Scott Marlowe, fantasy author

Scott Marlowe

Author of the Alchemancer and Assassin Without a Name fantasy series

Author Interview: Tanya J. Peterson

This time around I've got Tanya J. Peterson, author of Leave of Absence, in the interview chair. Let's take a look at what she has to say.


1. Please tell us about yourself.

Hmmm… Where to start? This is perhaps the most difficult question of this interview! I don’t feel overly comfortable talking about myself, and in verbal conversations, while I don’t blatantly ignore people when they ask personal questions (that would be quite rude!) I usually catch myself steering the conversation away from myself. Given that you and your readers are actually interested in knowing something about the authors you’re interviewing, though, I probably shouldn’t avoid this question! (For the record, I am very happy to answer these questions. I’m excited to connect with readers, so thank you so much for doing this, Scott!)

It’s probably obvious by now that I’m a bit of an introvert. I’m an active one, though. I love the outdoors, especially hiking, camping (tent, of course), kayaking, biking (mountain and street), and snowshoeing. I love these for the peaceful feeling they bring. I enjoy them in solitude and with my family – my husband and two kids, age 16 and 11. I also love quiet family evenings at home, playing board games, reading, and watching movies.

Beyond that, I’ve been a high school teacher and a counselor. Most recently, I worked at a school for homeless and runaway adolescents. What a fantastic bunch of students! I was amazed by them every day: the challenges they faced and the steps they had to take to get an education to make a better life for themselves was very inspirational. I’ve also volunteered in various settings as a counselor to help people help themselves.

I have a passion for helping people find emotional well-being and for helping people thrive while struggling with mental illness. Perhaps I feel so strongly about it because I have a somewhat unique (but I seriously doubt that I’m the only person on the planet with this particular combination of experiences) background that I bring to my writing. I’ve experienced mental illness from both sides of the proverbial couch. After sustaining a traumatic brain injury in a car accident in 2004 plus two subsequent concussions, I was in and out of a behavioral health hospital across a period of five years. I dealt with multiple mental health diagnoses. While I’m better today (proof that things, no matter how bad they are at the time, do improve), I do still have lingering effects. No one is “cured” of mental illness, but people can get better.

So therein lies the focus of my writing. One of the most difficult things that I faced was the stigma associated with mental illness. I feel strongly that if people understand what various mental illnesses really are (and they’re all different), then people can empathize. Stereotypes need to be eradicated. Understanding and empathy breed compassion and connection. For me, the best way to do this is through novels. There are many wonderful non-fiction books on mental illness and mental health that do a fabulous job of explaining such things. I want to show the human side (as opposed to the clinical aspect) of mental health issues, though, so I write novels.

2. What's the name of your newest or latest book and what's it about?

My newest book is entitled Leave of Absence. It’s about an utterly bereft man, Oliver Graham, who absolutely cannot cope with the traumatic loss of his wife and young son. He is lonely for them, and he blames himself for their deaths. (He kind of has a reason to blame himself, but not entirely so. I wonder if readers will blame him!) After a failed suicide attempt, he ends up at Airhaven Behavioral Health Center where he meets Penelope Baker, a fellow patient wrestling with schizophrenia and the devastating impact it’s had on her life. Penelope is engaged, but she doesn’t think it’s fair to her fiancé William to continue the engagement because certainly she’s no longer loveable. Both Oliver and Penelope struggle to discover a reason to live while William strives to convince her that they can make a life together despite her illness. As Oliver and Penelope try to achieve emotional stability, face others who have been part of their lives, and function in the “real world,” they discover that human connection may be reason enough to go on.

3. Is this book part of a series or standalone?

This book stands alone. I do intend to write may more novels that address mental health issues, but they’ll all be independent of each other.

4. How long have you been writing?

Officially, I’m just beginning my career as a novelist. Last year, I published a young adult novel (entitled Losing Elizabeth). I actually wrote it years ago, however. I published it because I wanted to bring awareness to the impacts of abusive relationships and because I needed a tool to figure out this wild world of professional writing and publishing. I’ve learned much, including the fact that I absolutely love writing novels and that I want to continue to do so for a long time.

Unofficially, I’ve been writing for most of my life. My parents have a picture of me at age three putting magnetic letters on a metal writing board. I remember writing a story in second grade about animals in nature. I worked on it every spare minute I had. No one ever knew about it, though, because I was too afraid of ridicule to share it with anyone. I tried writing a play for a contest in eighth grade, and my language arts teacher actually selected it for submission. However, I’m not a playwright at all and don’t ever intend to be (kudos to those who can do it!). I doubt it even made it past the first round of whatever contest it was. For a long time, I was content to write papers for school, both creative works and formal research-type papers. In high school, college, and, later, graduate school, I was one of those weird people who loved papers and essay tests. Now, I’d much rather write novels!

5. From where or whom do you draw inspiration?

I draw inspiration from life and my various experiences. Leave of Absence is completely fiction, as is Losing Elizabeth. However, in both my professional and personal life, I’ve seen pain and triumph. I feel connected to people and the experiences they have, and I want to write in a way that (hopefully) causes others to feel that, too.

6. What advice would you give new or aspiring writers?

Definitely, write what you’re passionate about. Find what inspires you, and use your spark to ignite a fire. Don’t try to be the “next” anybody. Be the first you. No matter your genre of choice, your enthusiasm for your area will add depth to your stories.

Also, believe in yourself. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but from age seven (or whatever age I was in second grade) through adulthood, I was too afraid of failure to really follow my dreams. Who knows where I’d be today if I’d taken the risk long ago? That said, I have no regrets, for my life experience has brought a richness to my writing that otherwise wouldn’t be there. I’m only in my forties. It’s never too late to begin anything!

7. Who do you see as your ideal reader?

I’m hoping that people struggling with mental illness will find out about my book and read it. I’d like them to feel that they’re not alone. I also hope that caregivers, friends, and family members of those suffering from mental illness will enjoy Leave of Absence. I think they’ll be able to relate to William.

This may be a lofty goal, but I can see this being read and discussed in psychology classes and counselor-education programs. In such classes, my teachers/professors often had us read things other than textbooks to increase our understanding. I wrote Leave of Absence to help eradicate stereotypes and to really show what schizophrenia, complicated mourning, depression, and loss are like – not the clinical definitions, but what they feel like. This could help psychology students understand mental illness on a personal level and allow counseling students to discuss treatment approaches.

Of course, Leave of Absence is general contemporary fiction. I’m hoping that anyone looking for an emotional, character-driven story will give it a try!

8. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a planner or outliner?

For me, novel writing is most definitely a process! I need to have a general feel for the story: first and foremost, who is it about and what are his/her struggles? Next, I think, “Okay. So what?” I need to be able to answer that question so my story has a purpose rather than just stumbling on from one scene to the next. Before I begin writing, I need to know, generally, where the story is going to end up. That’s not to say that I have the exact ending and every single scene planned before I begin. No way! Writing is too complex for that. The story evolves continually as I write it, so I don’t know exactly how it will end up, but I do know the general direction in which it is going.

I have a confession: I absolutely love binders. I use them for everything, including writing novels. Those colorful divider tabs are really fun, and I have sections for all sorts of notes and thoughts: the general outline, specific chapter outlines, characterization, research notes, general ideas – things like that. I’m constantly adding to it and referring to it as I write. And throughout the writing process, I’m always assessing where I’ve been and where I want to go. Good novels are “tight,” intentional. There should be a logical connection between events, and every conversation, every detail should have a greater purpose. For me, there’s no way to achieve that other than through planning with lots of room for creative flow and adjustment. (Maybe that’s partially my love of writing papers and essays in school coming out!)

9. Are you a "write every day of the week" sort of writer or do you take days off?

I love to write, and ideally while writing a novel write every single day. Sometimes that’s not realistic given all the other demands of life, but I write almost every day. I do my best work in the morning. When I was writing Leave of Absence, I’d get up at least by 5:00 and get a few uninterrupted hours of writing in before the hectic activities of the day began. I get into a flow when I write; it’s good for my well-being, so I try to do it daily.

10. What are your thoughts on writers paying for reviews as John Locke is reported to have done?

It depends. There are some professional review services that do charge a fee. The fee is for a guaranteed honest review, though, not for a guaranteed glowing review. Money spent on these does not mean that a writer is buying a good review. Sometimes writers end up paying for a review that ends up being horrible.

Paying for a professional service without guaranteed results is okay. However, paying readers to give good reviews is, in my opinion, a really bad thing to do. It’s dishonest, for one thing. When someone reads reviews to decide if he/she wants to purchase a book, it’s unethical if those reviews are skewed. And, equally poor is the fact that I think it discredits the writer. When people read my reviews, I want them to know that all of the reviews are authentic. If someone happens to give Leave of Absence a good review, it’s because they genuinely liked the book, not because I paid them to give praise. Additionally, bad reviews, while I don’t love them of course, are helpful. They provide feedback that I can use to improve my next novels.

Bottom line: I would no more buy a good review than I would have bought an “A” on a paper in school.

11. Any pets? If so, tell us what role they play in your writing, if any.

My daughter has a chinchilla, and my son has a Russian tortoise. I love these little creatures, but they don’t have a role in my writing.

There is a stray cat that hangs out occasionally under our porch. My son named him Johixilan (I don’t know why). He has a cameo appearance in Leave of Absence!

12. Assuming you have an active blog, point readers to a post of which you're especially proud or think will be of particular interest to them.

I do have an active blog; however, it is just getting off the ground and only has a few posts. I’d love visitors and comments. It’s on my website: www.tanyajpeterson.com/blog. It’s a mental-health-related blog that incorporates discussions of Leave of Absence as well as other thoughts and musings. It’s a work in progress, and I only hope that it evolves into a place that people enjoy.

13. I made some predictions for the ePublishing industry for 2013 (http://www.scottmarlowe.com/post/ePub...). Do you think any of them will come true?

I think you have good insight into publishing trends. I can see amazon continuing to attempt to crush all competition and to hurt many authors in the process. I also believe that the Big 6 of the traditional publishing industry is scrambling to keep up with the changing times. They are rather reactionary, and I can see them lowering their prices to stay relevant. Interesting that here they’re watching the indie “industry” and following its trends. Regarding the end to the indie boom that you predict, I agree that this will begin to occur for the very reasons you articulate: after trying it, many writers may realize that it’s not for them because ROI (return on investment) is minimal if it even exists at all. While the “boom” may come to an end, though, I don’t think that indie publishing in general is at an end. On the contrary, I think it’s going to increase and that the quality is only going to increase with it. For people who truly want to continue to write professionally, the independent path can be a great way to go. I agonized for quite some time about whether I wanted to pursue the traditional publishing route or the independent route. There are pros and cons to each, but after talking to many different people (traditionally published authors, indie authors, and even agents) and doing a lot of reading about both paths, I purposely chose to go the indie route. I think others have done the same and will continue to do so. So perhaps while the days of anyone throwing any type of book, no matter the quality, will come to an end, the rise of the serious, established indie author is beginning to take place.

14. Which retailers or others sites can readers find your work at?

Thanks for asking! Right now Leave of Absence is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com., and powells.com. It’s also available in small bookstores in Oregon. Of course it’s available in electronic form, too, and is available for the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iReader. Readers with these devices can buy it the way they buy other books for their e-readers.

15. Where can readers find out more about you?

I have a website and a blog: www.tanyajpeterson.com. I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tanyajpeterson and Twitter at www.twitter.com/tanyajpeterson1 (or @tanyajpeterson1). Technically, I do have a Pinterest account (www.pinterest.com/tanyajpeterson), but shamefully, that one’s pretty empty right now because I’m still figuring out what to do on it. I have little talent when it comes to anything visual, so a site that is entirely visual scares me a bit.

I love it when people visit any of my sites, and I especially love it when people leave comments or questions. I like it when conversations happen, so I’m really hoping that my sites will grow into communities where people visit and talk about things.


TanyaPetersonTanya J. Peterson holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education, Master of Science in counseling, and is a Nationally Certified Counselor.  She has been a teacher and a counselor in various settings, including a traditional high school and an alternative school for homeless and runaway adolescents, and she has volunteered her services in both schools and communities.  She draws on her life experience as well as her education to write stories about the emotional aspect of the human condition.  She has published Losing Elizabeth, a young adult novel about an abusive relationship, Challenge!, a short story about a person who finds the confidence to overcome criticism and achieve a goal, and a book review of Linley and Joseph’s Positive Therapy: A Meta-Theory for Positive Psychological Practice that appeared in Counseling Today, the national publication of the American Counseling Association.

Author Interview: TL Rese

This week I visit with TL Rese, author of Spirit of a Kyrie to be released later this year. Let's see what she has to say.


1. Please tell us about yourself.

I was born in Texas, but soon after, we moved to Iowa then Maryland. My family moved around a lot when I was a kid. We finally settled in Upstate NY when I was seven. Afterwards, I went to college in California, and I did my graduate studies in England, because I absolutely love British literature. UK authors – from J.R.R. Tolkien to C.S. Lewis to J.K. Rowling – have had a tremendous impact on me and my writing. I stayed in England for about seven years and only recently returned to California. So yes, I've been to a lot of places. I love to travel, and I think that's reflected in my writing; my characters are always travelling somewhere, discovering new things, meeting new people, and having their own personal adventures along the way.

2. What's the name of your newest or latest book and what's it about?

My most recent novel is Spirit of a Kyrie. It can be classified as epic fantasy or science fantasy. It's set on a grand scale with magnificent landscapes and detailed worldbuilding. However, at the heart of it, it's a pretty simple story. It's just about a young girl's quest to become a kyrie knight. In order to achieve this, she leaves behind everything she's ever known and journeys across her world, meeting new friends and making new discoveries about herself. It has those elements of travel and adventure that I mentioned earlier, but it's also a celebration of courage, perseverance, determination, talent, skill – all those things that one needs in order to fulfill a dream.

Spirit of a Kyrie will be published later this year, so feel free to check my blog or sign up to the mailing list to be notified when it's released.

3. Is this book part of a series or standalone?

This novel is both. I plan for it to be part of a 7-book series, but each book in the series is a standalone. The books can be read in any order, but your experience of the books will be different depending on the order you read them.

4. How long have you been writing?

Since I could hold a crayon.

5. From where or whom do you draw inspiration?

I've probably been influenced by every writer that I've ever read. I've always been especially drawn to fantasy literature, even as a child – I couldn't get enough – so there's something innate to it, I guess. Later on, the Lord of the Rings films had a powerful effect on me. It was the movies that brought the books to my attention, and to be honest, it was Peter Jackson's interpretation of Middle Earth on the big screen that really inspired me to do my own epic worldbuilding. I definitely get a lot of ideas from movies and television, and I think you can see that in my writing; there's a very cinematic feel to my works.

I'm also inspired by many elements of reality – such as history or real-world landscapes, as well as just normal day-to-day living, something that I might see while walking down the street or running an errand. Anything can be potentially inspiring, so I try to keep my mind open and my eyes peeled.

6. What advice would you give new or aspiring writers?

Don't give up. As hard as it is to keep going, if you give up, you will never make it. If you're serious about being a career writer, then you must keep writing. If your work gets rejected or gets bad reviews, then move on and write the next one. Writing is like any other skill: innate talent is useless without practice. Keep writing, keep practicing, and you will get better.

I would also say: do not publish your first novel. I'm sure there are great first novels floating around out there, but it's more likely that your first novel is not your best because it is your first and you haven't had much of a chance to practice your craft yet. As tempting as it is nowadays to push that “self-publish” button and see your first novel launched into cyberspace, once it is in the hands of others, you cannot snatch it back. Do not do it!! Write two or three more novels, plus some short stories or novellas if you like, get feedback (friends and family do not count), develop a skin as thick as armor to protect you from the criticisms and rejections (remember that praise is nice, but criticism is like bitter medicine), consider the points your critics have made and edit accordingly, then edit some more, then edit it again... Once you have done all this, go back to your first novel. Chances are, only then will you see how awful your first novel truly was and be thankful you never published it.

“Making it” as a writer is a lifelong journey and a big commitment. You only have one life: what do you want to do with it? If you're certain your answer is “to be a writer”, then do it. Go all in and don't look back. The journey will not be a bed of roses, but then the greatest adventures never are.

7. Who do you see as your ideal reader?

Someone who's a fan of epic fantasy, who especially enjoys the worldbuilding aspects, and who likes action sequences and strong female protagonists; also, someone who's looking for more than just the typical good vs. evil narrative, who appreciates more complex, ambivalent stories, and who enjoys descriptive passages.

8. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a planner or outliner?

I'm an obsessive outliner. I have reams of notes stacked on my bookshelf and sitting on my hard drive. I jot down these notes whenever I get an idea, so they accumulate over time. Before I write the story, I sit down and organize all these notes into an extensive multi-page outline. One of my mottos is “Write the story before writing the story” – i.e. I write the entire story in outline form, and then I write the story in its intended form. Then I edit, edit, edit, edit…

9. What are your thoughts on writers paying for reviews as John Locke is reported to have done?

I don't think writers should ever pay for reviews. If you pay money for a review, you become a customer, and those who're selling their reviews will not write a poor review, as it's bad for business. The whole review system then becomes damaged and pointless.

There's been so much recent scandal involving the review system that no one trusts good reviews anymore. I understand the temptation to just buy some good reviews or to get a few friends and family members to post up glowing remarks – it's a quick and easy solution. Moreover, it's not just indie authors like John Locke who're rigging the review system; I know traditionally published authors who've herded friends and family onto their Amazon review page, as well. However, when everyone starts tampering with reviews and it becomes a trend, then there will inevitably be blowback like Amazon's recent purge of reviews.

Reviews should come from honest, reliable, unbiased sources. These are harder to get. Professional reviewers are swamped with requests; most may never reply because they don't have the time. I sent out 70 (not an exaggeration) review requests and only two reviewers reviewed my novelette, Ingress. It's like the agent-querying process all over again, sending out request after request with only a few who reply with interest. But writing is a long-term game. Trying to fix the system in your favor may help in the short-term, but in the long run, it'll only damage your credibility and readers won't come back. Don't think no one will find out, because they will! Amazon will wind up purging your reviews, or readers will become suspicious of a bad book with numerous 5-star reviews. Even in the fast-paced new world of push-button publishing, there are still no short cuts to establishing yourself as a writer. Go slow, hone your writing, get honest reviews, build credibility, and over time, you will establish a good reputation and readers will know they can trust you.

10. Where can readers find your work?

My work is available from most major e-retailers, such as Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble. I'm giving away my novelette, Ingress, as a free sample; you can find it on your preferred e-reading device, or go to Smashwords and select the format that you want to download.

11. Where can readers find out more about you?

I have a blog that I will update more frequently once my novel revisions are completed. I'm also very active on Twitter.


Image of T.L. Rese

T.L. Rese is the pen name for Theresa Lee. She was born in Houston, TX (1982 - ). When she was seven, her family moved to Upstate NY, where she grew up before moving to California when she was eighteen. Specializing in epic fantasy, she now has a PhD in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway, University of London, and a BA in English from UC Berkeley. Her hobbies include travel, photography, piano, and horseback riding.

 


Find out when the next Alchemancer book and other stories come out by joining my mailing list!

Author Interview: Tracy Falbe

Tracy Falbe returns to the blog as this week's featured interviewee. Tracy is the author of the Rys Rising series of fantasy novels. Back in December 2012, I participated in her blog tour for the release of Love Lost, the fourth and final novel in the Rys Rising series, so it's great having her back for another post.

Let's see what Tracy has to say.


1. Please tell us about yourself.

Obviously I’m a novelist. If I couldn’t say that about myself I would despair. I’d like to say I have some other fascinating career like safari guide, but writing is what I’ve always wanted to do. Any job I ever had was just a paycheck. Building my publishing company and writing are what define me professionally and I’m so happy to be doing that.

Aside from that I’m very into the local food movement. I support local growers through direct relationships whenever I can, and I am working toward making my yard as productive as possible. I have 10 young fruit trees planted along with grapes, kiwis, and raspberries. I also grow vegetables and brought in 300 pounds of produce for my family last summer despite the drought and its associated difficulties. I use natural growing techniques and follow permaculture principles.

Other things I enjoy are dogs, cats, boating, swimming, bicycling, and fantasy and sci fi. Although I spend much of my creative energy on fiction, my reading has a big nonfiction focus. I’m also an absolute junkie for documentary films. I learn so much from them.

2. What’s the name of your newest or latest book and what’s it about?

My most recent novel is Love Lost: Rys Rising Book IV. Love Lost brings together all the story lines of the Rys Rising series and chronicles a great war between the magical races of the rys and tabre and the humans of two civilizations that serve them. It’s an epic about lust for power and desperate courage in the defense of the ones you love.

3. Is this book part of a series or standalone?

Love Lost is the fourth and final book of the Rys Rising series.

4. How long have you been writing?

Not counting my writing as a child and teenager, of which I did a lot, I’ve been writing seriously as an adult since 1997 when I began my first novel Union of Renegades.

5. From where and whom do you draw inspiration?

Everything inspires me. Anything I read or see or experience goes into the toolbox. I’m very observant of people and sensitive to the emotions they project. To try and be specific I am inspired by the natural world, history, social sciences, and mythology. The past few years I’ve been studying Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung. The first big influence on my writing was Frank Herbert. I liked the scope of the galactic empire and the huge multi-character point of view he created for his Dune novels. I read Dune when I was about 12, and I was delighted with all the shifting points of view and how they were woven into a complex society driven by religious politics.

6. What advice would give new or aspiring writers?

I never know how to answer that question because I don’t want to presume to tell someone how to write. There is no correct way aside from the basic technical requirements of spelling and grammar. I can say what works for me is to try and write daily. This will develop your ability to focus and tap into your subconscious. Also when looking over your work and editing, always ask yourself if other people would be able to comprehend what you’re saying. Although you can’t reach everyone and not everyone will be able to understand, your goal remains communication.

7. Who do you see as your ideal reader?

You know I’m always reading about how I need to know my niche and know my reader, but I honestly don’t know if there is a profile for my target audience. Women and men like my novels. People younger than me and people older than me have enjoyed my novels. My readers are in various countries and belong to various ethnicities. I guess my ideal reader is someone who likes my novels and is willing to spend money on them.

8. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a planner or outliner?

Well I generally have an idea where I’m going with a novel in my head and then I write towards that goal and see what happens along the way. I’ve never outlined a novel on the macro level, but sometimes I need to make plans on a micro level across one or two chapters if I have a lot of complex action taking place across multiple venues and I have to reveal everything in a sequence that is comprehensible and hopefully exciting. Even when I do plan, I usually end up deviating from my notes a little while actually writing. The thought of planning out a whole novel with an outline and then writing it sounds utterly stifling to me. It’s a novel not a research paper. As characters develop they can make unforeseen demands on the narrative and typically I must accommodate them because it’s their novel.

As for the actual writing I try to write every day unless I’m just too mentally depleted by other things. Even then I might write anyway because I hate the thought of not making progress. After making an initial draft, I go through the novel chapter by chapter and edit and rewrite and edit until I am satisfied. I figured out once that I put about 10 to 16 hours of labor into every chapter through all these stages.

9. What are you thoughts on writers paying for reviews as John Locke is reported to have done?

I suppose it’s understandable behavior that is going to happen. Most any industry pays to generate positive publicity, including reviews. I have chosen not to pay for reviews. I spend my marketing budget on advertising and encourage my readers to give me star ratings and reviews. If paid reviews are a problem, I don’t really care. There’s about a million more problems in the world far more pressing than paid book reviews.

10. Some book reviewers won’t accept independently authored books for review. What are your thoughts on that? Are they missing out?

Of course they are missing out. I’ve read some wonderful indie novels and some big name best-sellers that were insulting to the intelligence or at a minimum boring. Of course both approaches can produce brilliance or crap. There are no absolutes, but for a book reviewer to just issue a blanket ban on a certain form of production is like a restaurant critic never accepting a home cooked meal. The truth is most restaurant food is salty mediocre fare meant to sell drinks, and home cooking from a good cook is wonderful and memorable.

11. Where can readers find your work?

Brave Luck Books

Audible

Smashwords

Amazon Kindle

Barnes & Noble

iTunes

Sony Reader Store

Kobo

12. Where can readers find out more about you?

I invite people to read my blog Her Ladyship’s Quest or browse my Pinterest boards .

Thank you for the great interview.


imageIn 2000, I earned a journalism degree from California State University, Chico with the conscious ambition of becoming a fiction writer. With the rapid demise of the newspaper industry and journalism in general, novelist is not such a daft pursuit after all. It's not like I'm actually going to get a job that values my education. Luckily I'm cursed with the impulse to write in a popular yet competitive genre.

 


Author Interview: Felicia Tatum

This week's interview is with Felicia Tatum, author of The White Aura.


1. Please tell us about yourself.

Hi! I'm 26 years young, the mommy of a little girl and a kitty, and I love books! Writing them, reading them, and even just looking at them :)

2. What's the name of your newest or latest book and what's it about?

The White Aura is a fantasy/paranormal romance about sorcerers. Scott is a sorcerer with a curse on his family. Olivia is his "heart mate" and a mere human...she thinks. He can't meet her until she's almost 18 because of the curse, so he visits her in her dreams.

3. Is this book part of a series or standalone?

It's a series. I'm working on the second book, The Vessel, currently.

4. How long have you been writing?

Since I was twelve. But I did stop for a bit after high school. I got started back last May.

5. From where or whom do you draw inspiration?

I have dreams that guide me in directions of new books. And everyday happenings can bring on so much inspiration!

6. What advice would you give new or aspiring writers?

It's hard and you will think you're awful, but keep writing. Someone, somewhere is going to enjoy it and that is an amazing feeling!

7. Who do you see as your ideal reader?

The paranormal lover. The person that longs for romance. The person that longs for the spark in life to make everything an adventure.

8. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a planner or outliner?

Well...I basically just sit down and type it out. I'm trying outlining on The Vessel, so I'll see if I like it.

9. Are you a "write every day of the week" sort of writer or do you take days off?

I'm in graduate school too, so it's really hard for me to write every day. I'm working on finding that balance. That's my ultimate goal.

10. What are your thoughts on writers paying for reviews as John Locke is reported to have done?

I don't agree with it. It makes the indie authors have to work so much harder.

11. Some book reviewers won't accept independently authored books for review. What are your thoughts on that? Are they missing out?

I think so. I've read some really great indie books...and I'm an indie author, so it's a bit hurtful when someone declines.

12. Some people feel indie authored books are of lesser quality than those that go through the traditional publishers. Do you agree with them? If so, how do we collectively raise the bar and remove this stigmatism?

I think some are...but only if the author doesn't put the time and effort into the book. All books are someone's labor of love, so I think we should all support and help each other as much as possible. If I find errors, I gently point them out and offer to help. It's what I'd want someone to do for me.

13. Any pets? If so, tell us what role they play in your writing, if any.

I have a cat, Ace, and he LOVES to slide on my laptop in the middle of an important scene...mess everything up...then start purring of course.

14. Where can readers find your work?

On Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and my web site.

15. Where can readers find out more about you?

Via my web site or Facebook page.


Felicia Tatum

Felicia Tatum was born and raised in Tennessee. She always loved reading, and at the age of twelve began writing. Her passion for creating stories grew and in May 2012, she finally wrote her first novel, The White Aura.

She still lives in Tennessee with her daughter and her kitty. She loves cooking and books. Animals are some of her best friends. She watches a lot of Disney channel and often dreams up new book ideas. She's currently writing the second book in the series.


Author Interviews Are Coming

Last week I started getting the word out that I wanted to start conducting author interviews as a regular Wednesday feature. So far the response has been great. I've heard back from people responding via the initial post, from Kindleboards, and from a couple of groups I let know about the deal over on Goodreads. I did this as a slow roll-out because, just in case, I wanted to make sure I didn't get overwhelmed. That plan has worked well as the responses have trickled in at a manageable rate. I am, however, about to expand the scope into some other areas in order to keep interest flowing. At only one interview per week, I've already got enough responses that the next 3 or more months are already booked! This is great and I might consider taking on another day of interviews to help keep them flowing. On the other hand, though, I don't want my blog to turn into interview central, so we'll see.

All that being said, I just wanted to reiterate my desire to interview other authors. Indie or traditional, fiction or non-fiction, any genre. Come one, come all, as they say. Leave a comment below or contact me and we'll get the ball rolling.

And if you're wondering what sort of questions I'm asking, here's a sample:

  1. Who do you see as your ideal reader?
  2. Tell us about your writing process. Are you a planner or outliner?
  3. Are you a "write every day of the week" sort of writer or do you take days off?
  4. Do you think retailer rating/review systems are broken? If so, any suggestions on how to fix them?
  5. R.S. Guthrie wrote a hard-hitting post on reviewers and the veil of anonymity some of them hide behind. Your thoughts on this subject?