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Author Interview - Tara Wood

You never know when you'll run across a fellow author. In this case, it was in my school, Jade Mountain Martial Arts. This fabulous lady brought in her equally fabulous daughter for Kung Fu instruction and we discovered that we share the love of writing! Author of several paranormal/fantasy romance novels, I bring you the amazing Tara Wood!

1. When did you write your first story? What was it about?

First complete story? Probably early to mid-eighties at the cusp of adolescence. Embarrassing as it is, it was most likely a She-Ra fan fiction. I couldn’t tell you anything more about it, as I certainly didn’t keep it. But I do remember the sudden need to tell a different story in that world.

2. What do you use to write; pen and paper, computer, table, or maybe a dictating device?

I’ve tried them all. I don’t subscribe to one particular method. Honestly, it depends on how the writing is going. If I’ve got an idea in my head that has me on a roll, pen and paper work best. I write faster than I type. If I’ve got to sort of plan it out as I’m going, then the computer is easier for backtracking, moving sentences, that sort of thing. I tried dictation, but I never got comfortable with it.

3. When did it dawn upon you that ‘this writing thing’ might be for you?

I think it has yet to dawn on me. Ask me again after my first book deal.

4. What inspires you to write?

Oh, lots of things. The inherent beauty of language. The complexities of human emotions and relationships. Romance, drama, and all those things that have a hard time being quantified by the spoken word. Sometimes the written word is more powerful than we can imagine, and it can shine a light onto things we never thought we could say out loud.

5. What is a typical writing day like for you?

For the past few years, I’ve not had a typical writing day. In fact, I’ve not had writing days at all. I’d love to get back to it, but I’ve been at a loss as how to get motivated again.

6. Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or you can just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?

I can write anywhere. Anywhere. I was driving once and had to pull into a Sonic parking lot and scribbled down an entire scene on a napkin I pulled from the console because inspiration hit. You gotta strike while the iron is hot, kids.

7. Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?

Nope. That sort of constraint terrifies me into paralysis.

8. How much of your story do you know for sure when you start writing? Are you ever surprised by plot twists that emerge during the process?

It depends on the story. Sometimes the story idea comes first. Sometimes it’s just a scene. Or a character. Once that happens, I do try to have a rough outline, but for sure, I’ve been surprised as to where the plot goes.

9. What are some of the most unlikely things that inspired ideas for story elements?

I don’t think I’ve ever been inspired by anything particularly unusual. I did write a whole novella based on a photo I saw of a male model in a wet hoodie. That’s probably my most “light bulb” moment. I saw him, instantly knew the character, and had a plot a few hours later.

10. What, according to you, is the most challenging aspect of writing?

All of it. Everything. The brainstorming. The plot. The writing. The editing. The formatting. The marketing. The publishing. There is not one single thing about being a novelist that isn’t challenging.

11. What would you say is your favorite part of being a writer?

Finishing a story. Finally typing “The End”.

12. Have you ever been stricken with Writer’s Block? If so, how did you deal with it?

Every writer has experienced block. It’s inevitable. Some blocks last for a few days. Some last a few years. It all depends on the writer, I suppose. After having it frustrate me for a long time, I stopped writing. Not with the feeling that I was done with writing forever, mind you. More like I was done with writing for now. I read a lot, talked to a lot of author friends, went over old notes and materials and the like. Anything that might spark some interest or kick start the brain. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. I think knowing that one day I will get back to it helps me to deal with all the negative emotions that come with writer’s block.

13. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

Like any writer, I do read a lot. I have favorites across all sorts of genres. David Eddings, Robert Jordan, Stephen King, Peter May, Tom Rob Smith, Stuart McBride, William Ritter, Shirley Jackson, Mo Hayder, Frank Herbert. Really…..this list could go on.

14. Any advice you would like to give to your younger self?

Just do it. Don’t be afraid. Don’t listen to people who tell you that you aren’t good enough.

15. Was there a particular book that inspired you to begin writing?

The Sapphire Rose by David Eddings. It was the first time I read a book and thought, “I can do this”.

16. Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?

To be honest, I don’t think I could label it. Simply because I don’t think of my writing in that sort of way. I couldn’t begin to quantify it if I could. I couldn’t tell you how I am different, other than I am. Someone else could probably break it down and pinpoint what’s different, but my introspection only goes so far.

17. Do your novels carry a message?

Not on the whole. I don’t have an agenda, if that’s what you mean. I’ve noticed that certain themes have sprung up in my writing. There’s a lot of redemption or atonement. I probably shouldn’t think about that too hard. The subconscious can be a frightening place. LOL

18. How much of yourself do you put into your books?

None. I can’t imagine myself in any of my books.

19. Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

No. I’m not one of those ‘write what you know’ people. I know a lot of things, but I extrapolate that into fiction that happens to other people. Other people would probably handle things a lot better than I would.

20. How did it feel when your first book got published?

I self-published, and I was inordinately pleased with myself. Far more than I should have been, looking back on it. I’ve learned a lot since then.

21. Was there a point when you really felt like you had ‘made it’ as an author?

Not yet. When that happens, I’ll let you know. We’ll do lunch.

22. Do you have a day job other than being a writer? And do you like it?

I am a wife and a stay at home mother. I love it. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

23. Does your day job ever get in the way of your writing?

Yes. The people that live in this house frequently tell me that they like clean clothes, hot meals, and being chauffeured from place to place. *sighs* Tedious.

24. Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?

As I have not submitted to any, no. I have been rejected by a few literary agents, though.

25. Do you enjoy book signings?

I think it’s a great way to interact with people and meet readers.

26. What was your favorite interaction with a fan?

I can’t say that I’ve had one yet.

27. Which of your books would you most like to see adapted as a movie?

All of them. When I write, it’s all playing out in my head like a film, anyway. I could see them all on screen.

28. Have you ever written a character based on yourself in some part? Someone you know?

No. Every character has been a complete invention.

29. Are you working on something new at the moment?

I am. A few new things over the past couple of years. Nothing finished, though.

30. What advice would you like to give all those aspiring writers out there?

Just keep at it. Whatever it is you’re doing or not doing, don’t give it up. Put it down if you have to, but don’t put it aside. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Be gentle with yourself. The critics are harsh and out in force. Don’t forget to be proud of yourself. You deserve it.


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