I've really been enjoying the world of Twitter, especially meeting fellow authors like Tami Parrington! She was nice enough to have a chat with me.
Tell us about yourself:
I finally got down to business in my late 30s. I wrote a lot in high-school and shortly after, but once I got married and had kids, that got put on the side a lot until my kids were in their mid-teens. The muse can be put on a shelf (she doesn't like it much, but she'll stay), but she's always there when the time is right. Now I write for a living, having developed a full-time freelance career along with my fiction work.
How long have you been writing?
Technically for about 17 years now, long before that as a hobby though.
What was the task of publishing/self-publishing/submitting/querying like for you?
Wow, I remember the whole submitting/querying part of writing well. Back in the late 90s and early 2000s it was definitely not my favorite part of the writing experience. Once I had a few things accepted it got a little easier, but it never really got easy. Now after being published, some of the things that happened during that phase of my career were heartbreaking and aggravating. For the record, I was never with one of the big 6. They were all mid-size houses. This was back when self-publishing often meant vanity publishing and new ebook publishers were just a blip on the industry radar. Most considered being published by an ebook publisher to be only a small step better than being self-published.
Man, have things changed. Well, some people still think that way, but it has improved greatly. After one debacle where a publisher closed the line that had just published one of my novels and left it an orphan I got fed up with the whole thing. I pretty much walked away from being an author, but found myself an editor for an ebook publisher. When they absconded with money due authors and editors I actually did quit completely for awhile. That's when I decided that freelancing was a better way to write and earn a living at the same time. I devoted all of my time to building a business, and I do still love it, but something was always missing.
When I came back to my first love, the entire atmosphere had changed quite a bit--thankfully. I had already put up a lot of my original books as ebooks on Amazon when I left before. All during the time I ignored them, they still sold little by little. What's great about ebooks is that they can live forever. They don't go "out of print" or get relegated to a back list unless you want them to. Self-publishing is so much less aggravating. Oh sure, there's the marketing, but I used to do a fair amount of that in the earlier days too.
What/ who inspires you?
Every writer I meet online inspires me in some ways. As for the "big guys" I'd say probably Stephen King and Anne Rice the most.
What is your creative process like?
When I'm just starting a plot development, my creative process is a little sporadic, but once I get down to actually writing the story I am totally committed and "in" that life. I see it in my mind and type it on the page.
What do you struggle with as a writer?
I guess the answer to that would depend on the day you asked it. Over the years the things I've struggled with most have changed and flipped back and forth. I think now, one of the things I have the hardest time with is believing that the next story will come. I have lots of ideas, but I am always afraid that someday I won't have anything that will turn into a full piece.
If you work a day job, how do you balance writing with your day-to-day career?
My day job is writing, and one of the great things about being a freelancer is that I can set my own hours as long as I meet the deadlines. So, when I want to/need to write my stories, I can.
How do you prepare to write? What do you do to get in the right frame of mind?
Music does it sometimes. Sometimes I just take a nap. I know that sounds kind of weird, but I start to "see" the story when I relax and start to drift off. I have to get up and write it immediately though or its lost. Other times I have to have the TV going. Since the house is empty I just need the noise.
What genre of writing would you love to try?
I've already written romance, women's fiction, fantasy and a crime/thriller. I think I'll just stay in those.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Watching reality TV.
What are you totally obsessed with right now?
I think that's one of my problems I should have mentioned under the question what are you struggling with. At the moment I don't have any obsessions. That sounds like it should be a good thing, and maybe for a "normal" person it is, but I think writers do best when they have something they are obsessed with.
Tell us about some of your releases:
My most recent is a re-release of that book that was orphaned years ago--Dark Side of the Moon. When that all happened I did not have a digital copy of it. All that was left from that time was a few advance paperbacks I still had. So I had to retype it. I put it off/ignored it for years, but it always bothered me. I'm happy that it's back up for sale. It only had a very short life as the original paperback, but it had some very good reviews and I hated that it hadn't had a chance to 'live.'
In Dark Side of the Moon, Kia is a fanatic fan that connives her way into the life of her idol only to find herself mixed up in one of the most treacherous businesses in the world.
I also have Hell's Own. In Hell's Own, Alexander is a demon, unhappy with his life and dreaming of life on the surface where things are beautiful. He escapes from hell and has to evade the devil's attempts at bringing him back. When he almost loses the battle, he's found by Christine, a naïve girl who believes she has found an angel who has been doing battle with evil forces and is determined to help him. It's quite a ride from there.
Readers can find Dark Side of the Moon and Hell's Own, along with several other novels available on Amazon. Some are available on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble and iTunes as well, and all will be when they are finished with this round of Select on Amazon. They can follow me on Twitter at @TParrington or Facebook or my blog at http://www.tamiparrington.com
Here's a bit from Dark Side of the Moon :
Gabriel Evans looked up. His head pounded and his eyes ached. The woman in front of him should spark an interest, but the throbbing in his temples obliterated any ability to think. Damn, those legs could go on and on. Her legs were all he could see from his slouched position, but it was enough--definitely enough. His gaze moved up and down her legs and noticed the shake as her knees quivered.
"I have an interview."
I know that. Gabe shrugged off his alcohol-induced sarcasm as he winced and reached across the desk to grab the letter of reference that he’d read several times since receiving it. He’d had his personnel department set up the interview. Normally that would be enough, but not this time. This time he wanted to do the final interview personally--a decision he had begun to regret as his head continued to beat out an irritating rhythm that made his teeth hurt.
He plopped a fizzing tablet in a glass of water and smiled at the frail figure in front of him without raising his head.
"It’s been a long day." He motioned for the girl to take a seat. "So, Kia, that’s a pretty name." He enjoyed her shy smile. It cast a light on the room and made him feel a little more human.
He waited a few more minutes for the fizzing to subside and drank the glass down in a single effort, wincing at the taste and looking up over the top of the cup to watch his guest’s reaction.
Her smile faded. It seemed she didn’t approve. He deserved that, he supposed. This was no way to treat his voice, not with only a few hours to go before he had to hit the studio and lay down new tracks. He cleared his throat, and it scratched and objected to the abuse.
"Long day," he repeated, then turned to the paper he had placed on the desk. Faith had given her a sterling reference. He’d known Faith for as long as he’d been in the business. She was an acidy old crone, but when it came to costume design…none better. He studied the petite girl sitting across from him; she had passed muster with his own personnel department, as well. Now she stood before him for her final test.
"You like working for Faith?" He looked up to watch her expression. The motion drove a spike through his head--still, he kept his gaze locked on her.
"Yeah, Faith’s great. I’d kind of like to get out of wardrobe, though. That sucks."
Gabriel laughed and it sent a shard of lightning through his brain. He rubbed his temples for a minute and then looked at her. "She seems to think you’d be…let’s see, what was it she said?" He glanced back at the paper on the desk in front of him. "A sterling asset to your staff." Gabriel studied the girl as she sat there twisting her hands and waiting. "Wow. Can’t beat that, can we?"
Brown curls fell loose from her tight bun on the top of the head that shook hard in answer to his question.
"Why an assistant?" She didn’t belong here. The nappy, tight curls that clung to her head lacked the sophisticated polish of an executive in this industry… hell, in any industry. He grumbled inside. Her clean face, with only a trace of makeup was most definitely an indication of her middle-class, Midwestern upbringing. He wondered if she’d learned anything at all from the time spent in New York. How long had she even been there? He looked again at the letter from Faith. No dates. "Very sneaky, Faith," he muttered.
"Nothing." Gabriel waved her off, still lost in his own thoughts. She had a nice dress. Casual, neat and clean, but her appearance wasn’t as professional as he was accustomed to in an assistant.
Gabriel searched the page in front of him and it made his eyes burn. "You’ve never done anything like this before, right?" He waited until she finished shaking her head. "There’s a lot involved." He looked to see if she’d back down. She didn’t falter. "You’d be an assistant to my first lieutenant." Gabriel pointed at an office attached to his own and Kia followed the motion with her eyes. "It’s a twenty-four hour a day job. You’d have to move in."
"I don’t live in!"
Gabe looked up sharply with his eyebrows raised. "You don’t, do you? How do you expect to be available whenever I need something? Whenever Bryan…" he motioned to the empty office again with a weak wave of his hand, "does?"
"I don’t expect to. I’ll be plenty available during normal business hours." Kia looked at the empty office, but her glance was interrupted by the loud laughter from the man on the other side of the desk.
"Normal business hours? Girl, what business do you think you’re looking to get into? We don’t do normal."
Thanks so much to Tami for chatting with me!!