Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Interview with Young Author Macy Li

I am delighted to feature an interview today with talented young author Macy Li. I have known Macy since publishing her short story "Teaching Helen Keller" on Word Smorgasbord two years ago. She was a superb writer then, and I have been amazed at how her writing continues to grow and evolve ever since!

Macy just recently published her first book, a fabulous collection of poems, stories, essays and plays titled Shards. (Order your copy on Amazon here!) Macy has won many writing contests, including: Gold and Silver Keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Honorable Mentions from Stone Soup magazine, the Best in Class Award for the Growing Up Asian in America Contest, first place in the Art Tales Writing Contest, and prizes in the Palo Alto Writing Contest. Next week, she will be featured on the Palo Alto Podcast. She was kind enough to stop by the blog today to answer some questions about her writing process, finding inspiration, creativity, and more!

Hi Macy! What would you like readers to know about you as an introduction? 

My name is Macy Li, I’m thirteen years old, and I grew up in Sacramento, California. Other than writing, I enjoy playing piano, dancing, and reading. I’m also interested in biology and Latin. My favorite genre to write is poetry, because of the amount of emotion and meaning that’s able to be expressed in every line.

Take us through your writing process when you were creating Shards. 

Shards is my collection of poems, stories, and plays, consisting of pieces from a year ago until recently. Each piece started out as a spark, an idea, a message that I wanted to share. I laced my thoughts and feelings into tales, hoping to express them in abstract ways that I loved. And so sometimes my words flowed into poems, stories, and plays. Other times, my pieces just didn’t work out. But through these experiences, I came out with a collection of my writing that I felt expressed the most of my emotions. Each word is like a shard, a hint to something bigger, completing my collection.

What do you like most about writing? 

My favorite thing about writing is that I can do anything with it. In the real world, there are people I can’t stand up to, things that I can’t do, and lives that I can’t have. But when I write, anything is possible for me. When I write, I finally feel free -- I feel happy. When I write, I escape from reality and drown in my own world. The bottled up emotions spill out, and I can paint worlds from my imagination. Sometimes, I feel weak and lost in reality, but writing gives me a power: a power to create. Writing is something I love.
You write in a variety of different genres -- poetry, short stories, drama, nonfiction. When you get an idea, how do you decide what form it will take? 

When I get an idea, I think about which way it would be most powerful when presented. Some ideas are stronger as plays, others as poems, others as stories. I like to use poetry to communicate more abstract ideas and feelings, and I like to write plays to create closer connections between the characters and readers. I use stories to tell more vivid tales, ones which I like to pack a lot of description and emotion in.
Do you have any advice for other writers, or for other young people going after their dreams? 

I want anyone who’s interested in writing to know that in every piece of writing, there is always something special and beautiful about it, because reading someone’s writing is like hearing someone’s words from his or her heart. These words are special and amazing. My advice is to just let go when writing. Just relax and let whatever’s on your mind spill into a story. In order for your words to come out, they have to come from the heart. Never be afraid to write out your feelings into tales.

Can you share a few of your favorite books or authors? 

Some of my favorite books are The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and Mapping the Bones by Jane Yolen. I like to read historical fiction, realistic fiction, and a little bit of science fiction.

What inspires you? 

I’m inspired by happiness, laughter, and love. I’m inspired by failure, rejection, and hurt. I’m inspired by mean people, by nice people, by people who make me cry, by people who give me hope. I’m inspired by the words people say, the feelings people feel. I’m inspired by anything that fills me with emotions, thoughts, and ideas.

What are you working on now? What’s next for you? 

I’m continuing to write poems, stories, and plays of all kinds, and simply enjoying the art of writing. I hope to be able to compile another collection soon.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Never give up, because there is always hope until you give up. This is the most important thing I’ve learned. If you want to do something, you can do it. There is always a chance.

Thank you so much, Macy!

Dear readers: you can purchase your own copy of Shards on Amazon here!

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