Happy Saturday! Today I’m honored to have my friend Abigail de Niverville on for this week’s #QWritersTalk!
Introduce yourself to us! (Who are you, what you do, pronouns, random facts if you care to share any)
Hi! I’m Abigail de Niverville and I use she/her pronouns. I’m an author and a composer, and my debut novel I Knew Him just came out (pun intended) in April. I’m Canadian, I like sewing in my spare time, and I’m a bit dramatic.
What are you working on right now?I’m working on a YA contemporary that takes place on the beach. It’s mostly a lighthearted story about growing up and reconnecting with old friends, but it has its heavy moments. The main character, Kat, has to confront some darker parts of her past and find a way to deal with them. And most of the characters are queer!
It’s so interesting to me that you write music AND books! Can you share a little bit about how those two processes differ for you?
I find writing takes me less time to generate than music. With writing, I come up with a vague idea, and before I know it I’ve got half of a plot. When I have a better idea what direction I’m going, drafting is a fairly quick process. I’ve often joked I could be on death’s door, and still be capable of writing something down.Music is a bit different. I definitely can’t do it if I’m not feeling my absolute best physically and mentally. And it takes me a while to have an idea for a piece. Once I do, I spend a lot of time testing out different approaches to reach that idea. Often, I need to stop in between sections of a piece and figure things out all over again. There’s a lot of parts that need to happen all at once, layered together. It’s overall a slower process!
Have you always had an interest in both composing music and writing books? Tell us a bit about how you became interested in each and when!
I’ve definitely had an interest in both for a while! I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was about ten and I read The Lord of the Rings. I always kept the dream of publishing a book in the back of my head, even as I explored other career opportunities.With music, I started playing when I was five. Apparently I used to make up melodies as a kid, and when I was in middle school, I experimented with a very early version of GarageBand on my family’s computer. But I’d never considered it a career path until I was in university. I started taking composition courses and loved them. They were the only part of school I truly enjoyed all the time, so it became clear that was the direction I needed to take.
What do you hope to accomplish through your composing work?
I want to blur the lines between classical and popular styles (and whatever is in between) with my music. I find inspiration in all kinds of music, and I don’t want my music to be confined to one genre, one performance space, or one demographic.
Does your inspiration for composing and writing fiction come from different places? Can you share a little about each?
I think they come from the same place, in some way. I’ve always loved music, and I’ve always loved telling stories. My music tends to tell a story, even if I never share what it is with anyone. With writing books, I find inspiration in all kinds of things. It usually begins with a very vague idea, like, “what if I wrote a book about the beach I used to visit?” From there, other ideas pop up, some responses to media that didn’t handle things the way I would have, sometimes just from funny moments in my life. These seeds grow into moments that are completely different from where they began.With music, it often comes from emotion. If I’m feeling something really strongly, and I don’t know how to put it to words yet, music is the way to go. I also find I get inspired from books and poems that I read, so much that they sometimes end up being part of the final composition.
What advice do you have for other writers starting out?
Read widely and often. Write a lot, as much as you can. Keep going, even when you get discouraged. You’re always better than you think.
Any information on upcoming works you can share?
I can’t give definite dates, but keep your eyes open for a poetry collection. I’d like to publish it within the next year. These poems have been sitting in this document for a while, and they’re begging to be freed!
What kind of fiction would you like to read more of?
I’d like to read more science fiction. I love sci-fi TV and film, but I don’t read as much as I’d like to.
Share some recommendations for the above!
We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchison
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
All three of these have stayed with me long after I finished reading them. They’re excellent.
Last but not least, give us links to where we can find and support you!
My website is adeniverville.com. You’ll find blog updates on my latest projects, and samples of my music!I have a Facebook page at facebook.com/adenivervilleAnd I spend most of my time on Twitter on @adeniverville
Thanks so much Abigail for joining me!