Welcome to the fiftieth (yay, a milestone!) of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. Today is with multi-genre authors Tia Bach & Angela Silverthorne. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here.
Morgen: Please tell us something about yourselves and how you came to be a writer.
Angela: I am a loner with a huge imagination. Writing was a natural outlet to capture my thousand upon thousand dreams.
Tia: I grew up in a house where reading and writing were daily activities. My mother was always telling stories and encouraging us to do the same. In college, I was a business major who also worked for the college newspaper. I always find a way to incorporate writing into anything I love to do.
Morgen: It sounds like you live and breathe writing, like me. What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Angela: I love dabbling in all forms of writing–poetry, prose, fiction and nonfiction, but thematically I tend to focus on family dynamics, conflict and women’s issues.
Tia: My favorite genre is young adult fiction. I like exploring the teenage voice. Teenagers are spreading their wings, open to learning, and have some spunk. They can embrace so much and yet be so unwilling to. Adults can be too jaded, unbendable. And younger kids don’t take in their surroundings. They live life for fun. Teenagers are the medium, and it gives me a lot of room to explore as a writer.
Morgen: I don’t recall ever being inspired to write children’s or YA… possibly because it’s too long ago to remember. :) What have you had published to-date? How much of the marketing do you do?
Angela: In 2000, I published a book of poetry and prose to use instructionally, encouraging readers to open their senses to its form and inspirations. I have helped a little with marketing, but Tia’s technical expertise has proven to be very successful.
Tia: I’ve been published in newspapers and technical newsletters, but Depression Cookies is my first published piece of fiction. Mom handed over the marketing reins, and I was thrust into a world I knew nothing about. I find it fascinating and am absorbing all I can about social media and traditional marketing avenues.
Morgen: Have you won or been shortlisted in any competitions and do you think they help with a writer’s success?
Angela: Oh yes, shortlisted and flat out refused! Those rejection notices are not meant to reject the person or their writing, but that piece. And maybe it’s not a rejection as much as a need to take a sharper look at your work. It has forced me to be honest about editing and revision and pushed me to be a better writer.
Tia: Our novel was a Finalist in the Chick Lit category of the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Morgen: Yay! Well done. :)
Tia: It’s an honor and makes you stand a little taller, but the rejections teach you more about your writing and how to move forward. The awards are a nice marketing tool to convince potential readers to pick your book over the thousands of choices out there.
Morgen: And so necessary. Presumable your book is available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks?
Tia: Yes, Depression Cookies is available in eBook format. Mom and I are both avid readers who are slowly transitioning to the eBook craze. It’s a nice addition to my reading life, but I’m not sure it’ll ever replace the feeling of a book in my hands.
Morgen: Most people I speak to say that. What was your first acceptance and is being accepted still a thrill?
Angela: At sixteen I submitted an article to our local newspaper and it was accepted. I thought my career had begun!
Tia: I was a business major in college, but my English professors kept encouraging me to find a way to write. I sheepishly walked into my college newspaper and asked for an assignment. I was a staff writer for three years. But the first thrill of acceptance was when I landed the front cover as a non-Journalism student/major. I still have that cover laminated and framed.
Morgen: Angela touched on rejections a moment ago. How do you deal with them?
Angela: Rejections are no more than a notice to re-evaluate. Defeat is left in the garbage can with the notice. It doesn’t go forward in my work except to try harder.
Tia: Wow, Mom said it so well.
Morgen: Didn’t she. :)
Tia: Rejections sting, but you can’t let them burn. I’ve had thoughtfully written rejections that I filed away as encouragement. It’s a tough business. Sometimes even being close is a compliment.
Morgen: I guess the more you get, the easier it is? What are you working on at the moment / next?
Angela: A sequel to Depression Cookies, and a fictional novel on the world around at-risk children.
Tia: Yes, our sequel. I am also working on a young adult fictional novel with the help of my preteen daughter who is constantly immersed in this new world of young adult fantasy-driven literature.
Morgen: Ah daughter… could this be the start of a three generation writing family? :) Do you manage to write every day? What’s the most you’ve written in a day?
Angela: I write daily, no less than 30 minutes and up to four hours.
Tia: I didn’t always listen to my mom’s advice on this one.
Morgen: Do we ever?
Tia: I had three kids in less than a five-year span. How could I find time to write every day? Now, I do (my girls are a bit older at 11, 9 & 6). Even if I don’t sit down daily with what I’m currently working on, I will blog and/or journal. The consistency has made a big difference in my writing.
Morgen: Me too. My life is very routined but it does make fitting writing-related things in around everything else (although the ratio of the former heavily outweighs the latter :)). What is your opinion of writer’s block? Do you ever suffer from it? If so, how do you ‘cure’ it?
Angela: I don’t buy into writer’s block. I write…I read…I write…I read… If I have an inspiration at any time of the day, I keep a notebook nearby and write it down. At the end of each day, I have a plethora of things to write about.
Tia: Consistent writing is the key. Keep the juices flowing. I will hit a block on one piece I’m working on, so I transition to another until I get my groove back.
Morgen: Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Angela: Idea and write…
Tia: I don’t formally plot. The first time an agent asked for the outline of our novel, Depression Cookies, I freaked out. We never had an outline. We discussed and debated plot, but never on paper. I had to go back and re-create. This time, I will put more down on paper, but as notes from our plot discussions.
Morgen: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Angela: Some, but those are the pieces I pick up for revision on those days I can’t write as long.
Tia: Yes. I am very protective over what I write. It was so hard to put Depression Cookies out there and have people read it, form an opinion about it. I hope I’m always brave enough to let things go, but I’m sure there will be pieces I hold back.
Morgen: What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life?
Angela: Favorite: the dreaming/imagination period of developing a story or poem. Least favorite: editing…
Morgen: But presumably practice at writing has made this easier? OK maybe not. :)
Tia: My favorite aspect is seeing a story form. I, unlike Mom, love editing. Reflecting on writing makes it better. I find editing exhilarating. I don’t like it when I can’t get the words to say what I want them to. I have editor’s block much more than writer’s block.
Morgen: What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Angela: Read voraciously and write every day.
Tia: Believe in yourself. Write what you would love to read. To be a good writer, you really have to love books and read all the time . . . take the time to know your industry.
Morgen: What do you like to read?
Angela: Women’s literature and Christian books
Tia: I love a good story. I’m not particular about genre. The best definition of a good story is one where the author makes me care about the characters enough that they stay with me long after the last page.
Morgen: The mark of a perfect story. Are there any writing-related websites and/or books that you find useful and would recommend?
Tia & Angela: Too numerous to list, but we often talk about writing-related websites and books on our blog.
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how invaluable do you find them?
Tia: This was a whole new world for both of us. I have found LinkedIn a valuable resource for meeting like-minded individuals. And I was reluctant to dive into the Twitter universe, but it’s been an amazing professional and marketing resource.
Morgen: Aren’t they great? Where can we find out about you and your work?
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Tia: Give independently published books a chance. Don’t let traditional publishers decide what makes a good book. There are some wonderful gems out there if you look. If you want a guideline, look at some of the Independent Book Awards as a starting point.
Tia Bach and Angela Silverthorne are a mother-daughter writing team. Their first novel, Depression Cookies, was named a Finalist in the Chick Lit category of the 2011 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. You can access Tia on Twitter @Tia_Bach_Author and follow both authors on their blog and their website.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
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