Monday, October 13, 2014

Society of Literary Ladies: Reyna Nicole

   Today I have the pleasure of hosting Miss Reyna Nicole of A Peace of the Past, a lovely girl and new friend of mine who is also a fellow bluestocking. So please welcome Reyna!

   Introduce yourself! Tell us your name, your age (if you don't mind sharing), three of your biggest passions and one thing you love about October.

  Hello everyone! Before I jump right in and answer all of these wonderful questions, I want to give a HUGE thank you to Emma for firstly, starting this splendid society, and secondly, for interviewing me-- I'm honored! My name is Reyna Nicole, and I am fifteen years old (I've actually noticed that a lot of m blogging friends are that age too, interestingly enough).
   Hmm, three of my biggest passions...these aren't necessarily in any meaningful order, but I would have to say music, books and certain movies about which I rave on my blog, and homesteading. Let me elaborate on each of those now. ;-) Music has always been a passion for me, even before I realized it. From a very young age, I played piano by ear, and loved to sing and dance. A few years ago I started taking lessons-- voice and piano-- and it has been amazing! So yes, music is definitely a passion for me. Books and movies, well, that's a given. I have always been the reader in my family, and although I don't always have 'my nose stuck in a book' like I used to (I just don't have that much time anymore!) , I take extreme pleasure in a well-written novel. Extra points if it's long as well!! I am picky, though, so it is hard to find books that I really love. With movies it's the same thing. I probably haven't seen half the number of movies most of my friends have, but some movies I have seen I obsess over. Really obsess. You don't believe me? Check out my blog and my Pinterest. What else did I list? Oh yes, homesteading. That is what I want to do 'when I grow up'-- live on a self-sufficient farm with my husband and animals and a bunch of kids. And no, I haven't found the husband yet, if you were wondering. ;-)
  One thing I love about October is the beginning of the rainy season. This year, though, I'm not sure we are going to have much of a rainy season. Have any of you heard about the California drought? Yeah, it's pretty bad. We might not have any rain, if this year is anything like the last *sniff*. I miss the damp, clean ground and listening to the raindrops patter on the attic roof. I miss running and dancing through the torrents and not caring that I have water dripping off of my completely saturated skirt. I miss snuggling my goat when she's all fluffed up to keep the water off of her. And now I'm sad because we've not had rain for a long, long time.

  Where is home for you? (Be as vague or specific as you like.)

    Home for me is my house with my family and my animals. I know I could learn to regard a different house as home, but not without the latter two things. I need to have people I love around me and things that spark memories. A quiet place where I can go to be alone and have my thoughts to myself is also a must.

  What is your current situation academically? (For example, what grade are you in, are you homeschooled, out of school, go to public school, or take lessons from an elderly spinster aunt.)

  I am legally in 11th grade this school year, although since I am homeschooled that doesn't really mean anything. If you must know, I actually finished pretty much all of my high school studies before I was high school age! This year (in less than a month, actually) I am going to take the California High School Proficiency Exam and get my diploma so I can study full-time at the local Junior College. You see, while I am still enrolled in high school I am only allowed to take two college classes per semester and I want to take five. My plan is to take the rest of this year and one more at the Junior College (our local junior college is conveniently the best one in the state), and then transfer to a university. My parents made it very clear that it was mandatory I get a degree, but I am not going to live away from home or anything like that. If my current educational plan works out, I should be completely done with school by the time I am barely nineteen, and then I can move on with my life. What I mean by that is probably get a part time job and help my parents more with their small businesses.

  Is there one author who has particularly influenced you in your writing?

  Only one? This is difficult. I am sure that most of the books I read influence my writing in one way or another, however I think that the most influence has come from J.R.R. Tolkien. I have learned diversity of writing style from his books; simply by reading, say, the Hobbit, and then the Silmarillion or the Book of Lost Tales. It amazes me how the same author can write a book in a style directed towards children, and then go and write another in the style of a beautifully structured history book!

 Favorite book series?

  Hmm… A few years ago I would have said the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, but now I really don’t know! Most of the books I read are stand-alones, such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, etc., so although I may like most of their books, they don’t really count as a series. Can I just list a few of my favorites? (Sorry I’m cheating.) Alrighty then. The Narnia series by C. S. Lewis, because they will never get old, the Anne books by L. M. Montgomery, and the Scarlet Pimpernel series by Baroness Orczy.

  Favorite childhood book?

  It’s a toss-up between the Narnia books (yes, all of them) and the Little House books. I have read all of those more times than anyone could possibly remember.

  I know it can be hard sometimes for us bookish personalities to pick a favorite author, but if you had to choose just one, who would you pick?

  Noooooooooo! The dreaded question! If I abso-bally-lutely had to pick one favorite author, which I could NEVER do, and I could only read their books from a certain point on, it would be… Seriously, I just spent fifteen minutes here in deep thought trying to figure this out and I couldn’t. My sincere apologies to you!

    What's your favorite book that's been made into a movie? How do you feel about the film adaptation as compared with the book?

  Although this is not my all-time favorite book, I’m going to pick North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. My mom found the movie on YouTube and loved it, so I decided to get the book from the library and read it before I watched the movie. It was my first book by that author, and probably still my favorite (Wives and Daughters is a very close second). After I read the book – devoured, more like – I watched the miniseries. The book was so good that I didn’t expect to like the movie as much, but I was surprised. I loved it. It was very close to the book, and had great casting! *cough*Richard Armitage*cough* The only bone I have to pick with the BBC with regards to this particular movie is that they cut out a few lines right after the riot scene when Margaret is unconscious and Mr. Thornton confesses his love to her *swoon*. I know many people don’t really like this movie on account of it being ‘just like Pride and Prejudice’, but I really can’t see many similarities. I love the characters (although Margaret could have been just a tad less snobbish in the movie), I love the sets, and I love the costumes. I would say more, but then we might be here all day – so I’ll stop now.

    Who is one literary character you feel you are most like?

   Molly Gibson from Wives and Daughters, without a doubt. I have loved her ever since I read that wonderful book a couple of years ago, and even more after I watched the miniseries. Molly is a very ordinary character (in fact, the subtitle of the book is ‘An Everyday Story’), and I think that is what makes her so relatable. Nothing drastically terrible happens to her throughout the course of the novel, only small things that really could happen to anyone. She is sweet and quiet, and overall a ‘good girl’. Also, she becomes quite snobbish around people she doesn’t like – I’m not saying at all that this is a good thing, just I do it too. Another way that we are alike is in that we love to go off by ourselves and read books or work on small special projects. Like myself, Molly has a variety of interests, ranging from outdoorsy activities and studies to what might be regarded as more feminine pastimes. I actually did a whole post on Molly for the Literary Heroine Blog Party in February, if you would like to read more about her.

   Where is your favorite place to read? What about writing?

  My favorite place to read is in my bed when my room in clean and I have the blankets all nice and smooth and lots of pillows piled up. I have a very small room (smaller than 10’ by 10’), and it feels very cozy and bookish when it’s clean. When it’s not, and there are clothes and papers and books all over the floor, it just feels cluttered. Then I read downstairs on the couch and end up getting interrupted every five minutes, which displeases me muchly.
       My favorite place to write is in the big oak tree on our turkey hunting hill. I have found that it is easier for me to write up there, alone, than it is to write at my house with all of the distractions and obligations.  

Do you normally write first drafts on a computer, or do you prefer old-fashioned pen and paper? (I say, three cheers for pen and paper!) :-)

       I by far prefer not to write on a computer! Although I use a pencil, not a pen. :) Sometimes, though, if I’m going to start on a short project, I will type it out just to save time. And I always use the computer for school now – I have to for my college classes.

Be honest: what is your handwriting like?

       This does sound rather arrogant, I must say (or I think it will – I haven’t typed it yet), but I have been told that it is quite nice. I would like to think that it looks like the lovely script we see in letters in movies such as Pride and Prejudice, but it doesn’t. It is too short and round, and I can’t write straight on blank paper to save my life. Sometimes I am pleased with it, and sometimes I wish it was different. See, it only looks good when it is perfect, so I can’t write sloppily without it looking simply ridiculous. I suppose it should be thankful that I can make it look good if I want to, though!

How long does it generally take you to read a good book? (Of course I know it depends on just HOW good it is, but in general.)

       Well, it not only depends on how good the book is, but how long it is! If it is only a mediocre book I can spend perhaps a few hours on it, take a break, and come back, but if it is an AMAZING book (I love those, don’t you?), I can’t put it down. I will literally read it until it is finished, with no breaks.

What’s your record time for finishing a book?

       Uh, I think I read Emma in two hours once; at night when I couldn’t fall asleep. I’ve read shorter books more quickly, though.

Name five of the best books you’ve ever read that you recommend to other fellow bluestockings.

·        Quo Vadis by Henryk Sienkiewicz. It centers around the persecution of the early church under the Roman Emperor Nero, is wonderfully written, and has amazing characters. You really get a feel for what life was like for them, and for the whole Roman culture (I found that particularly interesting). It has a delightfully pure romance as well that goes perfectly with the plot, though not overshadowing it at all. I wouldn’t recommend it for very young readers, though, as the themes of persecution throughout the novel can be a bit intense at times.
·        War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. This is a children’s book, but I read it for the first time a month or so ago and loved it. It made me cry. Repeatedly. Despite its relatively simple language, the emotion that the author is able to convey is amazing; this book is encouraging, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. Nice quick read (and cry).
·        Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. I’ve already talked a bit about this one – go read it.
·        The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien. For obvious reasons.
·        The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. Because Sir Percy.

Tell about the things you think are most important in a good novel.
         For one, deep characters. I have read many books that had plots with huge potentials, but I didn’t like them so much because the characters were all dry and unrelatable. Not that all characters need to be relatable, but ya know what I mean, right?
    Secondly, a good novel has a solid middle. So much I see, especially with my own writing, a story with a good beginning and ending, but a middle that sags. With nothing going on, or whatever.
About what age did you start writing stories? Do you still have your early works?

I don’t really know at what exact age, but I remember that my mom used to let me write short stories for school. I must have been about seven when I wrote my first real story (four pages long!), about a family of kittens who got separated from each other and had to find their way back. Yes, my mom still has all of my stories in my school files. :)
Are you currently working on a novel/story/project?

       I have one currently at about 35, 000 words that I’ve been working on for a few months, and then also a grand idea that’s been floating around in my head for some time now. I need to start writing that one, but I’ve held off because I haven’t quite decided exactly at what point to begin the story. I’ll figure that out soon enough, and then I think I’ll be working on that one a bit more than the other. Already I feel like I know these new characters better than the ones in my other book – those ones need some work. I currently, for the new story, have nothing more than a few pages of notes in my ‘everything notebook’, and a whole lot of ideas in my head, though!


    Thank you Reyna Nicole! :-) Folks, if you'd like to read more of Reyna's writings, take a look at her blog A Peace of the Past , where she writes about everything from books and movies  to farming and homesteading, and a host of other delightful things. I highly recommend checking it out!




  1. I so enjoyed your answers, Reyna! It was fun hearing a bit more about your life and personally favorite books, etc. I love N&S...(but then I think we've been there before, haven't we?? :))

    And three hearty cheers to Emma Jane again for starting this society! ;) Quite marvelous, indeed!!

  2. Oh this is WONDERFUL!
    Wow we bloggers are all the same age pretty much! I feel soo old although I am two years older than Reyna. :(

    Greatly looking forward to the next interview with much anticipation :D

  3. You're welcome Reyna! So glad to have you! :-) And it was fun to learn more about your life and your bookish fancies.


  4. Lovely interview! I love reading about fellow writers, their processes, their inspirations, their favorite books and authors. It never ceases to amaze me that every writer has their own particular process, and that it's really not like anyone else's.

    I'm very much enjoying this series!

    (But I'm also feeling old because if you add Emma Jane's and Reyna's ages together, I'm still older.)


I'd love it if you'd drop me a line or two! I always enjoy receiving comments from readers and friends. I ask that you please keep your comments clean and God-honoring, and please don't write anything you wouldn't want your grandmother to read. Also, if you are commenting under anonymous, please do leave your name (or some sort of moniker so that you aren't totally nameless). Thank you so much and have a lovely day!

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