Jukebox Time recently got a chance to interview Elizabeth Pridgen in regard to her book Zero Gravity. We got insights into her book, her source of inspiration and much more!
Q. Welcome to Jukebox Time! You have been passionately weaving words together, crafting stories with your unique creativity and skill. Can you share with us the most significant challenges you’ve faced during your writing journey, and how you’ve managed to overcome them?
Some of the most difficult challenges I’ve faced during my writing journey were more so in my personal life – from relatives of mine who have passed away, to attending college during the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep in mind, this was about two years after I published my first two novels, “The Life of David Earl Penning” and “NEVERAFTER”. It was too much to take in at that time, and I just felt very overwhelmed and lost during that time and lacked a lot of motivation. Some things that kept me going were the support of my family and friends through those hardships. In a time when I didn’t believe in myself, I had other people who did. So, I slowly worked on other projects, and in 2021, I started writing “Zero Gravity” after getting inspiration from my graduate-level literature classes as an undergrad in my junior year of college. Seeing other authors, the lives they lived, the stories they shared and how they got their work published was also a motivator and really made me push harder at my work, which is why I’m so proud of all my work. I’m especially proud of “Zero Gravity”, which I wrote after one of the hardest times of my life.
Q. Your books have gained considerable attention, including nominations for prestigious awards like The Next Generation Indie Awards. How has this recognition impacted your approach to writing and your personal life?
I honestly didn’t expect the attention or the nominations at all in my career, let alone this early in it since I was first published at eighteen years old, and I’m twenty-two years old now. But it’s honestly made me so much more appreciative and grateful of being able to get my writing out there for others to read. I’m beyond grateful for the recognition I’ve received for my work during my career as a writer, especially after writing “Zero Gravity”. Whenever I’m writing now – looking back at the recognition “Zero Gravity” has received – it makes me strive to write more and to hopefully be able to reach new goals and heights in my career. Even though I find myself very challenged and somewhat anxious whenever I do write.
Q. Many readers are fascinated by the sources of inspiration for their favorite authors. Can you give us some insights into what inspired you to create the captivating stories and characters in your books?
Some of my biggest inspirations by far have been Rick Riordan, the author of The Percy Jackson series. I’ve especially loved how he crafted such entertaining characters and stories. After reading his books as well as books from others like Kent Haruf’s Plainsong. I’ve also been inspired by Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse – Five, which was one of my favorite books in college. Aside from some of the authors I look up to, another source of inspiration in my personal life was actually my mother. When she was growing up in the Philippines, she read anything she could get her hands on, from the nutrition facts on cereal boxes to even an entire Miriam Webster dictionary. She always loved reading, and passed that love on to me, but I got so fascinated with the art of stories and storytelling I wanted to be a writer.
Q. Balancing work and personal life can be quite challenging. How do you manage to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and what advice would you give to aspiring writers who struggle with this issue?
For me, I try keeping a set time for how many hours I put in at work, then how many hours I put in my personal life. Even after the years I’ve been writing, it’s still a challenge, because I find myself writing less on some days, and more on other days. It really all depends on my personal schedule, from the other jobs I have to sustain myself as a writer, and my personal life. My advice would be to just do the best you can. There are days when I can write about 500 – 750 words, and there are days when I can only write about one sentence or so. I’ve come to accept that, and as writers and just in life in general you are going to have good and bad days. More importantly, it’s a realistic goal for me personally, as well as others, since it doesn’t lead to over-achieving and feeling as if I have to do more than what I’m able to do.
Q. Lastly, maintaining daily motivation can be crucial for any creative individual. What are your personal strategies to stay motivated and inspired during your writing process, and how do you overcome moments of self-doubt or writer’s block?
Daily motivation is definitely something I find myself struggling with at times. Whenever I doubt myself, I reflect back on the struggles I’ve had and remind myself that I can get through with finishing this story or finding some motivation. My advice would be to remind yourself of all that you’ve accomplished, and that writing a story is no easy task. It’s certainly not a process that happens overnight. Those are things I remind myself, since I find myself trying to be an over-achiever and setting up unreasonable goals, and I think that can trigger self-doubt and writer’s doubt for me. So, I would definitely say to keep reasonable goals and to remind yourself that it’s a process that takes a lot of patience, effort and time – much like building a house, you certainly can’t rush it.
About the author: Elizabeth Pridgen is an author from Castalia, North Carolina. At just 18 years old, Pridgen wrote and published “The Life of David Earl Penning”, followed by “NEVERAFTER”. She also wrote and published the acclaimed novel “Zero Gravity”. Pridgen has also been featured in literary magazines such as the award-winning magazine, Atlantis. Her short story “The Gray”, featured in Atlantis, was also an honorable mention for nonfiction for the North Carolina College Media Association. She then graduated with honors from NC State University, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing. Whenever she isn’t writing, she usually spends a lot of time with family and friends, primarily her dogs, Hershey and Daisy.
Order your copy now: Zero Gravity