Author Interview with Tanya Bird

BOOKS, BLOGS, & BITS

presents:

Tanya Bird

Today, Books, Blogs, & Bits has the pleasure of introducing you to Tanya Bird. 

Tanya is a writer, mom, and Lego expert who lives in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to her three wonderful children and an accidental six-year stint in media/advertising, she studied professional writing and set about writing bad novels on a laptop she could not afford. (LOL! “Bad novels” those are her words, not mine.) But, there was a nagging problem – she needed to eat. Like many of us do, creative endeavors were put on hold as she went about making money. But she eventually realized that writing is an illness, and one can only numb the symptoms for so long before the words begin to decay inside of you. 

Thankfully she returned to writing and the decay is no more!

Without further adieu, here is Ms. Tanya Bird 🙂

BBB: Describe yourself in five words.

Tanya: Motivated, witty, chocoholic, uncoordinated, dreamer.

BBB: How many children do you have?

Tanya: Three (way too energetic) boys, aged seven, four and two.

BBB: How do you juggle your writing with being a mom to three young boys?

Tanya: I don’t have the luxury that some other writers have of scheduled time and being in the right mindset. Over the past few years I have had small windows of opportunity and that is it. Use them or lose them. Writing is often done in small bursts. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than not writing. I have become used to writing when I’m tired. In the evenings I often think my brain is done for the day, but once I start, I come good.

BBB: What would be your ideal Mother’s Day?

Tanya: A sleep-in. A late (sugar-laden) breakfast with my boys that is prepared by someone else. The rest of the day reading books in the sun. Finish the day with no-one complaining at the dinner table and someone else wrestling the kids into bed. Best. Day. Ever.

BBB: What are you reading at the moment?

Tanya: Colleen Hoover’s, It Ends With Us and Hannah Kent’s, The Good People.

BBB: You have just launched your first romance novel. What is THE book that made you fall in love with romance as a genre?

Tanya: I would have to say Paulina Simons’ The Bronze Horseman. Hands-down the most intense love story I have ever read and the only book I have ever re-read immediately after finishing it.

BBB: How did The Royal Companion come about? 

Tanya: When I was pregnant with my second son, I was prone to really vivid dreams that would stay with me for days. One particular dream stayed with me for much (much) longer, and is now my first published novel.

BBB: What can readers expect from the book?

Tanya: It’s a Royal Romance, though I struggle to fit it neatly into one sub-genre. Its court setting and characters will appeal to regency romance readers, but the story also contains medieval and fantasy elements. Throw in some horses and action, and you have quite the Romance hybrid.

BBB: That is great, Tanya. I understand you also have a gift for our readers?

Tanya: As a special Mother’s Day gift, Books, Blogs and Bits readers can download The Royal Companion for free up until midnight on Sunday 14 May. So grab a copy (and a fishbowl of wine) and enjoy.

 Click here to download your free copy of The Royal Companion.

Thank you so much, Tanya! Come back soon and Happy Mother’s Day to you! 

If you’d like to learn more about Tanya, be sure to check out her blog by clicking here.

 

Author Interview — Tara Ellis

Books, Blogs, and Bits

is proud to present:

Tara Ellis!!

taraellisAuthor Tara Ellis lives in a small town in beautiful Washington State in the Pacific Northwest. She enjoys the quiet lifestyle with her husband, two teenage kids, and several dogs. Having been a firefighter/EMT, and working in the medical field for many years, she now teaches CPR and concentrates on family, photography and writing young adult novels.

BB & B: Can you tell us a little bit about what inspires you and how those inspirations led to crafting your novel, Bloodline: Forgotten Origins Trilogy Book 1?

Tara: This is actually a hard question. I remember when I first decided to become a writer. I was eight years old, and had just typed out my first short story on our old typewriter. I was already an avid reader, and the feeling I had when I created my own world was exhilarating… and it still is.

When it comes to what inspired me to write Bloodline, I would have to say first,bloodline_TaraEllis that it’s my longtime love for science fiction. It’s something I’ve always turned to when I have a need to escape for a little while. In the year or so leading up to the creation of Bloodline, I had been getting more into conspiracy theories and ancient alien/Egyptian tales. Not that I necessarily believed any of it, I just got a kick out of reading about it. Stuff like that makes you wonder, and perhaps broaden your perspective of the world around you.

I had read The Hunger Games a year before, and my daughter was fourteen, so these influenced my choice to try first person POV, and to keep it a clean read. It was important to me that my daughter be able to read it, without causing any embarrassment.

I’m a stickler for a good story. I spent much more time thinking about and researching the plot lines than I did writing it.

BB & B: What made you choose Egypt and an Egyptian lineage for your characters’ bloodline?

Tara: How could I resist? I knew I wanted to tie in an ancient virus from the past to the present, and I wanted the main character to be unique. I started with Alex. Making her half Egyptian took care of both needs. I didn’t know how much that was going to matter though, until I got quite a ways into the outline. It just all came together and gave me chills!

BB & B: I happen to be watching Ancient Aliens the same time I was reading your book. Call it synchronicity, but the topic was about global pandemics having an alien origin. Needless to say, the impact between your book and the TV show made me totally paranoid. Given your medical background and the obvious research you’ve done about ancient meteor impacts and theories, what do you think the chances are, that something similar could actually happen in our real world?

Tara: Don’t you just love it when stuff like that happens? I think my husband thought I was a bit…odd when I started writing these books. I don’t think he bought into the whole idea until I had completed Heritage and started getting back some good reviews. Then, he happened to be watching what was probably the same show that you’re talking about. It came out a good year or more after I had published Bloodline. He called me into the room and told me to watch it, seeming a bit surprised at some of the similar themes. I just grinned.

I think it is VERY possible. Here, I’ll add to your paranoia. Read this article: http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/05/world/europe/siberia-giant-virus-discovered/

It’s about the giant Pithovirus that was recently discovered in Sibera. Notice the publication date of March, 2014….almost a year after Bloodline’s original release date. They suspect this bugger is about 30,000 years old, and this is what scientist have to say (from the above article)

“…The discovery of Pithovirus shows how incomplete our understanding of microscopic biodiversity is when it comes to exploring new environments…”

And the potentially bad news: “…the reemergence of other viruses is no longer the domain of science fiction”

~France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

How about that? Now, they’re not claiming this giant virus came in a meteorite, but here is an article from Time magazine in 2011, where they talk about a published paper that discusses the possibility:

http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2057461,00.html

Some people believe it…some do not. I say….what if?  🙂

BB & B: Without giving away any spoilers, can you give us your favorite scene or favorite quote from Bloodline? Why is this your favorite?

Tara: Towards the end, there is a climactic scene where Alex comes to terms with some things. It’s funny you asked for this, because there was a recent review posted on Goodreads, where the reader chose this scene and quote to use in their review…and it’s my favorite, too.

“But what the creators of the virus don’t understand is the human desire to fight for our freedom and our value of life. To simply be alive, isn’t enough…I finally realize that our greatest gift, and weapon, is love. I mean, who can ever win against something as powerful as that?”

~ Alex (Bloodline: Forgotten Origins Trilogy, Book 1)

bloodline_TaraEllis

It’s one of my favorite scenes in Bloodline, and my favorite quote, because I think that it’s at this point where the reader realizes how invested they are in both Alex and the story. That they both matter to them. At least, that’s my hope. As the author, that’s what it meant to me. I already liked my story and all of the characters, but at that point…I felt that tug, so that I knew I was invested. I had to see Alex through to the end of her story, and that meant writing the next two books.

BB & B: Bloodline is the first book in the Forgotten Origins Trilogy. Can you give us a snippet of what’s next for Alex in Books 2 and 3?

Tara: I have a confession. As much as I love Bloodline, I think that I grew as a writer, so I believe Heritage is a better book. Bloodline was the first full-length novel I ever published and I did and still do, have a lot of growing to do.

heritageHeritage is a bigger story. It’s 20,000 words longer than Bloodline and I do quite a bit more character development. This is where the dystopian setting starts, and I guarantee you that there are some twists in the plot that you will NOT see coming! Alex has some new, even bigger challenges and personal obstacles to overcome. Just as I grew as a writer…her character grew, too.

Descent is my favorite book of the three. At 95,000 words, it’s truly an epic tale. There are more characters, storyline developments, war, and death. The Forgotten Origins Trilogy isn’t your typical Young Adult story. I feel very strongly about that. It doesn’t hinge on a love interest (although there is one), but on a back-story that’s so intricately woven, that even though you don’t see it coming…it all makes such perfect sense at the end that you feel like you just got of a good roller-coaster!

BB & B: What can fans expect from you in the future?

Tara: I tend to be a bit ambitious. So although I kept saying that I was taking descentsome time off from everything when I was done with Descent, I already have my next adventure started. After some research, auditions, and feedback from other authors…I have decided to record my own audiobooks! I’ve done some theatre and so this type of thing isn’t new to me, but I’m excited about it. To really bring Alex to life and literally tell her story myself…how cool is that?

I’m starting with a MG story I wrote last year. Yes, I also have a middle grade mystery series started. The first one is called: The Mystery of Hollow Inn. It’s only 24,000 words long and I already have the first three chapters narrated. I figure I can learn all of the ropes with this book, so I’ll be ready to produce a good product for the trilogy. Be on the lookout for them!

After that, I plan to write another edition in the mystery series, but I honestly don’t know if I can stay away from the Forgotten Origins. It might just succeed in calling me back. 😉

BB & B: Do you have any last words you’d like to share with your fans?

Tara: I just want to say thank you to everyone who has given my story a chance. There are literally hundreds of thousands of self-published books every year. My hope is that my characters and plot are unique enough to stand out. But you know what? As a writer, I already feel successful. I felt successful when my kids first finished reading the draft on Bloodline, after not being able to put it down. I’ve already entertained my family and friends, and because of the amazing opportunity that self-publishing creates, and blogs like yours have given me…strangers have stepped into my world and gotten lost for a little while. That makes it all worth it!

bloodline_Trilogy

Thank you Tara for spending time with Books, Blogs, and Bits! Best wishes to you and your continued success.

If you’d like to find out more about Tara and her work, click on the links below for more info:

Amazon Author Page

Tara’s Website

Facebook Author Page

Facebook Trilogy Page

Goodreads

Tara’s books are available at Amazon.com.

 

 

Author Interview–Holly M. Kothe

Books, Blogs, and Bits

is proud to present:

HOLLY M. KOTHE!

Snapshot_20130601Holly M. Kothe is a freelance short story writer and novelist from Cincinnati, Ohio. She holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University and works as an editor for The Oddville Press.

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BB & B: What inspired you to create Sweet Violent Femmes?

Holly: The whole thing came together over time. I never planned to put short stories into a collection, but the more I wrote, the more I noticed an ongoing theme of dark, twisted payback with a feminine slant. The first story, “The Glass Room,” was the only one exclusively written for the Sweet Violent Femmes collection, and it also happens to be my favorite.

BB & B: All the stories in this collection has a reason for why the heroine of the story resorts to what she does, but which of the short stories in Sweet Violent Femmes affects you the most?  Why?

Holly: Probably “Tethered.” It is the only story with a paranormal element, and it deals with a lot of real life issues that affect me way more than I’d care to admit. There’s true love gone sour, infidelity, death, the afterlife—oh, and the selfish nature of womanizing men (creative gold for me).

 BB & B: To what extent do your characters remind you of yourself or someone you know?

 Holly: To a large extent, I think. The percentage of real-life vs. art is a constantly changing one. I couldn’t tell you how much is true, and how much is imagination. I use myself as a model for a lot of my characters, then I’ll throw in quirks that are the complete opposite of me…working as a prostitute in Paris, for example.

BB & B: What research did you have to perform for Sweet Violent Femmes? SVF COVER PHOTOWas there any research which really opened your eyes or gave you a new perspective or respect for a topic or profession?

 Holly: It was great fun to research Paris, its modern day brothels, and the French language because I’m so obsessed with these topics. Also, researching the autopsy process in gross detail completely creeped me out. I figure, if I’m really freaking myself out with these thoughts, then I better write them down, fast!

BB &B: You are getting great reviews on Sweet Violent Femmes.  Congratulations! Your writing style is described as beautiful, biting, highly descriptive, and like looking at a painting. Can you take us through a glimpse of your thoughts as you write and craft your words to tell your stories?

Holly: I try to be highly descriptive and write the scene I see in my head without too much fluff. When I’m editing, I cut the bullshit that came out the first time around. I try to think of Hemingway, and his no-nonsense prose. I model my writing after that style, and sometimes I’m pompous enough to tell people that, ha.

BB & B: What can fans expect from you in the near future?

Holly: More short fiction! It’s a format I will always have a soft spot for. Also, a YA novel. As a teen, reading became one of the most important things to me. I want to write for teens who have that passion like I did. It will be real-life drama, dark and humorous. I think dark fiction and comedy pair well together.

 BB & B: Any tips you’d like to provide to new writers or closing words you’d like to share?

Holly: Don’t listen to people TOO much. By that I mean, yes, learn everything you can, but be careful to filter advice from writers or readers so that you find what works for your own personal style. I’ve heard it a million times, but it’s a true cliché: the best thing you can do for yourself as a writer is to read and write.

Great words of advice. Thank you Holly for spending time with Books, Blogs, and Bits. Best wishes to you and we can’t wait to see more of your future work.

If you’d like to see more of Holly’s work, be sure to check out these links:

A Little Literary, (a lotta Coffee)

Facebook

Twitter

Purchase Sweet Violent Femmes Here:

Amazon.com

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