14-year-old Vanessa Chen, author of A Butterfly Universe (Star Moonstone Books/Story Monsters LLC, 2020), doesn’t know if she has written enough to have established her own writing style, however, she does know the techniques she appreciates in other writers. “I really admire whenever an author sort of goes on [the] entire scene,” Chen tells So Booking Cool. “They’re very descriptive about it, but not extremely ‘blah, blah, blah’ about it. If an author can write a scene without any dialogue or action, just simply narration, and they’re doing it in a way that the reader is still extremely enchanted by the scene, then I think that’s really impressive. I wish I knew how to write a scene for that long and still capture the attention.”
Attention was not something Chen always paid during classes. She was too busy dreaming up story ideas. At ten-years-old she began writing A Butterfly Universe. In the supernatural novel, best friends Amber and Amethyst seem to live a normal life until one day they are transported to a butterfly universe, a mesmerizing and harmless world until they uncover the truth (cue the Wizards of Waverly Place theme song).
In addition to fantasy, mystery, and friendship, Chen says readers can also expect family themes in the novel. “The main characters, I don’t know if they really have to go through this, but they do get introduced to a character that has to make some very hard decisions…there’s just a lot of family drama. One parent is extremely evil, but it’s not his fault; the other parent is extremely good and heartbroken about the situation, and the entire family is torn apart.”
Watch the interview to learn more about Chen including her perspective on COVID-19; how A Butterfly Universe has evolved over the years in development; other people’s opinions about the title of her book; her advice for other first-time authors, especially ones in her age-group; how parents/guardians/teachers can be supportive of children who have a passion for storytelling; the kind of characters she doesn’t like to read about and the characters she likes to write; and more! For more information, visit Star Moonstone Books.