I’m excited to be interviewing Parker Hankins of Pencils and Pianos today!
We are celebrating the launch of the Christ’s Ready Writers website and blog. Parker and I are both writers for the CRW magazine.
Without further ado, here is the interview! My questions are in bold, his responses are in normal text.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sure! I’m a young writer–aspiring to be a published author–with two finished novels and two soon-to-be-finished novels. I really enjoy reading books and playing the piano. My favorite authors are C. R. Hedgcock and Frank Peretti as big authors but as smaller authors, I have quite a few friends who are writing amazing books. (Like seriously, when they publish, I’m going to be so excited!) Oh, and one of those authors is Amie Woleslagle.
*Amie Woleslagle is the editor of Christ’s Ready Writers.
Who or what started you on your writing journey? When?
Well, I started writing about five years ago, which is when I was ten. I always had a love for stories and reading from the time I could make out the words. As I grew up, I read the Moody books series by Sarah Maxwell and that inspired my first book. (It reached twenty six-page chapters. And all the main characters names started with M’s too.) But then I got ahold of Summer of Suspense by C. R. Hedgcock. From there, I learned she had more books and read as many as I could. At the age of twelve, I knew I wanted to write books similar to hers so I started my first novel. That novel was the beginning of my writing “career”, starting the Bryder Family Mysteries series which is still in the works.
Wow! You’ve definitely been writing longer than I have! Now the next question is, why do you write?
The main reason I write is to be able to share a meaningful story that can change lives in powerful ways. I want lives to transform and further someone’s walk with Christ. Another huge asset to my reasoning in writing is the enjoyment of my own stories. It’s my own creation, and creating is so neat! (A God-given thing really.) And I can enjoy reading back through my writing, no matter if anyone else likes it.
I love that!
I know you play piano. Are there any skills you’ve learned from music that transfer to writing or vice versa?
Actually, there are some skills I’ve learned from my music. When I arrange a hymn, I’m always working on ways to fit the mood of the words and music, build to a beautiful climax, but still keep my listeners interested in the unique styles incorporated. In writing, it’s so important for you to use word choice, descriptions, and actions that enhance the mood of the story. If you do this it will take the story to a much more powerful piece that pulls the reader in quite well. As I mentioned I always build to a climax in my music, the same goes for a story. I understand a climax from music, so incorporating this into my writing was easy–gradually take it to newer levels and increase the power of the story so that it ends amazingly. The use of unique styles in music could be compared to unique characters with unique quirks, personalities, and other things. It helps the story to become like no others.
I was wondering if I had asked a trick question, but that answer makes so much sense! I hadn’t really thought about it before. Some of my favorite songs have climaxes. Now I’ll have to pay more attention when I listen!
If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you do instead?
Well, I guess you can gather that from the other questions, but I would be a musician. (Which I already am.) If I couldn’t do that, I would probably do something with computers.
It wasn’t too hard to guess music, but I’d never have thought computers.
Besides the Baker Family Adventures by C.R. Hedgcock, what other books have influenced your writing and/or life?
Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. The books were so unique, yet so amazing! I really enjoyed the elements he wrote in. (After all, thriller is one of my genres.) I loved how he dealt with difficult issues of the world through a very engaging captivating story.
I don’t think I’ve read those before. I love unique and engaging stories!
What is your favorite Bible verse/passage? What does it mean to you?
Oh, I really like answering this question because I love the verse I’m about to share. Deuteronomy 33:27a. “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:” This verse is such a help for so many things. Often times, I can get to where I wonder why all this is happening, or why I made such bad decisions, or why I had this weakness or that. But this brought me to the reminder that Christ’s arms are under us helping us along. All we really have to do is allow Him to guide us. If we let go, He can take us where ever He wants. And then out weaknesses, problems, bad decisions–none of it is a problem anymore. He holds us in the hands that never tire. They’re everlasting, always there for us.
That is beautiful! There are so many verses in Scripture that talk about God guiding our footsteps and being our refuge.
After all that talk about music, could you share one of your music videos with us?
Sure! I would like to share “It Is Well” which I played–and won–at a talent contest in my area. This is my favorite hymn, so I enjoyed it very much. Cool fact about it: I use every key on the piano.
*applauds* That was amazing!
And finally, can you tell us what you are writing right now?
Of course. I’d love to! Currently, I’m in the works of major edits on my first mystery novel. It’s the beginning of a youth Christian series. It needs an enormous amount of work, being my first real book, but slowly everything is starting to flow. My second novel–also in the series–is about ready for beta readers. My third novel which happens to be in this series too is at standing at thirty-two chapters–which changes every other day–and will go on for another twenty possible. It’s my longest novel yet.
Now for a change. I’m also writing the first draft of a young adult realistic-sci-fi thriller novel–the start of a trilogy. This book is going well, standing at twenty-two chapters but ready to go on. Inspiration for this comes SUPER easily. Big themes of this trilogy will be depression, suicide, loneliness, friendship, and a light clean romance. I feel this holds the most promise for success out of all my books.
Ooh! The YA sci-fi sounds like something I’d read! Good luck with your writing!
Thank you for joining me on my blog today!
Want to find out more about Parker or Christ’s Ready Writers? Then these are the links you are looking for: