Interview with T.L. Bodine and Tagestraum!

Today I’m interviewing author T.L. Bodine. First let’s take a look at her latest book: Tagestraum.

Working as a child welfare agent, Adrian has seen a lot of disturbing things. Nathaniel Weaver isn’t the first kid in the city who’s ever gone missing, but his disappearance haunts Adrian in a way he cannot entirely explain. Maybe it’s because the child looks so eerily similar to himself. Maybe it’s the drawing that Nathaniel gave to him the last time they met: a cloaked nightmarish figure that Adrian recognizes from his own dreams.

When Adrian returns once more to the scene of the disappearance, he finds a doorway leading to another world: Tagestraum, a bizarre and often treacherous faerie realm powered by human dreams. The world itself threatens the safety and sanity of any human that crosses into it, and several of its denizens are eager to harvest errant humans for a little raw energy.

Adrian knows that he’s the only person who can find Nathaniel – but to do it, he must battle both dangerous inhabitants and his own worst nightmares, and each night that passes brings Adrian closer to losing himself completely.

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1.     So much of your writing has a fairy-tale element. What fairy tales captivated you as a child, and now?

When I was maybe six or seven, my grandmother gave me a book of fairytales that were broken out into days — 365 sections, each one meant to be read at bedtime throughout the year.  These were the original Grimm’s stories, and I was completely fascinated by the violence and death in them compared to the Disney movies I’d seen.  The one that really stuck with me was Cinderella, when the step sisters are cutting off parts of their foot to fit in the slipper.  I just remember reading it and thinking, “Wow, they definitely left that part out of the movie.  This is so much cooler!” (I was kind of a weird kid lol)

In college, I read The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, and it was kind of a transformative experience.  I knew right then that I wanted to revisit some of those stories from my childhood and try seeing them in a new way.

2.     What do you find the biggest differences are between writing fiction and web content?

They’re almost like apples and oranges.  When you’re writing for the web, you’re giving somebody exactly what they want.  Your number one job is figuring exactly what they’re looking for and delivering it to them.  You spend a lot of time researching and creatively reorganizing information into an effective or accessible format, but everything you need already exists — you’re just packaging it differently.   With fiction, you’re creating things as you go, and you have to go slowly enough to figure out what you’re trying to say.  I can write 10k a day easy for my “day job”, but if I get a thousand words out on a novel it’s a very good day.

3.     If one song out there could define your book, what would it be?

Is it cheating to use a poem?  Because I’d totally say “The Stolen Child” by W.B. Yeats.  Some people have done musical arrangements of it, so it totally counts right?

4.     If you met your main character at a bar, how would you interact?

Well first off I’d be pretty concerned because he’s not a drinker.  He watched both of his parents drink entirely too much and ruin a large chunk of his childhood because of it.  He toyed with drinking socially in college and realized he couldn’t control himself around it, so he’s never been back since.

But I’d buy him a Shirley Temple or something — dude’s earned it– and try to get him to open up.   Sure, I have the unfair advantage of knowing him better than he knows me, but I’m sure there’s things he hasn’t told me yet and I’d love to know them.

5.     If you could live in any literary universe, which would it be?

I’d be perfectly content with a Hogwarts acceptance letter 🙂

6.     Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A bit of both.  Writing for me is kind of like driving on the highway at night.  You know pretty much where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, but at any given time all you can see is what’s right in front of you, and sometimes things jump out at you from nowhere.  Only difference is that writing, the unexpected bits are usually good.

7.     How has writing changed your life?

I’ve been making up stories since I can remember, and writing them down since I was about 8, so it’s been a huge part of making me who I am now.  There’s kind of an old cliche about writing as therapy, but I think there’s a lot of truth to it.  Obviously the number one thing you want to do when you write a book is to try and tell a good story.  But underneath that, you’re also working out problems — trying to figure out how the world works, and why, and whether that’s a good thing.  So I think writing can give you a lot of self-awareness in that respect, and it’s something I turn to for comfort in those situations where answers aren’t always easy to find.

8.     What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Read widely.  Write all the time.  But don’t forget to go outside and live, too.  Every experience you have will enrich your writing, and you owe it to yourself to gather as many of those experiences as you possibly can.  Sitting alone in front of a typewriter is a romantic image, maybe, but it’s not what’s going to make you a better writer.
About the Author
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T.L. Bodine is a fantasy author, web content writer and fly-by-night video game writer.  Most recently, she’s collaborated with Ginger Goat on the anthology “Trust Me,” about dolls who sometimes tell lies, and her work can be seen in the newly released Holdfast gamebook from Black Chicken Studios.  She has three books in print: Tagestraum, Nezumi’s Children, and The Beast in the Bedchamber.
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Interview with @jamie_grey and The Star Thief!

Today I get to interview author Jamie Grey. First let’s check out her book, The Star Thief. Does this not look SO awesome?

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She might only be twenty-three, but Renna Carrizal is the most notorious thief in the galaxy. There’s just one problem – all she wants is to get the frak out of the business.  But when Renna rescues an injured boy from the warehouse she’s casing, she finds herself on the run from the mob instead of enjoying retirement on a garden world. Turns out, the kid was a plant to lead her to MYTH, a top-secret galactic protection agency. MYTH needs Renna’s special skills, and they make her an offer she can’t refuse – unless she’d like to spend the rest of her life on a prison ship. To make sure she does her job they shackle her with a MYTH watchdog, the handsome but arrogant Captain Finn. A former mercenary-turned-galactic-hero, Finn happens to have his own dirty secrets. Secrets that Renna wouldn’t mind uncovering for herself. Together, they discover an experiment to develop illegal cybernetics that will create an unstoppable army. The intended target? The human star fleet. Now Renna must use her skills as the Star Thief to pull off the biggest job of her career – saving the galaxy. And herself.

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The Interview

1.    The Star Thief is about the biggest of Cons—Galactic sized. What inspired you to write about it?

I’d been looking for a good sci-fi romance and I’d read quite a few that I liked but none of them were exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a female Han Solo type, with ambiguous morals and a hear of gold. And a steamy romance. So, I wrote one!

2.     The cover is GORGEOUS. What was your process in obtaining it?

I actually don’t remember how I found my artist’s site – I think I might have been trolling forums looking for cover designers. When I saw her site, I just knew she’d come up with something perfect for me! I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to begin with, so we went back and forth on a few concepts until we found the perfect art. She blew me away with her final design! I’m working on the sequel’s cover now with her, and SO excited for everyone to see it! (Her name is Christa at paperandsage.com)

3.     If one song out there could define your book, what would it be?

Ohhh. Tough question! There are quite a few that would work. I basically wrote the entire book to the soundtrack to the Mass Effect video games. But I think if I had to pick one, I’d probably say All Along the Watchtower, by Jimi Hendrix. The lyrics themselves are perfect -“There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief” and it was part of one of my favorite sci-fi TV series – Battlestar Galactica!

4.     If you met your main character at a bar, how would you interact?

I think I’d be totally intimidated by Renna. She’s gorgeous, charming, and self confident. But I think once we started talking, we’d get along pretty well. I think we both have a sarcastic sense of humor and similar outlook on life. (Which may or may not be a good thing LOL)

5.     If you could live in any literary universe, which would it be?

How to choose just one!? I think i’d have to go with Narnia. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe series was my favorite growing up, and they’re still comfort reads today, so getting to live in Narnia would be amazing!

6.     Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A little bit of both? I have to have a plot/outline to frame up my book, otherwise I get completely stuck when I’m drafting. But I totally pants when I’m filling in the details. As long as I have the outer structure built, I can go in pretty much any direction with the rest of the story.

7.     How has writing changed your life?

I’ve always written, so it’s just become an essential part of who I am and my identity. I think being a writer lets me look at things a little differently than from non-writers – I sometimes watch real life events like they’re happening in a story, analyzing them for plot and drama, or if it would make an interesting scene. Not always a good thing when something horrible is going on, but it’s definitely an interesting way to look at the world.

8.     What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Most of it’s tried and true – Write what you love and would like to read. Write what interests you. Don’t edit until you have a complete draft (tho I know people who can work this way, I can’t!). Find a good support system – writing friends, critique partners, etc and let them help you grow as a writer, but stay true to your story and vision. Most of all, have fun with it. The moment you stop having fun, is the moment you should stop writing.

Thanks so much for having me on! This was such fun 🙂

 

Find out more about Jamie Grey:

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FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/jamiegreybooks?ref=hl

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Jamie_Grey

BLOG: http://www.jamiegreybooks.com/

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19146092-the-star-thief

Get The Star Thief:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

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Interview With Author Meredith Towbin @Mtprose and Her Novel Straightjacket

Today I have the pleasure of hosting Meredith Towbin, author of STRAIGHTJACKET.

The Book:

Eighteen-year-old Anna has lived her whole life in shame, losing herself in books to cope with crippling panic attacks triggered by her abusive parents. Forced into a psychiatric hospital, she can’t imagine a future that’s anything but bleak—until she meets Caleb, a gifted, 19-year-old artist who insists he’s an angel.

He swears his mission is to help Anna break free from her parents’ control and fulfill a destiny that she can only dream of. The doctors, however, are convinced that Caleb is delusional.

Anna doesn’t want to be that girl who’s in love with the crazy guy, but when she sees his stunning portraits of her and the way he risks everything to keep her safe, she can’t help but imagine a new future for both of them, filled with hope. But just when it seems they’ve created heaven on earth, Caleb’s past emerges full force, threatening to destroy their tiny, blissful world. And Anna has to decide if she should follow her heart, or if Caleb’s really as troubled as his doctors say…

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This was the kind of book that really surprised me. It took a completely different turn than I thought it was going to, which is so, so refreshing in today’s world. Here are her answers to my burning questions.

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 What was your inspiration for Straightjacket, and how did you work to make it stand out from other angel books?

I’ve always been fascinated by psychology (I took a ton of psych classes in college). I knew I wanted the setting for my book to be in a psychiatric hospital just because they kind of scare me and intrigue me at the same time.

As I was creating my characters, I needed to come up with a reason as to why they might be there. Depression/suicidal tendencies is definitely one reason (for Anna), but I wanted something super weird for my other character. I mean, why be normal when you can be super weird, right? After mulling it over for a while, I came up with the idea that Caleb would be delusional and think he was an angel.

It wasn’t  my intention to write a paranormal novel, like a lot of the other angel books out there. Caleb might be an angel, and he might not – he’s either completely delusional like his doctor says or supernatural. There’s doubt there, and I think most angel books make the reader suspend disbelief and accept that in the world of the book, angels definitely exist.

What was the single hardest scene to write in the book?

The sex scene, by far! Writing a sex scene, especially for YA, is very difficult, at least for me. I wanted it to be realistic, sweet, overwhelming, but still appropriate. I remember sitting in the Barnes & Noble café writing it, and even though no one knew what I was doing, I still turned 15 shades of red.

 If one song out there could define your book, what would it be?

Funny you ask because there was one particular song that hugely inspired the book. Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Follow You into the Dark” was it. I love that song, and I would listen to it and think that I really wanted to write a book about two people that love each other so much that if one of them died, the other one would die too just so they wouldn’t have to go it alone.

 If you met your main character at a bar, how would you interact?

If I met Anna at a bar, she probably wouldn’t talk to me. She’d plant herself in a corner and look as inconspicuous as possible. If I met Caleb there, I’d be the one not talking to him because I’d be intimidated by his coolness. And if he happened to come up and talk to me, I’d be a blubbering idiot.

 If you could live in any literary universe, which would it be?

I absolutely loved the Wicked series by Gregory Macguire. Oz is definitely not the happy-go-lucky place out of The Wizard of Oz, but even so it’s magical and full of amazing characters that I would love to get to know.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?

In real life I am a major organizer – it’s all about lists and calendars and putting things in places they belong. I have a minor (ok, major) obsession with The Container Store. So I figured when I went to write a book, I’d of course outline everything and know exactly where things were going.

I used my outline for the first chapter and then went totally off the rails. I realized that I’m a pantser when it comes to writing. I might know what will happen two or three chapters ahead, but it can always change. I think it keeps it fresher for me, like I’m reading along with it even though I’m the one doing the writing.

How has writing changed your life?

It was always my dream to write a novel, but for many years, I was too scared of failing to actually try. Now that I’ve gotten up the courage to do it, I really feel like it’s a dream come true, whether or not what I write gets published. Because there are definitely things I’ve written that haven’t gotten published.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Carve out time every day that you devote to writing. There are always a million excuses as to why there’s no time. There’s never a good time. Believe me. Make yourself do it just for an hour. I wrote STRAIGHTJACKET in one-hour increments. Five months later I had a book. You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish if you just make it a priority.

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Find more about STRAIGHTJACKET & Meredith Towbin here:

 

Amazon

Goodreads

Barnes & Noble

www.meredithtowbin.com