With my today are Isabella Rogge and Mitchell Kazanjian, two ridiculously talented teenagers, and I hate them. No, really, I don’t. But I am definitely experiencing a wee bit of admiration. These two are already pretty successful writers, something I couldn’t even comprehend at their age. I was too busy wandering around Times Square and partying in Greenwich Village. But enough about me. Let’s hear from them.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
Isabella: I’ll be turning 18 this September, and am a senior in Colorado. I self-published by first book, Sanguine Moon, in December 2013. I also released a novella, Exhaled, last year. Besides writing, I also enjoy blogging, Netflix, reading, and laying around. I have two pups — a derp (german shepherd/corgi) and werewolf (shih tzu/pomeranian) — who like to lay around with me. Turtles are cool.
Mitchell: I am 19 years old! I’m an Airborne Infantryman, stationed in Italy. I’ve written and published two books (not including FITS) since I was 14, and have sold over 30,000 copies. Ed Sheeran is the ginger god, Taylor Swift is my future wife, and my favorite color is scarlet. I also eat much more dark chocolate than any human being should, and I have a pet fish named Busta T.
2. Give us a five word synopsis about your latest work.
Isabella: “Horrible prison idea; kids die.”
Mitchell: “Will hopefully make you cry.”
3. When you’re finished with a piece, do you find that it tends to differ from your original idea, or does the original idea remain more or less intact?
Mitchell: Whenever I finish a piece, I find myself rewriting the last three chapters a ridiculous amount of times. For my two personal books (Stranded Houses and Shattered), I rewrote each ending 30+ times and ended up choosing the original one. Why, you ask? I have no clue. But when it comes to being different than my original idea? I typically let my characters write the book. I just say “Hey, I want you guys to end up here,” and how they get there is up to them. I’m not much of a planner (Isabella, on the other hand….). It might have to do with the fact that I am the most disorganized wizard at Hogwarts.
Isabella: I’m a ridiculous organizer when it comes to writing. I fill journals with ideas and outlines and family trees and dialogue snippets and such. One of my favorite things to do is, once I finish a project, to go back to those early journals and see how much the book has changed over the course of writing it. And usually, it’s a lot, since the idea changes as I write it. I add characters, morph the plot, and while the original story line is still there, it’s usually completely different than what I first had in mind.
4. If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast as the main characters?
Isabella: I love casting characters! Let’s see. I can imagine Kaya Scodelario playing an excellent Harper. Nicholas Hoult and Alexandra Daddario as Gage and Hazel.
Mitchell: For Clint… Well… Clint… Oh, Clinton… If I could take Taylor Lautner and Sirius Snape and make them have a kid and wait for that kid to grow for 18 years, then that’s who I’d have play Clint. Frank? Well, I’d travel down to the Hawaiian Islands and find the ten biggest men I could find and have them yell as loud as they could. The deepest, loudest voice would win. Esme would be played by Isabella Fuhrman. I absolutely love her and think she would fit the role perfectly.
5. What’s the best thing about being an author? Worst thing?
Mitchell: The best thing about being an author? The food at the book festivals in the back room for us. Heaven. But even better than that is all of you guys who read and come out to support us, or drop us a hello on Facebook, or tweet, post pictures on Instagram. Really, you guys are the best thing about being an author. That’s why I do it.
The worst thing? Dealing with other authors. Some are absolutely fantastic people, but a lot take everything for granted and don’t appreciate their readers as much as they should. It breaks my heart when I’m at a book festival and I see a well-known author, and an obvious fan, literally jumping to meet them and the author just signs the book without even looking at them. I’ve been in the same shoes before and it makes me want to walk over and give the person a hug (which I have been known to do.)
Isabella: The best thing about being an author is probably all the opportunities that are presented and the people you get to meet. I love attending events and getting to meet readers and writers alike. The reader/writer community has some of the best, more generous and interesting people I’ve ever met.
The worst thing is probably the look people give me when I say I want to go into writing. The countless times I’ve heard “writing isn’t a reasonable career” drives me crazy.
6. What writer’s blogs make your Top Three list? Why do they stand out above the other flobbity-jillion out there?
Isabella: I know so many. Probably writingwithcolor.tumblr.com, for their amazing tips on diverse writing; writingprompts.tumblr.com, because I love prompts; and thewritingcafe.tumblr.com, because of general writing advice.
7. What is your writing-time beverage and snack of choice?
Mitchell: Coffee, tea (Isabella has gotten me into tea), dark chocolate, and WAFFLES. WAFFLES. WAAAAAFFFLEEEESS. Even if you don’t like waffles, the word is fun to say
Isabella: Anything warm. Tea. Toasted bread. Cinnamon rolls.
8. Do you have any useful marketing tips for other authors?
Isabella: Mitchell is really the expert at marketing, so most of what I know I’ve gotten from him. In a few words, be persistent, be confident of your work, but, you know, don’t go over the top. Also, be patient. It’ll take a while for your book to start rolling.
Mitchell: Marketing tips, my favorite. Literally, I love marketing. It’s the most fun I have with being an author. So here is what I’d have to say to any new or aspiring author: don’t wait for anyone to come to you with an opportunity, don’t wait for anyone to do anything for you. Do it all yourself. You want a book signing? Email libraries. Want to visit schools? Email superintendents of schools. Go out and get what you want. If you wait for anyone to come to you, you’ll rarely get anywhere. Be aggressive, and publicize what you’re doing. Be fun and stay hungry.
9. What changes do you see taking place in the publishing industry over the next couple of years?
Isabella: I’m seeing a lot more self-publishers being successful. Authors are starting to take complete control of their own work, which I think is pretty cool. The bad rep surrounding self-publishing is starting to vanish, and a lot of talented writers are using that method.
Mitchell: Changes in the publishing industry? Yep! Isabella and I destroying censorship.
10. What’s your next project?
Isabella: I have a couple projects going on at the moment right now, including a prequel to Sanguine Moon, a children’s fantasy book, another dystopian. Mitchell and I also have a couple more projects planned out.
Mitchell: Next project… Well, I’ve got multiple! Two with my gingery friend Isabella (which are going to be amazing) along with two other personal novels, one being a sequel to my second book Shattered, and one that’s in the works, that I can’t release any info on yet (it may or may not involve some characters and it may or may not contain a plotline)! If you wanna be my friend, come chill with me on instagram @mitchtk98. I love talking to all of you on there, and try to be as interactive as possible! Peace out girlscouts, stay sexy, and be on the lookout for gingers.
11. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Mitchell: Being in the Army Infantry, I’m in the field a lot, so I get a lot of MREs. Which aren’t too bad, but some are just awful especially the older ones. So one day we got a really old box, I’m talking at least ten years. And I got this one omelet MRE. It was by far the worst thing I’ve ever eaten, it was… It had to be drowned in the little packet of pepper sauce that came with it in order for me to eat it. But I mean, at the time I just needed the calories and wasn’t about to be picky. So a soupy “omelet” was my dinner.
Isabella: I haven’t ever eaten anything to weird. Cactus and fried alligator. Both of which are pretty delicious.
Find out more about Isabella on her official website: http://isabellarogge.wix.com/isabellarogge