Featured Writer: Reagan Dyer
Reagan has been a writing buddy of mine since- actually a while ago; I don’t remember when we “met” on Figment and started chatting. It seems like every time we talk, we discover more things that we have in common, from our love for ALL THINGS Broadway to growing up reading the Mary Poppins books. She’s one of the cool kids. Plus she’s writing a novel about SteamPunk Aeronautics. Yup.
In describing herself, she says this:
“I’m just an old school, seventeen-year-old, born-again Christian writer who loves dancing in the rain, counting shooting stars, obsessing over musical theatre, wearing converse sneakers, and laughing with my best friend.” -The Newsie
Her name is Reagan Dyer, but she also has a pseudonym, Jackie Falcon, which she uses on Figment.
Her novel-in-progress Flyboy has recently enthralled me and I’m anxious to see where it goes. Check it out HERE!
Earlier this week she “interviewed” me on her blog, sparking the (not-so-original) idea in me to do the same! So here she is; we “sat down” over facebook and here are her answers to my questions:
Well, I have always loved flying. I am in love with vintage aircraft and someday I want to own a vintage, bright red biplane named the Skylark. So, naturally, I decided it was high time to write a story about flying–a girl who loves to fly and will do so despite all cost. I had been struggling to find which genre it would fit in, and then steampunk just kind of clicked into place.
Would you describe the book a little?
Like I said, it is a steampunk novel about a girl, Jacey Drake, who gets into the Conservatory of Aeronotics with nothing but guts and a dream to fly. Flying is a man’s area of expertise, and she is always reminded of that fact. Two provinces are coming into conflict: the Uplands [the islands in the sky that the Government controls with strict regulation after the War] and the Lowlands [a vast array of low islands that are lost in the mist and clouds of the sky–a place where criminals are exiled]. And now the Lowlanders are building their own Sky Force to rival that of the Uplands’ Ether Squad. And Jacey is caught right in the middle, torn between two worlds. She also meets a mysterious boy, Kit Morgan, who, even though he might be a pilot worth his salt, has a few deep secrets.
What is your favorite thing you ever wrote / are writing?
That’s a pretty hard one to answer, I’ll have to admit. I’m working on the idea of a novel that has taken root in my mind and is totally different from anything I’ve attempted before, and that should be fun. I have also written a short story called The House of the Wind that I really love. But I think the one I’ve stuck most with is Den of Thieves, and it has sure been a ride. So that is my favorite for right now. If I ever get around to finishing Starkeeper’s Gate and actually making it as awesome as I’ve planned, then that will be my favorite thing I’ve written. But for right now, it’s Den of Thieves.
What book(s) are you reading now?
I just finished reading The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater for the second time. One of my favorite books! I’m starting Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott [a long overdue book] and True Valor by Dee Henderson, a story about a woman pilot.
Do you ever base characters on people you actually know?
Doesn’t every writer? I had great fun one time writing a story for my bestie based all on characters we knew in real life. I find myself watching people all the time, taking note of their habits and how they look, and thinking that they would fit very well in a novel.
Personal taste: mountains, beach or desert?
Okay, originally coming from SoCal [I’m a converted Texan now] I love my beaches. However, I simply love the smell of spicy pines, woodsmoke, and fresh air just off the mountains. So, between mountains, beach, or desert, I’m choosing mountains. Because, I mean, sitting there in a warm sweater and jeans and breathing in the chilly breeze, you could write just about anything. But, I have to say, moors beat all three of those. I first got a taste of the Yorkshire moors while falling in love with The Secret Garden, and have loved them ever since. Moors are so beautiful and wild and windy…
Are you anything like Jacey (or another heroine of yours)? If so, how?
I like to think I am. I like to think I’d have the guts to do what she did. And in some ways, I am like her. I’m from a small town that nobody’s heard of and I absolutely love to fly. I also have what some of my friends like to call an Irish temper, and Jacey tends to flare up as well. I have yet to meet a Kit Morgan in real life, though [a misfortune I’m seriously lamenting]. Out of all my characters, though, I think I’m most like Jordie Cruize [Russell] from The Starkeeper’s Gate. She, just like me sometimes, is content to sit in the background and watch everybody else–but she also has a fiery spark. But other than that, I tend to make my characters different than myself. I don’t know why–I guess just for the thrill of being able to create anyone you’d like.
What’s the first story/poem you remember writing?
Oh. That. Well. The first “novel” I ever attempted, when I was around eight or nine, was inspired by C.S. Lewis. It was about four children [two boys and two girls, of course] living in England, who go to visit their grandmother during the summer. And they find a door into another world and have a bunch of adventures, because I’m just creative like that––although I didn’t get that far… I remember one of the boys’ names was Edward, so his nickname was Ed. And I have been writing stories ever since.
How many pen-names have you used (I know I’ve tried out a good half-dozen at least)?
Well, currently I write under the pen name Jackie Falcon. I also sign my blog posts and other bits of writing “-The Newsie”. I have used Stormie Skye and Stormie Jackson as well. I love pen names, so I’m not sure how many more times I’ll change mine till I find a permanent one.
Do you cry watching movies / reading books?
I am very emotional when reading books and watching movies. [Just ask my friends.] I cry whenever dogs or horses die in books, I bawled when Dumbledore died [even though I already knew what was going to happen], and I cried when Fred, Tonks, Remus, and Colin Creevey died in the last Harry Potter book. I was literally sobbing on my friend’s shoulder while I watched The Notebook, and dreamt about sinking ships and drowning people after Titanic. And don’t get me started on Braveheart. I think I have cried more watching that for the first time than I have for any other movie.
Pick a book to spend a day inside of:
Oh. That is hard. Very hard. I could say Lord of the Rings and just lose myself in Tolkien’s sheer brilliance. Or I could say Scorpio Races and have a fast Capall Uisce beneath me, sand in my eyes, wind in my hair, running the deadliest horse race of all time. Or maybe Airborn so I could pilot an airship with Matt Cruse. Living in Harry Potter would be pretty awesome. Or I could just choose Name of the Wind and follow Kvothe around asking him “How do you pull those seven words? And which do you think is worse, stealing a meat pie or killing someone?” In short, I don’t know. How about many days, and several books?
When do you write (morning, afternoon, dusk, midnight, 3am)?
Whenever it strikes my fancy. I write whenever I feel the inspiration start to strike. [Unfortunately, inspiration usually comes in the form of an idea for a new story.] But, I have to admit, I do tend to get most of my writing done at night.
And finally, have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? If so, who was it?
Oh, that is a good question. I still have a crush on Matt Cruse from Airborn. I mean, who wouldn’t? He’s a cabin boy aboard the airship Aurora. And I definitely have a crush on Sean Kendrick from Scorpio Races because he is tall, dark, handsome, and knows horses like he’s breathing [Puck is one lucky girl.] And if I had to pick one more, I would choose either Will Treaty [yes, he is awesome] from Ranger’s Apprentice or the Weasley Twins [sniff, Fred, sniff].
Check out her always excellent and entertaining blog, Old School Ink and follow her on Figment!