We interview one of Graded’s many creative minds about his experiences in amateur novel writing.
Blog: Why don’t we start by having you telling us a bit about yourself.
Santos: Well, I was born in São Paulo, in ‘98. So after living here for seven years I moved to the Netherlands in 2005. I spent 5 years there and then I moved to Madrid, Spain. Now, after there years there, I’m back in São Paulo. I play rugby. I think I’m a good player since I even made it to the state selection in Spain for sub-16 and sub-17. I also do MUN, since I want to pursue a career in international relations in the future. Another great passion in my life is writing. Ever since 2nd grade I remember we would get these assignments and we would make these little books with pictures, little bits of writing, stuff like that and I would really enjoy them. When I was nine I tried writing my first book; it was fantasy book and it was completely inspired by The Lord of the Rings. It was really bad. I only wrote about ten pages, but still I kept trying to write but it never really worked out until I moved to Spain. There I decided that I wanted to dedicate myself completely to it. I started reading a bunch about how to properly write fiction, making a proper plot, characters, setting and so forth. So in the beginning of 7th grade I started to write my first draft of Loyalty to the Dead which I finished by the end of 7th grade. After a two-year process, I finally finished it at the end of the 8th grade.
Blog: What inspired you to write it?
Santos: I don’t know. I guess I always wanted to do it, and I really enjoy writing. Also, there’s this almost godlike feeling. You have the power to create stories and send messages through that story.
Blog: Would you say that there was a particular high point while writing it? Any especially good memory or perhaps something that you learned?
Santos: I think the high point was when I realised that I was going to finish it. It’s a really long process—two years is a long time, especially for a middle school student. When I realized that I was going to finish it, that I had written a book.
Blog: What was the most difficult thing about writing the novel? Did ever feel the task was too daunting?
Santos: Writing can be a pain. Sometimes I got sick of the book, especially towards the end. I would try to write 500 words per day, sometimes I would wake up an hour and a half earlier to get some writing done. You have to suffer through it, but in the end it’s worth it.
Blog: Are you working on anything else right now?
Santos: Right now I’m planning my second book, but I’m taking a different direction. So it won’t be a piece of historical fiction like Loyalty to the Dead and I’ll move on from the setting of the Crusades. This second one will be contemporary military fiction, I’m thinking about writing about a task force.
Blog: How far along the process are you? Could perhaps gives us a teaser of what the story might entail?
Santos: I want to explore the idea of a new type of weaponry, maybe focus on this task force as they try to prevent this weapon from getting in the hands of the wrong people. I also want to explore how war is really just a way of countries getting their own interests. Because when you get down to it, the soldiers suffer so much while it is sometimes politically meaningless. One moment two countries will be fighting and later they will allies, but the suffering of ordinary people doesn’t go away.
Blog: And lastly, do you have any tips for any fledgeling writers who want to exercise their talents a bit more? Any personal knowledge you would like to share to help others develop their writing?
Santos: I know many people want to write novels, but they think its impossible. It’s not. I know that sounds cheesy. It only takes a little bit of commitment, try sitting down for like 20 minutes every day and just write. Just keep writing and you’ll get it done.
Matheus’ first novel is available for purchase online.