|A collection of lovely fan art I've received for Paper Stars|
|A collection of lovely fan art I've received for Paper Stars|
My name is Helen, but on here I am most commonly known as Henna. I'm eighteen years old as of April 12th, and I've been a member of the dA community for about six years (the first two years took place on another account). On here, I'm most well-known for my artwork, which consists of illustrations of my own stories as well as fan art for my favorite books.
For those who aren't familiar, much of my art centers around the original characters from my novel, Paper Stars, a historical fiction piece set in Nazi Germany. If you're interested in reading more about it, you can check out either the PS group, the PS folder in my gallery or the fan-made PS tumblr. Unfortunately, as I'm in the midst of sending out queries and trying to find lit agents for publication, I have taken it's entirety down from my wattpad account. However, you can still read the first nine chapters here. I have several other writing projects going on as well.
If you have any questions, it would be great if you could check out my FAQ before asking, as it may have been answered there.
Hello friends! I have just arrived back from my month-long escapade across Western Europe, namely London, Oxford, Amsterdam, and a very long romantic affair with the whole of Germany, though namely several cities along the Rhine, plus a few days in both Munich and Berlin.
Now, I am writing this not only as a simple reminder that I will be returning more frequent activity. No, I am mostly writing this to let my lovely followers know about some MAJOR changes that my novel, “Paper Stars” will undergo because of this trip.
Firstly, I am no longer currently pursuing publication. Before any of you are alarmed by this, let me make it clear that I have certainly NOT given up on PS nor my aspirations on being a published author. That being said, after visiting several concentration camps, changing the location of the first half of the novel from Cologne to a small town on the banks of the Rhine called Boppard, and many other additional revisions for both the sake of historical accuracy and practicality, I will basically be re-writing the novel as a whole. While the characters themselves and the mode of narration will probably not change a great deal, I realize now that I have before me the elephantine task of tearing down a lot of the old framework I have built up over the last five years, and I am now starting over again, though thankfully not from scratch this time around.
I don’t blame you if this news exasperates you. I realize I have been notorious in my false starts and indecision and prolonged editing. But after my life-changing trip to the place I’ve been writing about for so long, I know that I can’t edit any more. I have to start over, and hopefully PS will become something far better than it is at this moment.
Be sure to message me if you have any questions and I will try my very best to answer them! I owe you guys big time.
With much love and trepidation,
|Q: Is there anywhere I can read PS?|
A: Unfortunately, as I am attempting to pursue publication, I have taken the whole story off of Wattpad. However, you can find the first 9 chapters in my gallery.
Q: What was your inspiration?
A: My interest in WW2 and the Holocaust was piqued when a survivor named Judith Miesel came to my junior high in 2008 and spoke to us about her experiences. I was equally fascinated and horrified by everything that had taken place during that period in time and I knew I wanted to know more. My dedication towards the subject only deepened when we read an abridged version of Anne Frank's diary in 8th grade. I've spent the last five years subsequent studying and writing about the subject as much as I could.
Q: How is publication going?
A: Slowly. One of the most important things you need to learn is how to cope with rejection.
Q: What's the meaning behind the title?
A: Essentially, it has several meanings. But the "paper" part is supposed to symbolize both fragility permanence, as paper can be so easily burned, yet so much history has been recorded on it. Paper immortalizes. It's a way to preserve. And "stars" tie in with both the Jewish stars, stars as a symbol of hope and light in darkness as well as the famous idea of "star-crossed" relationships.
Q: Why does Sara swear so much? It seems pretty unlikely that a young Catholic girl from a well-to-do family has such a foul mouth, especially since it's a historical piece.
A: Keep in mind she is a country kid- she mentions this several times. While her family might have been more proper, her friends were less-educated and more rough around the edges. Her best friend is a boy who grew up in a poor, rowdy family with four older brothers; he's bound to be an influence on the way she carries herself and the way she speaks when she's not with adults. There's also the fact of her being a middle child- she feels like her older sister is the perfect lady and that her parents love her more than Sara, and that Hanna is the darling of the family, the sweet baby sister, therefor she believes that she needs to act out to set herself apart from her siblings. Swearing and acting un-ladylike is her way of rebelling against her mother's wishes. Take note that she does not speak so harshly around other adults; she only has a foul mouth around Saul.
Q: How long have you studied WW2?
A: Since 2008
Q: Is PS still in progress?
A: Technically I finished in October of 2011, but I'm still editing.
Q: Have you found a publisher?
A: Not yet- still editing.
Q: Do you still plan on publishing? What's taking so long?
A: As I don't want to self publish, I can't just snap my fingers and find an agent: it's not that simple. Each agent takes a very long time to respond to queries, so it's likely that PS won't even be accepted into a publishing house any time soon. I plan on ramping up the queries after I return from my holiday in Germany and England this August.
|Q: How old are you?|
A: I am eighteen years old as of April 12th.
Q: Have you ever taken art lessons?
A: Not until my sophomore year of high school, during which I took a basic art class. In my junior year I took Graphic Design, Advanced Sketching and Advanced Painting. As far as this year, I am not taking any art classes.
Q: Why do you swear so much?
A: I think it's silly for me to have to put parameters on my speech all the time: I'm not hurting anyone, it's my way of expressing myself and my humour and I don't think I do it too excessively. I'm a teenager and I think i should be allowed to cut loose sometimes.
Q: Do you do trades or requests?
A: I very rarely do art trades, as I'm busy and kind of suck at deadlines. I never do requests unless it is gift art for a friend.
Q: What are the primary influences on your art?
A: I was very much inspired by Glen Keane's conceptual work with disney, as well as Miyazaki's films and work. More recent inspirations have been Adara Sanchez and Adria Mercuri.
Some other DA artists who have inspired my work:
Q: What program do you use?
A: I use Adobe/Photoshop Elements; it's basically the shittier-but-cheaper version of regular photoshop.
Q: What suggestions do you have for improving style?
A: Practice, practice, practice. Always remember originality, too; that is key. It's wonderful to have an idol artist that inspires you, but you've got to put your own personal flare into it, too.
Q: How do you create and flesh out your characters?
A: You've got to love your characters; that's rule #1. They've got to be almost real to you, part of you: only then will you be able to really know them. Yes, I know they're your own creation, but they grow, they change, they mature as you do. Give them dimensions, give them flaws, give them problems and GIVE THEM BACKSTORIES. I don't care how boring they are, they HAVE to have a backstory. Make them relatable, human, imperfect.
Q: How do you put emotions into your writing?
A: PUT YOURSELF IN THE CHARACTER'S SHOES. I mean it I know it's an overused saying, but it's my mantra when it comes to writing If you take the time to fall in love with your characters, pretend you're in their situation. For example, if your character looses her boyfriend, imagine what you would do if you lost someone special to you; how would you grieve? That's how I do it, at least. Also, it doesn't hurt to study a little human psychology, too.
Q: How did you learn to draw?
A: I've watched a ton of Disney and Miyasaki films in my short lifetime as well as countless other animated movies, so that's been a huge influence. I also really liked comics and cartoons as a kid.
Q: Are your characters based off of real life people?
A: Some of them are, yes. All of them have a little bit of my friends and I mixed into their personalities and mannerisms, and one or two are closely based off of friends and my relationships with them. But for the most part they're out of my own head.
Q: What kind of music do you listen to?
A: Check out my 8tracks
Q: What kind of tablet do you use?
A: I do not use a tablet; every single one of my drawings starts with a pencil sketch on regular paper that is scanned onto my laptop, which I proceed to polish and color. I'm old-fashioned.
Q: What got you interested in history?
A: I've always been fascinated by modern history and I've always felt as if I were born in the wrong century; this spurred me to start writing my first historical fiction novel, Roger Cannon and the Scarlet crest, set in the Great Depression. This is still a WIP, since I have absolutely no idea what direction it's going.
Q: How long have you had Sara and Benjamin?
A: Sara and Benjamin were first created, I believe, in the middle of my seventh grade year.
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, no question. #2 is Catcher in the Rye, #3 is Perks of Being a Wallflower and #4 is Pride and Prejudice (mr darcy hot damn)