Let me preface this little chat with a bit about what Tina has done, because I think it’s a brilliant idea. She wrote a book – one involving vampires, no less – but, instead of just editing, revising, and slapping a cover on it, she did something way out there, and totally clever. She posts a portion of her book every week on her blog, enticing folks to engage in conversation and dialogue, all the while….oh, hell, I’ll let her tell you….heeeeere’s Tina!
TR: Tina! It’s just smackin’ good to see you again….I hear you’ve been busy :)
TT: Hi, Thomas…it’s great to be here, and thanks so much. Yes, I’ve been hard at it, but having a blast.
TR: I’m sure of that. Okay, so, I can’t wait to hear about the nuts and bolts of your little experiment, but let’s tell everyone a little about you, first.What was the first thing you wrote, and how old were you when you wrote it?
TT: Since I’ve always been a sweet and innocent girl, the first thing I wrote was my own twist on the Good Samaritan story. I was eight.
TR: Wow…you were innocent. What have you written since then?
TT: I’ve written a lot of stories since then, but my most recent works includes a vampire series and the story about my son who was diagnosed with autism in 2010 called “Forever, Christian“, and of course my current project a blog series called “Let There Be Blood.” (More on that later)
TR: So, you’re a vampire junkie – good deal! What made you choose that genre of writing, and what about it fascinates you?
TT: I wish I could give you some grand answer and name a literary classic of the vampire genre like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but I will risk the hisses and boos and say that Stephanie Meyer and Twilight inspired me to choose vampires. I disliked anything to do with vampires until a friend of mine handed me a copy of Twilight and after I became fascinated…I could’ve done without the sparkles though.
This genre fascinates me because of what vampires represent. I grew up an only child, painfully shy and overweight. I spent my school years alone and shunned by my peers because of my weight. In school, I kept to myself, didn’t make many friends and hid my true self hidden in fear of ridicule. At home, in my room, I let my true self out. I always loved the flair of storytelling and acting. I would put off plays in my room and in my backyard. I sang, I danced to music I blasted from my stereo. I pretended to give concerts. In short, I loved to perform as well as write. However, deep down inside it was a side of me that I felt I needed to keep hidden. Call it shame or fear or a bit of both.
I feel that in the legend of the vampire, there are those who are much more than bloodthirsty monsters who only look upon humans as prey; those who want to hang onto their human side and fight the blood lust are forced into the shadows to hide in fear of being shunned and sometimes killed for their very nature.
Does that make sense?
TR: Both parts make perfect sense, actually. Since you were more or less closed off from the rest of the world, you created your own - precisely what every writer does. And your take on the life of the vampire is refreshing, too. I’ve watched many vampire movies and read many of their books. One common thread – at least in the older versions – was the vampire just embracing the immortality and power, and never showing how they might react to losing everything that they had come to know and love. Not to mention, as you say, the risk of being hunted down and killed. That’s kind of a pain in the butt. You seek to almost make them vulnerable – that’s pretty heady stuff :)
Well, since you’re obviously fascinated with the fanged ones – and rightly so - would you ever consider writing in a different genre?
TT: I have written in a different genre before I became interested in vampires, so, yes I will return to writing more than just vampires. In fact, my latest work is not about vampires. At least not directly. My former genre was drama and suspense.
TR: Very nice. It’s always an advantage to be able to switch it up, once in a while, isn’t it? Now, much has been written about how a tale will change from the original intent of the writer, as it’s being written. How did your story change as you created it, and did it surprise you how it came out?
TT: My latest work, “Let There Be Blood” is not a novel, yet. It started life as a flash of an idea of a unique way on how to bring more traffic to my blog. The idea is a blog series that works much like a TV show, with individual chapters of the story being posted from week to week during the month of October which I am hoping will capture the reader’s interest and have the reader come back each week for more. Once the last post was up and the series ended, that was all there was supposed to be to it. However, the story turned out much better than expected and now I been inspired to turn it into a novel when the series is over.
TR: Don’t you just love it when it happens like that? So, tell us, what is the most difficult part of writing a book?
TT: Actually getting the first draft written. Between external and internal factors, I find it very difficult to write. Externally, my house is a zoo, I kid you not. My husband works a 60 to 70 hour week, which leaves me home alone with two kids, ages 12 and 3. The 12 year old is autistic and the three year old, well, is a typical three year old, he thinks his Spiderman. Between the crying, screaming, fighting, meltdowns and general noise and hearing “Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom!” on repeat, makes me wish I was deaf. Plus, there is me. I have a bad habit of picking apart every sentence, worrying is that grammatically correct? Is it too long? Is that the right way to phrase it? Does it make sense? And so on. I’m so worried that I will make my editor’s eyes bleed with how bad my MS is that I can’t take the advice of my mentor; to just sit down, write and enjoy the story, worry about the mistakes later.
TR: That is good advice. I hope some day you can try it, and see how much more enjoyable it is. My God, with that going on, I wonder how you managed to get any sentences on paper. Whew.
You’re an indie author, as are most of the folks who will be reading this. Would you consider changing over from indie publishing to traditional, and why or why not?
TT: Right now I’m enjoying the freedom of being an indie. It allows me to work on my own schedule, write my own story and I am guaranteed that what I write is my own. However, that also means that I have to wear many hats. I had to find my own editor, critique partner, beta readers and cover designer and pay any costs out of my own pocket, which at times, is hard because my husband is the only bread winner. But I been so blessed to have found not only top notch professionals, but who offer their services at a very affordable price or like my critique partner and beta readers, use the barter system. I also have to market my books myself, which I loathe. I hate selling. I always found it difficult to market myself and tell why people should buy and read my book. I feel like I’m a bother. I wouldn’t mind passing on those hats to a traditional publisher. I like to find a hybrid publisher, one that allows me the benefits of being an indie but does all the publicity for me.
TR: I get you. Indie is a double-edged sword, but most of the folks I’ve talked to echo your sentiments about the control factor and freedom. You mentioned how hard selling is for you, and trust me, you ain’t the only one. But, what to you is the most difficult element in selling your book, and how do you overcome it?
TT: Growing up I never told anyone that I was writing. It’s hard to explain, but I felt shame for loving the craft and creating stories and that is why it took me so long to publish any of my work. I still have some of that shame gnawing at my psyche and find it hard to sometimes share what I have written. Even though I have stories published, a small part of me still wants to keep that fact I can write hidden, because I feel that I am a horrible writer and what I write is awful and that everyone is laughing at me. As for overcoming it, well, I am still struggling with that element, but slowly, thanks to the support of my friends I’m starting to realize that my stories are worth reading and sharing. That is why this “Let There Be Blood” series is so important. It’s a chance for me to prove – both to others and myself – that I can write. If people can keep coming back every week to find out what happens, then I know I’m in the right profession.
TR: Sounds like the perfect way to find out to me. All right, you’ve been at this for a while now.What mistakes have you made in regards to publishing and marketing your work, and what will you do differently in the future?
TT: Mistakes? How much time do you have, Thomas? My first published work is called Destiny of The Vampire and I did this without anyone holding my hand and telling me what I was doing right or wrong. The first publication was only generally edited and, as I found out through the kindness of a reviewer, that it was full of plot holes and had tons of editing issues. Then I became a part of a group of fellow authors who are seasoned in their field and guided me along the way, showing me what I did wrong and right. It has been taken down and revised so often that I lost count. It still needs work, a year later. However, I call Destiny of The Vampire the novel I cut my teeth on, because I have learned so much sense then. I now know, with the current project and future projects the importance of having a proper editor, cover designer and having a critique partner and beta readers. I am also learning the right way to market my work, I just got to get off my duff and do it.
TR: Now, that is, in a nutshell, one heckuva good outline on how to go about things. Okay, let’s hear a bit about “Let There Be Blood”, and how you came up with your idea for it.
TT: “Let There Be Blood” is not a novel right now, but a blog series. I have a blog called Writers on The Wharf that I started earlier this year that I created to help my author colleagues promote their work and to display my work as well. It’s a tiny blog, not too many people know about it, but I wanted to change that, so I came up with an idea to possibly do that. I wanted readers to find an excuse to come back to my blog again and again at the same time to introduce them to my style of writing. While the interviews and promo spots with some of the very best indie authors(in my opinion) were fascinating enough on their own, I felt I needed more exposure for my own work. Inspired by the TV series format, I will post this story through the month of October, a couple of chapters at a time. To incise the readers, I have a contest running, but it has a catch. The reader must read each post and follow along with the story for the entire series because at the end of the series on October 31, I will be asking a couple of trivia questions. Those who answer the questions correctly will have their name entered for one of two draws on November 1. If the reader is an author the grand prize will be a premade cover by Ida Jansson of http://www.amygdaladesign.net/pre-made-book-covers/ of the author’s choosing. For the fan who just loves to read and not write, their choice of one of two Let There Be Blood promo posters autographed by little ol me! The blog to follow: http://writersonthewharf.blogspot.ca/p/let-there-be-blood-blog-series.html
TR: I just love your whole idea – I hope it serves you well. Do you have an idea for your next book?
TT: I have an idea for a new series that I will begin as soon as I finish up some of the ones I put on the backburner while concentrating on this series. It will be a supernatural series but with plenty of differences from the normal supernatural series on the market and plenty of twists. That is all I will say for now.
TR: Fair enough :). How do people get in touch or follow you?
TT: Through a few means:
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Tina-Traverse/432813526755304
Let There Be Blood Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ConsumedbyDarkness
Where to find my books:
TT: Thank you Thomas for letting me talk endlessly about my work, it was a pleasure.
TR: Tina, the pleasure was mine. The very best of luck with “Let There Be Blood”, too.
That’s a wrap, folks. Why not head over to Tina’s blog and jump into the fun? Who knows, you might win a little somethin’ somethin’, and at the very least, you’ve have some fun :)