Today I will interviewing the wonderful and talented Tate Hallaway author of The Garnet Lacey and Vampire Princess of St. Paul’s series.
What are you reading now?
I just finished ASCENDANT SUN by Catherine Asaro, which is a very sexy science fiction novel involving slave boys in space. Right now I’m trying to decide what from my TBR pile to start next. I’ve got a mainstream novel called THE TAQWACORES by Michael Muhammad Knight which about the American Islamic punk rock scene. But I usually don’t have a lot of patience for non-speculative stuff, so when I’m tired of that I’ve also got CHILD OF FIRE by Harry Connolly in my backpack.
What’s one of your favorite things to do in your down time?
Play video games with my son -- although we also like to go hiking in the woods when the weather is cooperative.
What is one book or series you can’t live without, yours or other?
Probably the series I couldn’t live without would be JKR’s HARRY POTTER series, which may seem strange, but it’s something that my son and I talk about a lot. Plus, a lot of my grown-up friends and I are still talking about it.
Which of your characters would you be most or least liking to invite or for dinner? And why?
Well, it’s tough to even offer the suggestion of “dinner” to a vampire for fear he might take it the wrong way…. :-). But, I think that I wouldn’t mind hanging out with most of my characters. I really haven’t written anyone too dark yet. The closest might be from the Garnet Lacey series, Teresa, Sebastian’s ex-wife. She’s a bit of a zombie, and, you know, zombies don’t tend to be the best conversationalists.
When did you consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always had a high opinion of myself, so I thought I was a writer long before I was published. I think I probably realized I was serious about it when I finished my first novel after college. It’s a book that hasn’t been published (and I’m not sure it should be), but, you know, I’d gotten to THE END and that seemed like a pretty big deal.
What do you think the best part of writing is?
Making stuff up. I’m one of those writers whose head would explode if I couldn’t write. I have a lot of “people” who share my brain space, and as my friend and fellow writer Kelly McCullough says I’d “leak weirdness” if I didn’t write this stuff down.
And, you know, getting to be a cyborg or a vampire princess for my day-job is pretty f-ing amazing.
Do you read reviews of your books? If so do you pay any attention to them or let them influence your writing?
I do read reviews. I read the good ones and the bad ones. I think that, like most writers, the bad ones affect me most deeply. I have been known to let reviews influence my writing. One of the reviewers on Amazon.com who read my first Garnet Lacey book, TALL, DARK & DEAD thought that I was being anti-Catholic by having the villains be in a fake witch-hunting organization called the Order of Eustace. That was absolutely not my intention and I went to great pains to make it clearer in subsequent books. I don’t know how successful that was, but that’s the sort of criticism I take quite seriously.
When people just think I suck, well, I think you just have to shrug that off. There are plenty of books I’ve read that made me go “meh” at the end or that I actively dislike. You can’t please everyone, as the saying goes.
What was one the most surprising things you’ve learned in/while creating your books?
Writing never gets easier. I write a lot faster now than I did when I first started, but every single book is always a unique challenge. I never seem to be finished learning and honing my craft. I think that’s probably a good thing, but it still surprised me.
How important do you think villains are in a book? Favorite book villain, any book?
I’m a big fan of a good villain. I’m not sure I’ve written a particularly good one, partly because I tend to fall for my bad guys and then try to redeem them. In my first science fiction book the villain was a hacker named Mouse who later became a point of view character in subsequent books and is one of the two heroes in my recent SF novel, RESURRECTION CODE (written as Lyda Morehouse). So, I can’t seem to keep the evil in my villains, and I think that comes from preferring villains who see themselves as the heroes of their own story, with realistic motivations, etc.
Favorite villain in any book is probably Morningstar (aka Satan) from Neil Gaiman’s Seasons in the Mist graphic novel collection.
Are there any new authors that have caught your attention?
Yes, several. Of course, like the rest of the world, I got caught up in the HUNGER GAMES series by Suzanne Collins. Previous to that I loved Scott Westerfeld’s UGLIES, as well as an older series that starts with THE THIEF by Megan Whalen Turner. I also loved Kristin Cashore’s GRACLING series. If you’re seeing a theme, it’s young adult books. I think this is really a great genre to be writing in right now because there’s a lot of awesome, talented folks putting out really spectacular, innovative books.
Favorite Guilty Pleasure?
Well, I admitted to it in question one! Slave boys in space!
What advice do you have for would be authors?
Oh my gosh, lots. First of all, even though it seems obvious, I have to say the best thing you can do as a writer is read. I used to teach writing at the Loft (www.loft.org) here in the Twin Cities, and I was mortified by the number of people who would show up to a class about writing and tell me that they didn’t have time to read. My response was that you can’t be a good writer if you don’t read. Period.
Secondly, you need to finish something. It’s one thing to have great ideas or even great starts, but, if you’re serious about writing professionally, you need to have at least one piece that has a beginning, middle, and end.
Third, love it. There’s not a lot of money in writing, despite all the rumors and urban myths to the contrary, so it’s really important to be passionate about your work. I think, in fact, the passionate writer has a better chance at success than the technically skilled one. The technical writing skills can be learned; passion can’t be faked. Plus, your passion will keep you warm on those cold nights when you’re struggling to finish and you get that first rejection letter. The old adage that it’s more important to have persistence than talent is absolutely true for writers.
I think those are the basics. Of course, there’s more to learn about the business of writing the how-tos of submitting, etc., but that changes quickly. When I first started submitting novels, for instance, there were still a number of big, New York publishers that accepted unsolicited (read: un-agented) manuscripts. That number has drastically shrunk in the intervening years. And it seems to me what was true for me a decade ago, just isn’t the case anymore. I mean, think about it – when I started e-book rights weren’t standard language in contracts. Now, some people are starting there. So, you know, once you have a finished product, it’s time to find people actively seeking publication and learn from them.
I want to thank Tate Hallaway for doing this interview with me. It was awesome. Now onto to the giveaway. One lucky winner will win their chose of any one of Tate Hallaway’s, fabulous books. All you have is be a blog follower and file out this form. The giveaway will run from now until next week May 10th. The winner will be chosen using Random.org, they will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to response or they will be new winner. The book will shipped by the book depository as long as they ship to you if you’re not sure find out here. If you’re in the US it will be shipped using Amazon.com
To learn more about Tate Hallaway and her book please visit her website
Also to check out my review of Almost Final Curtain by Ms. Hallaway click here