ANSWER: Powerful. The way I walk, the way I talk and hold myself, they should glean from the second they set their eyes on me that I am strong and fierce, bold, articulate. I’d also like them to see that I am kind. I am both hard and soft, like water.
How do you keep yourself levelled with all your writing success.
ANSWER: How sweet to assume I have any notoriety. I think I’m a talented writer, and I believe the things I’ve written have actually affected people, but that doesn’t make me feel any kind of way. I’m blessed to have been given a gift, but all the credit goes to the story itself. No matter how many people may read my stories or what might become of them, I’ll still just be this same guy who’s kind of reclusive and forever eccentric.
What talent do you wish you had?
ANSWER: I wish I was musical! My creativity extends far beyond writing books; I also love to write songs, and while I would consider myself somewhat of an accomplished lyricist by now, I really need to get the whole music part down. I have a guitar that I made a valiant attempt to learn, but anytime it comes to trying to read music, it’s like I have this block that makes me incapable of comprehending it. And it is so frustrating.
If you were to get stuck in a room with any star who would it be?
ANSWER: There is only one star in all of existence I would want to be stuck in a room with and that is the one and only Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton. Haters may hate if they so choose, but I would love some tutelage from the fiercest political animal who wouldn’t hesitate to gnaw her foot off if caught in a trap.
Which cartoon character would you gladly live as for a year?
ANSWER: Ariel. No contest, let me just swim around in warm waters for a year and sing about my man troubles. Might barter my legs to an evil sea witch for true love, maybe not, I’ll have to play it by ear.
Well, this would be my longest interview ending remark.
It was great fun editing and publishing this interview because I got to reread these great answers! You are now one of my best authors yet Aaron! Mainly because you are so relatable and funny and I just couldn’t stop myself from rereading this interview. There are so many quotable things in there and if I were to list them, this post may never end!
I literally had to write this in the middle of the editing so I wouldn’t forget.! You are a great writer and you deserve all the success! It was a great pleasure interviewing you and thanks for the funny and insightful answers! I must tell you how eager i am to read your upcoming religious comedy!
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I am a fifteen year old book addict and writing enthusiast from Ghana in West Africa. I love potato chips and jelly, pizza too but not so much. If you want to know more about me, you can follow me on other social media platforms. Don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter!!!!