Caylee: Hey, Sydney! Welcome to the staff interview series. First question: What is your writing journey? Why did you start writing and what are you future writing aspirations?

Sydney: My writing journey started in fourth grade during all the preparations for the old FCAT writing test. My teacher would give us different writing prompts every week, and after a few weeks, I started to ask for prompts every other day and would crank out essay after essay. I liked adding a twist of creativity to the overall bland template taught in schools. But what made me want to pursue writing as a career was reading the Harry Potter series. Being able to connect to characters on a personal level and seeing how J.K. Rowling was able to weave a harmonious plot though seven different novels and enriching it with imagery, dialogue, characters, and symbolism inspired me to pursue writing as more than just a hobby.

Caylee: I remember reading the Harry Potter series for the first time and being similarly just enamored by the wizarding world. Do you continue to read that kind of writing now or do you like other genres? And I know this is a hard question to answer, but what is your favorite book that you’ve read recently?

Sydney: I can’t believe you asked me about my favorite book. I hope you know you’re getting like 3 answers for that. I like to read most genres, but I tend to mostly read fiction, flash fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and the occasional crime/mystery novel. Recently, my favorite book that I’ve read is The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton, but one of my all-time favorites is The Nix by Nathan Hill.

Caylee: I LOVE The Nix. Any kind of writing that has Norse mythology intertwined with reality, especially the ‘60s like Nathan Hill does, is always amazing. Okay, what’s your favorite word?

Sydney: Happiness.

Caylee: You’re so poetic. Also, I admire that you are able to choose a favorite word. I don’t think I could. Now another hard one: what is your spirit animal?

Sydney: I don’t know how to answer this. So naturally, I went on Google. I took several online quizzes to determine my spirit animal, but I didn’t agree with any of the results, so I looked up what spirit animal my personality type is, and I got Slow Loris and I liked it, so my spirit animal is now a Slow Loris. What’s your personality type?

Caylee: INFJ.

Sydney: It says you’re a wolf.

Caylee: I feel more like a Pomeranian.

Sydney: Quite mysterious. Powerful and independent but deeply value the affection of others. Do not open up to everyone and remain hard to read for most people. Value close personal relationships and deep connections.

Caylee: Wow. That’s intense. I feel like this website knows me. Okay, getting back on track: what is the best writing advice you’ve received?

Sydney: Best piece of writing advice I have ever gotten was to write every single day, whether it be 20 pages or 20 words. All that matters is you sit your ass in the chair and write.

Caylee: That is such great advice. Thank you for sitting down with me today, Sydney.