Chris Howard is here for a “How I Write” feature as part of his ROOTLESS blog tour!  Thanks to Chris for participating, and YA Books Central for working my feature into the tour! Check out his Q&A, and then enter to win a fantastic ROOTLESS prize pack!

About the author: 

Before he wrote stories, Chris Howard wrote songs, studied natural resources management, and led wilderness adventure trips for teenagers. He currently lives in Denver, CO, and ROOTLESS is his first novel.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | TumblrFlickr

Are you a planner (outline, etc.) or pantser?

Ha! I do fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, I guess. To me, starting that first draft is like setting off on a quest – you know where you want to get, but you don’t know how you’re going to get there, what dangers you’ll face, who your friends will be, or who can be trusted. And the ending you imagined might not come to pass. But you know WHY you’re setting off… the story has a purpose, like every quest has a purpose. If I were to outline it all out then I wouldn’t get surprised by my characters and the world of the story. But I have to know WHY I’m setting off on the journey.

Do you write daily or sporadically when you’re inspired?
I don’t write everyday. When I write, I like to write for many, many hours and really get stuck into the world of the story. It’s hard for me to stop, really. So I try to set aside days where I won’t even start, and it gives my brain a chance to catch up. I feel like my subconscious can often answer questions if I give it some breathing room!

What kind of mood are you typically in when you write (happy, sad, etc.)?
I feel what my characters are feeling. I like to get in their heads and see the story through their eyes, while my hands are trying to write it all down! For me, it gets very visual and immersive, which also makes it very rewarding. When I’m about to start, I’m super happy because I feel like I’m about to go on this crazy journey. And when I get done, I’m usually very tired, but hopefully happy – unless I get interrupted, or feel like I went in the wrong direction all day!

What tool(s) do you use to write? Microsoft Word, Pages, Scrivener, typewriter, and/or pen and paper?
I’ve become a huge Scrivener fan, because I used to have one document for the manuscript, and a hundred other documents and notes for everything else. Scrivener lets me keep it all in one place, the “project”, and I like being able to switch back and forth between all the different bits and bobs. I also think it makes removing chunks of writing easier, because you can stash them in a “to use later” spot… even though I never really use them later, it makes saying goodbye to your prose easier 🙂

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received for writing?
“Write the book you want to read but can’t find.” Something like that, anyway! I think you have to write the book that no one else could have written… synthesizing all your passions and inspirations and interests. It’ll make the book as unique and unpredictable as you are, and it’ll tap into the very essence of your being 🙂

17-year-old Banyan is a tree builder. Using scrap metal and salvaged junk, he creates forests for rich patrons who seek a reprieve from the desolate landscape. Although Banyan’s never seen a real tree—they were destroyed more than a century ago—his father used to tell him stories about the Old World. But that was before his father was taken . . .Everything changes when Banyan meets a woman with a strange tattoo—a clue to the whereabouts of the last living trees on earth, and he sets off across a wasteland from which few return. Those who make it past the pirates and poachers can’t escape the locusts—the locusts that now feed on human flesh.

But Banyan isn’t the only one looking for the trees, and he’s running out of time. Unsure of whom to trust, he’s forced to make an uneasy alliance with Alpha, an alluring, dangerous pirate with an agenda of her own. As they race towards a promised land that might only be a myth, Banyan makes shocking discoveries about his family, his past, and how far people will go to bring back the trees.

In this dazzling debut, Howard presents a disturbing world with uncanny similarities to our own. Like the forests Banyan seeks to rebuild, this visionary novel is both beautiful and haunting—full of images that will take permanent root in your mind . . . and forever change the way you think about nature.

To follow the rest of the tour and get more chances to win ROOTLESS swag, check out!

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More “How I Write” Q&As!

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14 Responses to Chris Howard: How I Write & Giveaway

  1. Christa @ Hooked on Books says:

    Great post! I’ve also recently been won over to the ways of Scrivener. Although not for the same reason as Chris. I don’t like keep my research/outline/character sketches in it. Instead I have a big spiral bound notebook that sort of becomes my bible for the project with all my notes.

    I do love the cork board feature though for when you planning out the timeline!
    Christa @ Hooked on Books recently posted..What You Should Be Reading This Month – November 2012My Profile

  2. fakesteph
    Twitter: fakesteph

    Love this piece of advice!
    fakesteph recently posted..Book Blogger Hop: November 2-8, 2012My Profile

  3. Nuzaifa

    Write the book you want to read but can’t find-That IS a great piece of advice!You get a lot of books out there which are so similar and not quite what you want.
    Rootless sounds amazing and I’m looking forward to reading it.
    Thanks for this awesome giveaway,Chris!

  4. Rachel at theJeepDiva says:

    Your books sounds good Chris! Thanks for the giveaway and the interview. I also agree on “Write the book you want to read but can’t find”. It is to easy to write something similar to everything else and it gets boring I like to read new and unusual books.

  5. Samantha D says:

    I like the idea of to write something you want to read! 😀 Thats great advice! Thank you!

  6. Christina K. says:

    LOVE how Chris does take some time off to get new ideas by letting his mind work subconsciously:)

    Thank you:)

  7. mamabunny13
    Twitter: mamabunny13

    I love the premise of this book and can’t wait to read it! Thanks for the interview and giveaway.

  8. Jasmine Rose says:

    I love the “write the book you want to read but can’t find” advice. I first heard that on a Maggie Stiefvater blog post and I honestly think it’s one of the best pieces of advice out there for writers. You shouldn’t be trying to please anyone. You should be writing the book you’d want to read.

  9. Courtney says:

    I absolutely love “Write the book you want to read but can’t find.” It’s so simple and yet so illusively true. I think so many people try to write for others and what they think readers would want but true success comes when you write what is true to you. You can definitely tell the difference when you read someone’s work.
    Courtney recently posted..Book Bloggers Holiday Card Exchange 2012My Profile

  10. Great answers. I’ve never used Scrivnener so I might have to check it out. I believe writing everyday isn’t necessary. Some writers say that they have to write everyday but if nothing is coming out, why force it. I agree with you. Take a little break to think about it then continue…
    Stéphanie Leroux recently posted..I Ate the Sherriff by K. BennettMy Profile

  11. Brooke Banks says:

    Oh, I’ve never heard of Scrivener. I’ll have to check that out.

    Chris, your

    “Write the book you want to read but can’t find.” Something like that, anyway!”

    is probably from Toni Morison quote

    “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.'”

    I love that Toni Morison quote so much I have it memorized. I’ve seen so many authors quote it in interviews about what inspired them to write. It’s a great quote.

  12. I like to think that someday I will write a novel, but I read so many good books. I can’t help but wonder how I can possibly add something to the world of literature that hasn’t already been said or written. I think your advice was very good though.
    The Loopy Librarian recently posted..URBAN FICTION FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL: Books for TeachersMy Profile

  13. Ileana A. says:

    I’ve been following the blog tour for a chance to win Rootless, so hopefully this can be my chance! LOL! I have heard this quote about writing the book we want and that is a great advice, we can start by writing anything even if is little, as long is something we like and want.

  14. shanita says:

    Caney|Kingwood|Huffman|Porter|Houston|Dallas|Austi n|Lubbock|Humble|Atascocita} {Tx|Texas}!

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