Avon Van Hassel

Building Worlds and Filling Them With Magic

Man, it feels like I’ve been introducing myself a lot lately. But, for you lovely people, I’ll do it again.

I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I won awards in first grade for ‘writing like a fifth grader’. That ‘s a small thing, but it was a big confidence boost when I was little, and it encouraged me to keep it up. I even tried to write a musical once when I was in elementary school. Man, I was obsessed with Cats.

It was around that time that I wrote my first novel. I called it Twenty-Five Years Overnight, and it was about a woman who dreamed that she had fallen into a magical land. She had all kinds of adventures and eventually because the queen. When she died of old age, she woke up in her bed in the real world, the Ring of State still on her finger. I think it’s still a good idea. I might play with it again one day.

My middle school years were mostly plagued by crippling fangirling and the most fruitful fanfiction years of my life. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings were my go-to topics, but my best friend also tried to get me involved in various mangas and animes.

High school saw the first of my great Opuses. I started a book called By Knot of Nine, a vaguely Celtic saga, heavily influenced by Arthurian myth, specifically The Mists of Avalon. I had been pagan for some time by then, but I really dove into it and claimed it.

Then college happened. I didn’t write creatively as much as I liked, though I did dabble. I mostly devoted myself to ‘interactive fiction’, mostly tabletop gaming, like Dungeons and Dragons, for the three years I attended my local junior college. When I got accepted at Cardiff University, it all came to a grinding halt. To fail academically at home is bad enough, but to go abroad and do it was not an option. My faith cooled a little and my creative writing stalled, all on the backburner, to focus on my degree. By third year, though, I was getting into the swing and although assignments were getting harder, I was getting better at managing them.

Work smarter, not harder 😉

2011 was the first year I did National Novel Writing Month. That was an awful, truly dreadful story about an American family who inherited a Welsh castle and had to assimilate. It was the worst kind of Mary Sue. But it was 50,000 words in the bag.  On top of three massive essays, a thesis (that required me to travel, and my adviser was actively avoiding me), and cooking Thanksgiving for 21 people all by myself in a country that doesn’t understand Libby’s Pureed Pumpkin.

I haven’t lost an event, NaNo or Camp NaNo, since.

In 2012, I did some work in Guatemala with my dad’s family and I started a steampunk adventure about a lady archaeologist. (It is NOT a Mary Sue, I just know a lot of things about Victorians, Central America, and lady archaeologists, ok???)

After that, I went back to Britain for a last hurrah and came across a book about theatre during Shakespeare’s time. My head exploded 30 pages in, and a fully-formed story called A Kingdom for A Stage, landed in my lap. It took the next month to write the outline, and that November I wrote the first of my novels to be finished within a month. Before, I had written 50k words, but not finished the story; or finished the story, but took longer than a month. It was that year that I joined Scribophile, and my writing has never been better.

In 2013, I was a co-Municipal Liaison for the local chapter of NaNoWriMo. It was a bit more of a headache than I would have liked, but it was an interesting experience. I’d have applied again, but the next year, I was in Britain again (this time for weddings), and the year after that I would finish up the month in Canada visiting my sister.

While in Britain, I began the story that has taken over my life completely. I got the idea from someone on tumblr: Why do we care about Jack (from Jack and the Beanstalk)? There’s someone running around with magic beans who’s willing to give them away for an old milk cow? Why is the story not about him?

I chuckled at it at the time, but it festered, and a series of images began to form. And they haven’t left me alone. Not for a single day since.

That year, I beat NaNo in two weeks, though the story took much longer to get down. I was travelling all of the first week to get to the wedding in North Wales. Then I had to rush to catch up, doubling my daily word count goal. I made it by the middle of the month. I just kept up the momentum, and dragged it home. I have the graphs to prove it.

magicbeansnanograph

If you’re not familiar with writing to a NaNoWriMo schedule, Day 8 looks pretty scary.

That story was called Magic Beans. It follows the story of a pair of thieves as they try to complete a seemingly impossible job. It has adventure, magic, evil, romance, sarcasm, alcohol, and dragons. And of course, giants.

~~~~

Well, I hope you have enjoyed the little ramble through my literary life. As you can see, I have a lot of going on, even beyond what you will see on this blog. The majority of the next few posts will be my journey to publication, but I hope to also post about little tips and tricks to help other writers hone their craft.

I’d love to hear from you. If you like anything I’ve posted, or would like to hear more, feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line!

4 thoughts on “A Little Bit About Me

  1. Angela says:

    Best wishes for you! What an amazing story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. avonvanhasselauthor says:

      Aww thanks! *blush*

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ❤ What a lovely little about you. You sound like a very interesting person!

    Liked by 1 person

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