Today on Writers’ Corner, we will hear from Shaina Krevat, who is the author of the Tales of Mundane Magic series! Shaina will be telling us about how her career as a software engineer at YouTube influences her writing, as well as her experience with self-publication.
1) What are some of your favourite books?
My favorite books, in no particular order, are:
Sabriel and Across the Wall : A Tale of the Abhorsen and Other Stories by Garth Nix. The worlds he builds, sometimes just in one short story, are so immersive.
Squire and Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce. It’s not that I don’t love the other books in the Protector of the Small series, but the main character Kel starts to come into her own in Squire, and Lady Knight is like The Avengers of the series, where all the characters Kel has met come together because the stakes are so high.
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. This is one of those books that every time I re-read it I find something else new and awesome I missed the last time.
2) Which author(s) influenced your writing style?
The ones above, honestly. Garth Nix for his incredible world-building, Tamora Pierce for her powerful characters and writing style, and Megan Whalen Turner’s tight plotting and foreshadowing. I strive to learn from all of them and combine them into something new and my own.
3) I read in your bio that you are a software engineer at Youtube! How does your day-to-day work influence the content of your writing? What do you think about Authortube? Would you like to start a channel one day?
Programming is an incredibly creative job, the main skills of which are problem-solving and communicating with other engineers. I’d say it influences my writing by working out those creative muscles all the time, so it’s very easy for ideas to flow. I’ll often have to text myself ideas that I get while at work to keep from losing them forever!
I love the opportunities that YouTube provides for people to share their knowledge and learn new things, and Authortube is no exception!
In the middle of my writing career, I had a couple years where I studied Video & Film and did a lot of video editing, so I would love to start a YouTube channel (or two… ), but while it would touch on writing, I might strive to focus more on being creative in general, learning new skills, and managing being creative with a full time job. Only time will tell!
4) I loved the self-publishing tips on your blog! How did you decide to choose self-publishing vs. traditional publishing? What are some considerations for aspiring writers to think about?
For Tales of Mundane Magic I chose the self-publishing route for three reasons:
- It seemed the natural progression from publishing my stories for free on my website.
- It’s very hard to get short stories traditionally published if you’re an unknown author.
- I love learning new skills, and learning self-publishing seemed like an exciting challenge.
I think if you’re considering publishing strategies, keep in mind that, truly, the gate-keeping in traditional publishing is there to make your work better, not to take creativity away from you. For me, personally, I didn’t think Tales of Mundane Magic was a fit with traditional publishing, but for my upcoming work I’m excited to take on the new challenges of querying, finding an agent, and going the traditional route.
5) What are the best piece(s) of writing advice that you have received?
I don’t remember the actual quote, but John Green once said in a vlogbrothers video something like, “Your first book isn’t your last, so it’s ok if it doesn’t go well,” and that’s something that’s really stuck with me as I’ve moved from the unpublished fantasy series I wrote in college (5 books!) to Tales of Mundane Magic to my new projects.
I thought the books I wrote in college were going to be my big break, and it was so hard to let go of them, but I think ultimately it’s for the best. And while I love Tales of Mundane Magic and am excited to keep writing stories about Gertie and Bridget and their ghost dog Ziggy, I know that someday their stories will be wrapped up and I’ll be able to move on, and that’s okay.
6) In your book, Tales of Mundane Magic, there is a character who can see things that no one else can see with her left eye. If you could choose an ability in this world, which ability would you choose to have?
The fun thing about Tales of Mundane Magic is that magic is so flexible there, as long as one maneuvers around all the laws and regulations, that I could really pick anything!
I’m going to try to think of something that isn’t in the Tales of Mundane Magic world already, but man, it is hard to.
I would want to be someone who specializes in mirror magic. By day, I would work in a mirror store that sold hand mirrors that show you your future, full length mirrors that show someone’s true self, or compacts that gave you outlines of exactly where to place contouring makeup on your face for the best result. But if I ever needed to, I could pull the mirror glass from its frame and wield it as a weapon, reflecting dark magic back and making enemies face mirrored versions of themselves.
Hm…I might need to make this a real character.
About Tales of Mundane Magic
Nothing too strange ever happens to Gertie and Bridget Mallon.
The sisters don’t have magical adventures fighting off dark lords or saving the world. Gertie spends her time learning the skill of enchantment, and Bridget has the ability to see things no one else can see with her left eye, which was bewitched in an accident many years ago. Sure, they attend Flories Boarding School, where Gertie takes a potions class and Bridget plays basketball, and the occasional magical anomaly takes place, but who doesn’t deal with the occasional poltergeist or curse?
Life is relatively calm for the Mallon sisters, but things might not be quite as mundane as they appear.
About the Writer
Shaina Krevat is a software engineer at YouTube, living the dream of working for the company she used to upload to when she thought she was going to be a film director/YouTube Creator. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Science, which she views as a perfect metaphor for the combination of art and programming in her life. She has spent her time creating fiction (mostly fantasy) in the form of short films, books, musicals, songs, and most recently short stories, like the ones found in Tales of Mundane Magic: Volume One and Volume Two and on her website, talesofmundanemagic.com.
She lives in Los Angeles with her wonderful dog Atlas, who constantly reminds her that real, live dogs are better than fictional ghost dogs, except when they pee on couches.
- Instagram: shainakrevat
- Twitter: shainakrevat
- Tumblr: talesofmundanemagic.tumblr.com
- Facebook: facebook.com/TalesOfMundaneMagic
- Website: shainakrevat.com and talesofmundanemagic.com