by Rachel Borene, staff
Today we’re chatting with Sophia Whittemore, author of the young adult fantasy series The Impetus Rising. After publishing the first book in the series at only seventeen years old, Sophia stands out as a young and highly skilled story teller, and her books take fans of action adventure and fantasy on a thrilling ride from cover to cover. We asked her a few questions on her writing process, her books, and her perspective as a young established author. So, let’s get started!
Question 1: When reading young adult books, many of the protagonists are written by authors who are much older than their main character. What unique perspectives do you bring to the genre, writing about a character who is closer to your own age?
Sophia: Being pretty much the same age as my character, I feel that her voice (Diana’s, the name of my character) is really just my voice. Whenever Diana complains or acts sarcastic, that’s exactly how I would act if put into that sort of fantastical situation. Her problems, e.g. prom and any other drama, were also probably my problems, as well. As for unique perspectives, my character is also half-Indian and I come from a half-Indonesian background. So, I guess some could argue that my character actually IS me when it comes to her background and sarcastic personality.
Question 2: What inspired you to seek out a traditional publisher, rather than self publishing your first novel?
Sophia: I felt that traditional publishing would allow me to sort of have a family starting within this business. Self-publishing is great for some people, but I felt that traditional publishing was just a more natural option for me. It’s a family as opposed to going it your own way.
Question 3: Your prose is eloquent, vivid, and full of emotion. How much practice did you have writing before you wrote The Funnyman?
Sophia: Why thank you! I’ve been writing since birth, which most authors would tell you. But, as for the more “literary” style, I’ve developed that over probably four to five years of practice on short stories and other novels. The Funnyman was actually written during my sophomore year of high school.
Question 4: Many young writers aspire, like their main characters, to set off on their own, forge their own path in life, and find success. What advice can you give to a young author who may feel overwhelmed at the thought of publishing while they’re young?
Sophia: Don’t be overwhelmed and, most importantly, don’t engage in self-sabotage early on in the game. When you start out, a writer tends to have a lot of self-doubt. You write the novel, get a rejection or two, and then you give up and decide that nobody will ever like your writing but your parents. That’s not the case. Get feedback on your writing, take what you can from the feedback, but don’t let the feedback consume your every waking thought. Publishing, as many will say, is a subjective business. One person may love your story and the next will hate it with a passion. If it helps, treat writing like just another subject in school. Study up on it by studying what other writers did to get published, then follow what they did. If their method doesn’t work for you, try what another author did. Seek out publishers that seem right for you, do a ton of research on self-publishing if that’s the route you wish to take, and go on writer’s forums and lurk there in order to find out what other hopeful writers may be struggling with, as well. Do your research and find what works for you. No one author will give you every bit of information there is to know about publishing. That’s why you have to branch out all your research. Start out by researching “how to get published”, and then go into specifics with terms like “query letter” and “pitching your book”.
Question 5: You’ve just released book two in The Impetus Rising series, Death’s Fool. Was this book easier to write than the first, or did it present its own unique challenges?
Sophia: The second book felt like a continuation of the first. It just sort of happened naturally. Of course, there were challenges in certain action scenes because more action happens in this book than the first. But that’s where your imagination comes in. And imagination is basically the primary tool of all writers.
Question 6: Though this series is categorized as fantasy, what awesome elements does it have to draw in adventure fans?
Sophia: This series is a thrill ride. There are fight scenes between shadows and humans, kidnapping and rescue missions, sword fights, and even time travel to an extent in the second novel. If rescuing princes in distress and sword fights don’t interest you, I don’t know what will.
Question 7: Finally, after The Impetus Rising series is done, are there any plans to start penning an entirely new adventure?
Sophia: I do have plans for more adventure series, but I also have to balance that with starting my freshman year at Dartmouth College. I’m writing the new books right now that are more in the vein of fantasy and pirate adventures. Three cheers for magic!
Thank you so much, Sophia!
About the Author
Sophia Whittemore is a Dartmouth student and multiracial author with an Indonesian mother and a Minnesotan father. She has had book signings at Barnes & Noble for her Impetus Rising Series, available on Amazon and other outlets, the first book published when she was only seventeen. She has been featured as a Standout in the Daily Herald and a Rad Reads author in Girls’ Life Magazine. Her love for the English language manifested itself in eighth grade when she went to the Scripps National Spelling Bee and has continued with other languages such as Spanish and Indonesian. Her prior publications include “A Clock’s Work” in a Handersen Publishing magazine, “Blind Man’s Bluff” in Parallel Ink, and winning multiple awards in the Best Midwestern Writing competition for high school writers. She currently resides in Chicago, Illinois with her family and food-loving mini schnauzer called Tiger. Drawing on inspiration from her two cultural backgrounds, Sophia lives a life playing tennis, traveling, and writing about her dual life experiences through other characters in her works or on her blog.