Chelsea Fine is the the author of the Archers of Avalon series. She lives in Phoenix, AZ where she spends most of her time writing young adult fiction, painting murals, and avoiding housework at all costs. Her obsessions include: superheroes, coffee, sleeping in, and crazy socks. She lives with her husband and two children, who graciously tolerate her inability to resist teenage drama on TV and her complete lack of skill in the kitchen.
Tell us five random facts about yourself.
I really like brushing my teeth. I brush them at least three times a day and I always carry toothpaste, a toothbrush, and dental floss in my purse — just in case. Is that overkill? I might have a problem.
I’m afraid of owls. I find them terrifying on an extreme level and tend to overact if I see one in person. Seriously. I like shake and run and cry and stuff. It’s ridiculous.
I’m addicted to all shows on The CW, both old and new. Smallville, Vampire Diaries, Roswell, Hart of Dixie… If all I had for the rest of my life was an endless supply of ice cream and a nonstop streaming of CW shows, I’d be in heaven.
I overuse the word “epic.”
The kitchen and I have a hate/hate relationship, so I don’t cook. I don’t even try. My family members are grateful for this. :)
Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer.
In 2009, I wrote a novella called Sophie & Carter, saved it to my computer, and closed the file for two years. I never took myself seriously as a writer (I have a hard time taking myself seriously no matter what, but that’s beside the point) so when I had a completed story — not just bits and pieces of semi-ideas saved in my “This Might Be A Book Someday” folder — I didn’t know what to do with it. So I hid it. Because I’m crazy like that.
But in 2011, I had some life-changing slaps to the face happen and I was like, “You know what? I only get one life. I may as well throw caution to the wind and take my chances at writing.” So I secretly sent my story to a local publisher and held my breath. I told no one in my life about this — no one — because I was sure nothing would come of it and I didn’t want to fail miserably AND publically. But, AH! I felt so brave that day. Scared out of my mind, but so very brave. And then I waited. A few weeks passed and I figured my story was lost in a paper stack somewhere or comfortably resting at the bottom of a large garbage can and I was okay with it. I was disappointed and a little crushed, but I was okay. Maybe I wasn’t meant to be a writer after all.
But THEN I got a phone call from the publishing house asking if I would come in to discuss their interest in my story. My response on the phone was something like, “Uh…uh…” I was speechless. And excited and scared and thrilled. But mostly, speechless. They didn’t seem to hold my lack of communication against me, though, and soon I was on my way to publishing my first book. It was overwhelming and terrifying, but it was the greatest experience of my life. And now I can’t stop. Not ever. I want to keep writing and writing until I have no more stories inside me, and then I want to write some more until new stories are born. It’s the best job ever!
Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
For the hot guy characters! Oh, wait. Is that the wrong answer? Shoot. Haha. Actually, my Archers of Avalon story rolled around in my head for a year and a half before I finally succumbed to the characters and typed them out. I wanted to write a story about impossible love and living deliberately, but I also wanted something steeped in legend. So I wrote about a girl who is cursed to die and two brothers who are determined to save her. (Insert hot guys here.) Their only hope for a cure is finding the Fountain of Youth, but they’ll have to keep her alive long enough to track it down. And because mythical fountains and dying girls with amnesia aren’t dramatic enough, both brothers happen to be in love with the girl they are trying to save. Awk-ward.
What was your favorite chapter/scene to write and why?
I have two favorite scenes.
The scene where Tristan meets Maniac in the alley was one of the first scenes I wrote (even though it’s in the middle of the book). My heart actually hurt while writing it because I knew how badly Tristan wanted to save Scarlet and why he was willing to go to such measures.
I also really liked writing the pancake scene. Haha. Poor Scarlet is just so drawn to Tristan and can’t figure out why. I loved writing how she could feel his emotions because everything he felt conflicted with everything he said. Good times.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I’ve been described as writing “simply” and, while I don’t necessarily think this is the “toughest” criticism I could receive, it’s definitely the most thought provoking. Some readers like flowery prose and lots of words. I like shorts sentences and believable dialogue. Does this make my writing simple? Possibly. But at the end of the day, I’m trying to tell a story, not write a poem. (Nobody wants me writing poetry. Trust me, haha.) So I try to accept myself — and my “voice” — for who I am. I write like I think, which feels honest to me. And simple or not, I want my books to feel honest.
The best compliment. Anytime someone lets me know that my story moved them or gave them something they were looking for, I feel incredibly accomplished. I don’t think there’s any higher compliment than someone reading your book and FEELING it.
Where’s your favorite place to write?
At my desk at home. Facing the window. On a rainy day.
What character do you relate most to?
There is a character in my Archers of Avalon series named Heather who is blond, annoying, and loud. She’s totally me. Haha. *sigh* I wish I was joking. As a character, she can be a bit obnoxious, but she’s really all heart and hope. She’s happy and positive and THESE are the traits I prefer to think I have in common with Heather. The levity, the loyalty. Not the shrill voice and obsession with shoes, haha.
What is easier to write: The first line or the last line?
The last line! Ahhh!!! :) The last line is SUCH a rush. It’s epic. (wink, wink) So far, I’ve never had to stop and think about what the last line in any of my books was going to be. I’ve just started typing the last chapter and BOOM the final line just writes itself. It’s like magic! The first line, however, takes some thought. I always want to start with “Once upon a time…” but I think that’s been done somewhere before….
What one YA novel do you wish you had when you were a teen?
Divergent by Veronica Roth. This book rocked my world, not only because it’s a fantastic story, but because her writing style is so freaking raw and gripping. I love it! If I had read Divergent ten years ago, I would have known then how I wanted every book I ever wrote to read and feel. When I grow up, I want to be Veronica Roth. ;)
Do you have things you need in order to write i.e. coffee, cupcakes, music?
I have my coffee mug (of course) filled with more creamer than coffee, my notebook (to jot down ideas and things I need to remember to include in previous/future chapters), my chapstick (just ‘cause) and my iTunes going. Right now I have Maroon 5 playing in the background. Ooh! But I love the idea of cupcakes! I’ll have to add that to my must-haves from now on. My thighs thank you in advance. ;)
What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m finishing the third book in my Archers of Avalon series, Avow, as well as working on two YA contemporary romances, a YA thriller, and another possible YA paranormal series. Like I said before, best job ever! :)