Write Now With F.T. Lukens

Today’s Write Now interview features F.T. Lukens, New York Times bestselling author of SPELL BOUND.

Write Now With F.T. Lukens
Photo courtesy of F.T. Lukens

Who Are You?

Hello. I’m FT Lukens. I’m an author of young adult speculative fiction and I’m currently based in North Carolina.

What Do You Write?

I write young adult speculative fiction. Basically, anything with magic or magical creatures, so more of the fantasy and contemporary fantasy of the speculative fiction umbrella.

I started writing as a hobby because I loved creating stories and characters. I started writing when I was a child but became really invested when I was a teenager and in college. But I didn’t start to think about writing as a career until my twenties. Writing professionally can be lonely and can be stressful at times. But it’s worth it.

I absolutely love what I do and that I get to be creative and use my imagination as my job. That’s so special to me that I’ve turned my childhood daydreams of magic, dragons, and mermaids into a career.

Where Do You Write?

I write at my desk in my bedroom, which is also currently serving as my office. I’ve tried writing in other locations in the past, but I end up being too distracted to be productive.

In my office, I have a highbacked swivel chair I use with a throw blanket over the back that I will pull over my shoulders when I am chilly. My laptop is elevated on a stand, and I’ve connected a mechanical typewriter-style keyboard because I like the wider layout and because I like the feedback in my fingers and hands when I hit the keys. It also lights up as a rainbow which I love.

I use Word as my basic program since I’m a creature of habit and just haven’t had the time to learn any of the newer programs. I do use Pacemaker to set up a writing schedule when I’m working on a long project that will take a bit of time, and it helps me keep track of word counts and words per day. I also use a bot in a discord server to keep track of projects and to run writing sprints. When I’m drafting, I like to use notebooks and legal pads to draft scenes and have used notecards as well to put scenes in the order that I want them.

When writing Spell Bound, I relied heavily on a notebook of handwritten scenes that I knew I wanted to include, then used Word to put them in order. I’m really a mix of technology and analog when it comes to drafting and then writing.

When Do You Write?

I most often write on the weekends and those are usually my big word count days. I also write late at night on weekdays. I’ve tried writing in the early morning, but it’s just not for me.

Why Do You Write?

I really just enjoy writing. It started as a hobby because I’ve always loved creating stories and one day decided to write them down. And then it has blossomed from there. I love putting twists on classic stories and tropes. I like writing for audiences that historically have not had stories written for them. I love writing for teens because I hope that it broadens their worldview or gives them comfort, or just lets them know they’re not alone.

How Do You Overcome Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is so different and personal for everyone. Usually when I experience it, it’s because I didn’t plan well and there is something wrong with the manuscript or the outline. I find going back to the beginning and looking at what I’m working on from a basic standpoint, down to the scene and sentence, can help me unlock what is wrong or what is being difficult. And once I figure that out, I can move forward.

If it’s that I’m feeling uninspired, I revisit media (books, tv shows, movies, etc.) that make me happy. Or I set writing aside and work on something else for a while, like crocheting or reorganizing my bookshelf. And come back later when I’m ready. If I’m under a deadline and don’t have a lot of time to relax, I make sure to take at least one day off and try again the next day. Falling behind adds stress and can increase the block for me. But allowing myself some grace is important too.

Bonus: What Do You Enjoy Doing When Not Writing?

When I’m not writing, I love to crochet. I make all kinds of things, but I mainly like to make amigurumi. I’ve crocheted dragons and cacti and dolls. I love finding new patterns to try. It’s creating something, just in a different way. I usually post pictures of my work to Instagram and try to match content or color scheme with my books.

My thanks to F.T. Lukens for today’s interview.

A version of this article also appeared on Medium.