An Interview with AR Jung

Hello and welcome to the next interview of 2021! To read past interviews, click here. Today’s spotlight is on author AR Jung. Let’s dive in.

What are your go-to writing tools? Snacks? Places? What’s that one thing you always need to have when you sit down for a writing session?

Leigh….I must drink coffee and have a lit candle. The flickering light and aromas help me creatively. Also, I have stumbled upon the concept of Hygge in my travels. It is a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable wellness and contentment. I try to create my writing space with this in mind. There are youtube channels dedicated to creating cozy atmospheres and I like the autumn cozy channel. I’ll put on one of their videos, get a yummy coffee (again and again,) and cover up with a cozy blanket. Then I can write. I don’t like my feet to be cold. I don’t necessarily need to eat while I write…but warm drinks seem to be essential for me.

If you could only choose one type of story to write the rest of your life, which would it be? Short stories or full length novels?

I would choose to write short stories. I like the challenge of creating an entire world or concept with limited words and space. Like in my real life, if I have too many choices, I become overwhelmed. I like streamlined options and set parameters. It helps me hone the feeling I am trying to convey in my work so that it doesn’t become too wordy, potentially losing the emotional component of the story.
Not only are you an author, you’re also a graphic designer. What are your favorite things about making a design? Does design help with your writing process? If yes, then how so?

I wrote an article about an interview with Creature Concept designer Jared S. Marantz. I think it answers the above question in full. Here is the link to the article. To elaborate, however, I think being a graphic designer helps with my writing because similar cognitive processes are employed. In design you must make a thousand micro decisions as you work, quickly discarding anything which will throw off the elements of the design. You are trying to achieve balance, continuity, and an aesthetically pleasing finished product. One that will tap into the emotions of the onlooker.

The same process is used in crafting a story. I am at heart a pantser in both my design work and my writing. I have learned to trust my micro decisions and trust that working my way through to a finished piece will actually create an end result that I love. It’s the grey area and the unknown along the way to a finished product that an artist must become comfortable with and I think honing one’s confidence within that void is a must.

What do you love about writing MG? Would you ever consider writing stories for other age groups? Do you think there’s a need for an age group between middle grade and young adult?

I like writing middle grade and young reader chapter books because I, myself tend to look at the world with a childlike whimsy. I am a dreamer and am an idealist turned realist. I still prefer my idealist notions much more. I am aesthetically drawn to beauty, innocence and simplicity in life. I have children and enjoy looking at the world through their eyes. I like to engage and cultivate learning, hands on experiences and creativity in my kids and so these themes work their way into my work quite naturally.

And now for some fun! Answer the first thing that pops in your head with these either/or questions:

Chocolate or Strawberry: Chocolate
Tapioca or Butterscotch: Butterscotch
Hot Tea or Hot Chocolate: Hot Tea
Bubble Tea or Coffee: Coffee
Cake or Pie: Pie
TV or Movies: Movies
CDs or Vinyls: I like Pandora
Typewriter or Keyboard: Keyboard
Apple or PC: PC
Rain or Snow: Snow

What’s your favorite genre to read? Do you prefer fiction, nonfiction, or a mix of both? How has reading influenced your own need to write?

I like reading fiction for relaxation. I like to read middle grade and early readers to study what works for these accomplished writers. I especially like reading Newbery medalists. What an accomplishment. Their work always makes me feel something and that’s what I’m after when I sit down to read.

Okay, so once again that was more than five questions, but still loads of fun. Many thanks once again to AR Jung for participating in this year’s interview series!

Check back next week, Wednesday, March 17th to meet author Margot de Klerk!

Interested in being interviewed? Message me here.

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AR Jung is a children’s book author and illustrator and her work is about empowering children. Her focus is on empowerment through self esteem building and creativity as an outlet for fostering joy and inner strength in kids.

AR is a kid at heart, but loves the subversive. She is very into the eclectic and the whimsical, as long as it has an element of #STEM running through it. AR likes the cumulative outcome of her stories to = love, joy & empowerment. She is the author of the Velveteen Rabbit retelling, THE GIRL BEHIND THE MAGIC (2019) and lives in Houston with her husband, daughter and two rescues. She is a returned Peace Corps volunteer from Uzbekistan, Central Asia, where she learned Russian as a second language, and to date has forgotten most of it. 🙂

Any advice that I have for other writers seems prosaic at best. I have found on my creative journey that writing, like all art, is deeply personal. Stick with the long stretches of uncertainty. Art, like life, is a cumulative experience. Some day you will have created a legacy introspectively deep as the sea. If it’s money you’re after, may you be blessed with every abundance. Don’t give up.

AR Jung’s advice for fellow writers