“Catania’s Forest” Questions & Answers

Well, here we are.  A little later than I wanted, but here we are.  Enjoy!


Who was your favorite character? (Jaidyn)

My personal favorites are Catania and Lythia.  I’m super happy with how Cat turned out (and she’s a lot like me!).  Sadly, you don’t actually get a lot of Lythia in the story, but I really love her.

Who was the hardest character to write? (Jaidyn)

Probably Jéru?  I thought he would be easy and straightforward.  He was not.  I always felt like he was slipping out of character. Tyre’s dialogue was also tricky.

Were there any plot twists? (Jaidyn)

Plot twists I wasn’t expecting?  Jéru giving Catania bread.  The line about her not remembering what bread tasted  like was already there, but her actually tasting it in the story was actually a surprise.

Which character was the easiest to come up with? (Jaidyn)

Like I said in the behind-the-scenes, Tyre came first.  (Catania and Jéru came next.)  Lythia  probably came the fastest–once I realized I needed her, she came pretty quickly.

Was this story harder or easier to write then some of the others? (Jaidyn)

Hmm. . . There was a lot more angst about Cat’s Forest, but there wasn’t as much writer’s block.  At least to the best of my memory. . .

What inspired you to write this story? (Jaidyn)

Like I said, the idea of a Narnian centaur being connected with the Christmas star is what inspired me first.  That’s where the idea of the plotline came from.  There were many, many other things that inspired smaller plot-points.  A lot of Cat’s archery is probably the result of my own hobby (and some of its inspiration probably lies in The Hobbit as well. 🙂 )

Was there anything that you had originally started with, but decided to take out of the story? If so, why? (Jaidyn)

Nothing comes to mind. . .  It was mostly the other way round with Cat’s Forest: random things popping up that I wasn’t expecting.

When did you decide that you wanted to do a retelling of The Little Drummer Boy? (Savannah)

When I first had the idea about Tyre and the star.  I had never even considered re-writing the little drummer-boy before I had that idea.  I’d only really thought about retelling fairytales, like some of my friends have done.

Will you ever expand on Cat’s story (maybe a prequel or a sequel? That would be epic *nodnod*)? (Savannah)

I knew Savannah would ask that, so I’ve been mulling over this answer for a while. 😉 The answer is: maybe.  Strong maybe. I’ve thought about what a sequel would entail–what author could help doing that?  I’m hoping a sequel will happen, especially because it will involve more of the gospel, which would be amazing to try to write about!

Disclaimer: No promises, I don't know if it will come together yet.  As of now, I have no inkling of a plot.

From what I have so far, I think a lot of it will take place in Hynara, not Syrelia, which will be interesting.

Cat would still be the main character, as far as I know, and Lythia will have to be involved, at least a bit.  Tyre has refused to be left behind, and Jéru wants to be in a little.  Actually, Jéru really wants to do something rash and get himself killed.  I keep telling him that’s not allowed and is going to make my readers unhappy (and that–trust me!–he doesn’t want to face Ellen’s wrath), but he won’t listen. It’s like I’m the one human in the cosmos who can’t make him do anything!  Unlike Tyre, who I can convince of almost anything if I’m tactful, and Moth, who does anything I say without a moment’s hesitation.

As for a prequel, I have considered writing a longer version of Cat’s Forest, including her life in the city, or at least her early friendship with Lythia.  I haven’t put a lot of thought into that idea though.

How many months did it take you to write this story? (Savannah)
How long did it take you to write this? (Cerra)

I have “3/3/16” written at the top of the notebook page with the first part of Cat’s Forest written on it, and I finished in November.  Which would mean nine months. . . wow, I didn’t realize it took that long!  Writing always takes longer than I expect.

What was your favorite part to write? (Skylar)

Hm. . . probably the first one with Moth and Horbrid.  I love writing dialogue!  The conversation on the road with Tirim and Tyre was also fun (once again, dialogue!).

Do you like writing retellings or stories you come up with completely on your own best? (Skylar)

Well, that’s a hard question to answer.  Cat’s Forest was actually my first retelling.

(Unless you count The Sacrifice, which I guess was a retelling of St. George and the dragon, though it wasn’t exactly supposed to be.)

I don’t think I’ll ever stop coming up with original stories, but I’m starting to fall in love with retellings.  Personally, I think my strong point in fiction writing is detail, not overall plotlines, so I love retellings, as they give you a storyline to start with, and you get to add the names, the details, the characters, etc.

Are you planning on posting another story anytime soon 🙂? (Skylar)

Currently, there is no story for the blog actually in the works.  But there will most likely be one soon, because I can’t help myself, and I know you guys will pester me about it, like you always do.  You’re hard to resist.

What part was your favorite? (Cerra)

I’m pretty happy with how the last couple parts turned out, and the part with the fight on the road makes me happy, because so many of you liked it.


And that’s it.  Thank you all for asking great questions (they were fun to answer!), and for reading my story and giving me feedback!

It was super encouraging to know you all enjoyed reading Cat’s Forest!  How many of you would be interested in reading a sequel, if I wrote one?


She knelt on the floor beside their bed, hearing her sister’s even breathing just above her.  She leaned forward against the carpet and whispered a prayer into the darkness.

“I have no words to describe You.”

Maybe, she thought as she stood up and crawled under the warm blankets, when I get to heaven, I’ll find the words.

And when she realized that it was one of the most exciting ideas she’d had about heaven, she knew she was, and always would be, a writer.


You all have asked so many great questions about Cat’s Forest already, but if you have any others, please make sure you comment them on this post, before next Saturday:

“Catania’s Forest” Behind-the-Scenes

I will try to get the Q&A post up soon after.  Try. . . *nervous laugh* 🙂

(My fingers just tired to type “Tyre” instead of “Try”.  I have ruined my own ability to type!)

Anyway, some beautiful posts have gone up elsewhere on the internet lately, so I wanted to do a post linking to a few other writers.

Why you need a reading plan & good books for a new year

To begin with, my Mom e-mailed me this amazing post last week, and I wanted to share it.  “A book can be your feelings pulsing through the veins of another”. . .  It’s beautiful.

Remember the days

This poem left me just about speechless.  It’s short and sweet, but still holds so much meaning.  It’s well written, and it’s so hopeful.  I have heard messages like this before that feel despondent and sad, so I loved the quiet reassurance that these words carried.

Scattered Scribblings

And last but not (at all) least, my lovely friend Savannah Grace just started a series about character building on her blog, “Scattered Scribblings”, linked to above.  I have read several of Savannah’s stories, and she possesses a real knack for characters.  I’m not joking, readers, they’re epic–so I would recommend all writers out there to visit her blog and check it out, at least until the series is over.  (I would recommend sticking around though, as it’s just a great blog!)  Click here for a link to her first post.

Happy reading, friends!

“Catania’s Forest” Behind-the-Scenes

Catania’s Forest has been a bit of an adventure, but not one I regret. For one thing, writing it has given me a much different perspective on the Christmas story.  So much so, that’s it’s making me want to write more allegories or re-tellings.

This story (like all my stories, really) is inspired by and dedicated to my King, Jesus Christ.  It is also dedicated to all the little drummer-boys I’ve met in my life, from the black-haired one to the curly red-head; and to Emerald, and all the life he breathed into the Little Drummer-boy song.  I wish I could remember who inspired me to make Emerald up.  Also for my talented, stubborn, ornery characters and all their help.


The character who came first (surprisingly) is Tyre.  This centaur is mixed up with this story’s origin, and also with the subtitle.

Somewhere back in the scary recesses of my brain where stories ambush me and make me write them, the stargazing attributed to Narnian centaurs was connected with the Wise Men’s Christmas star.  Once formed, the idea refused to be forgotten.  What must naturally come next was Jéru’s flute, and Catania’s bow.

Continue reading “Catania’s Forest” Behind-the-Scenes

What’s in my heart about family tonight

Today, I pulled a drawer out of a metal cabinet, and accidentally ran the sharp corner into Michael’s back.  Later, he sat on my lap and taught me how to make paper airplanes.

We give and we take, and we laugh and we cry, and we cuddle and complain, we wound and we heal, and we all grow.  And somehow we do this miraculous thing called family; and I will always fight for it, because I will always believe that family is God’s heart.

More ramblings (cause I’m still getting my act together), and happy new year!!

Happy New Year, my friends!

We’ve had three birthdays, New Years, and a Christmas party since I was here last, so the posting has slowed down.  I was going to post this yesterday, but Mom and the younger crew were watching The Sound of Music, so what could I do? 🙂  I’m hoping to post the behind-the-scenes for Cat’s Forest soon, but school just started, so we’ll see how fast I can move.

Technically, school started today, but all I had to do was lay around and read A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which I find quite enjoyable.  I’m doing all Shakespeare for Great Books this year (YIPPEE!!).  I decided to try and read Midsummer in one day (because I’m crazy), and Mama let me only do that for school today (because she’s wonderful).  Shakespeare’s writing style is one of the most beautiful things that ever happened.

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows;
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in. . .” (20)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Dover Publications, Inc.

In other news, I got all the geeky Middle Earth books for Christmas/my birthday, and I’m so happy!

I also got two other novels, so I’ve been mostly reading lately, and the written words have dropped significantly.  When I finish the five Christmas books I have left, I’m hoping to get back to my own stories–to be honest, I kinda’ miss them.

And (because random, silly Middle Earth pictures are apparently the thing right now), this is my favorite variation of this quote yet:

I’m loving this so much! 😉

Happy Thursday, my friends!