Sunday, February 16, 2014

My Interview with Tina Smith

I was able to interview Tina Smith last year about her Wolf Siren series. Now I am interviewing Tina again to get the gossip on the inspiration of her Wolf siren series and what she has coming up this year.

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1.  When naming your characters do you look at their meanings?
Yes, I have definitely googled baby names a few times!
I like to think about all aspects of a name -- the sound, the meaning and the type of character that would have that name. Some characters are so strong that they own the name. Your name says a lot about you and what kind of parents you had. I think names are important and beautiful, and very interesting! I often write down names I hear, that are unusual, for use at a future date.
2.  What was the best book you read in 2013?
I didn’t get a lot of reading done, I read game of Thrones, Song of Fire and Ice. And I read Promise me Darkness, because it was an indie success. I have a few half read books on my Ipad. I have written and released four novel length books in a little over 14 months. I actually developed eye strain and bursitis -- I really pushed myself. My fave book was Colleen Hoover’s Slammed, which I read around Christmas, it was a tear jerker. All of last year I was finishing study for my advanced Diploma of Naturopathy and Western Herbal Medicine, working a job and I am a mum -- I was burning the candle at both ends big time.
3.  What is your favourite part of a book to write?
Sometimes things just flow. In Wolf Sirens the scenes between Cres and Lila just flowed, I got in the zone and the scenes came together well. I loved describing Cres and Lila on the hunt. Cresida’s quirky wardrobe and actions make her a great character to work with.
Anytime I reach a scene that I have been working towards for some time is great. Letting the cat out of the bag, like when Reid grabs Cres and pashes her. It’s like Christmas.
4.  Of the 4 books that are published in the Wolf Siren series which is your favourite?
Book #2 Fever. It’s a guilty indulgence. I love the cover and I relished describing life in Shade for Lila and Cres at that time. It’s all singlet tops, the jeep and hidden guns. The back stories of the pack and all the gritty details were really great to sink my teeth into. It’s close to my heart. I think in general it is the most disliked book in the series, but if you are a true fan of Wolf Sirens you’ll love it as much as I do.  
5.  And which is your least favourite and what would you do to change it?
I couldn’t tell you, they are like my children. They are each their own complete work. I wrote them so quickly and they are still so fresh in my mind that I honestly don’t know. I know what people expected, but I do my own thing. If you like the unexpected plot, I’m your woman. Go in with no expectations. I’ll need more distance to decide if there was anything I would change. I am happy – I try to consider all the angles. I seem like a manic pantser, but I am a deep thinker. I try to have foresight and I write what I want to read, so no regrets.
6.  Who are your target readers?
My genre is Y/A – which features characters from 15 to 18. But basically that means women from 14 to 40 should enjoy it. Young adult has a broad scope, which is good. I’m 30 and I find that women in that age range and below really enjoy the series. We can all relate to an angst ridden teenager or two. Like other series I do turn up the heat level slightly in the later books as well as the pace.
7.  What do you think readers look for in a book?
I think people look for what they can relate to. Like medicine, not every person responds well. We are complex creatures. Mostly we are looking for escape and something to relate to. When a writer writes about feelings that you have experienced we feel less alone. I know from my own experience that being understood and listened to, go a long way to making us feel validated and important. It gives us loners a sense of community.
8.  Do you use real-life stories (your life, a friends life or a piece of news) to inspire your writing?
Yeah, I’m a whore for inspiration. I have a pretty wild imagination (so I have been told) so I can take something and run with it -- probably why I love reality T.V.
9.  What do you find is the easiest part of a book to write?
It’s not an easy thing to do as a whole. There are so many elements. I think for me because I am an emotional person I find it very therapeutic and almost second nature to write about a character’s emotions. The hardest part is when you aren’t 100 percent where to go next. That requires pushing through, leaving it for a while and brain storming. Being a writer is a constant internal battle. I feel like there are different people in my head all arguing the point -- all with different motivation. I take their advice and continue on. Sometimes it flows, sometimes it dries up, you need to recharge. You have to be the perfect mix of robot and emotional wreck to be a writer.
10.      …… And the hardest?
The isolation, though that’s also the best part. I love all the people that my work has brought into my life. I love discussing imaginary characters and arguing over them like they are real, it’s both hilarious and gratifying. To take people on a journey with you is immensely gratifying. It’s a way of being close to people without having to interact. So that’s both a blessing and a curse.
11.      What research did you do to write the Wolf Siren series?
I googled Artemis, read some Greek myth. Wolf Sirens came from inside me, I developed it slowly based on what I felt was lacking. I wrote a hero’s journey based on what I wanted to read. I saw a lack of real, tough women featured in our culture.
Strong female characters with a realistic edge were, and are, lacking in literature and movies. Women aren’t either homemakers or cold warriors; we are everything in between – both strong and vulnerable. The paranormal genre really allowed me a format to present my fantasy. It all goes back to when I was 5, I wanted to be Atreyu in The Never Ending Story. I see a need for strong female role models, particularly for young women. I want books to feature female roles where historically and currently male roles are played -- let’s face it women are more dynamic and interesting.
We need to take the reins in a male dominant environment. It takes confidence to demand respect -- confidence that perhaps can come from having such role models.
12.      With wolves being a popular theme in books (just like vampires) do you think you chose the right theme for your series? Or should you have picked something else to write about?
No, I love wolves. If anything perhaps I should have written about vampires, they seem so overwhelmingly popular. But I felt it had been done and they are so dark. Wolves are lighter, but they still have some grit. I hope wolf themes become more popular. I’m a smart cookie I didn’t choose to spend years of my life on a series that I didn’t think would be in some respects commercially popular. I took a gamble at doing something that revealed my heart and soul, but I looked a bit at the chasm below before I leapt.  
13.      Why should a reader pick up your book over other books about wolves?
Because I am a genius! Only joking. I can’t please everyone, and I didn’t try. If you want a book with depth of emotion and a story that builds, within the paranormal genre, I could suit your taste. It’s a journey. Try a bite. It could be cleverly written. Spend a night with the good the bad and the bitten. Warning: might be contagious, riveting and heart wrenching!
14.      What do you find the hardest part about getting your books out there?
Doing it all myself. So while I should be writing and being my own writer, editor and publisher, I also have to be a manager and marketer and agent. I feel sometimes as though my time is better spent writing, because it can be a huge emotional drain promoting yourself and it takes a lot of time.  But I have learnt a lot and I enjoy social networking, especially with readers.
15.      What can we look forward to in 2014?
I have started a Writers Co-op Anthology group. I have managed to get 9 authors on board and we plan to publish 2 books this year that are filled with paranormal stories. Night Fall is a Young Adult title novel of short stories and Lacing Shadows will be the second book, a New Adult genre Anthology. Both are due for release in in later 2014
I also plan to publish the 5th book in the Wolf Sirens series, Dawn in Shade. The fight picks up pace, there are some steamy reunions and a pretty epic ending.
I would just like to thank Tina for taking the time to do this interview much appreciated.

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