Welcome to the six hundred and forty-sixth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with paranormal romance author TL Spencer. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
TL: My full name is Terri-Louise Spencer. I’m a Leo baby, born in August 1992 and I live in the lovely seaside town of Cleethorpes in North East Lincolnshire. At the age of eleven I was diagnosed with epilepsy and turned to my love of writing as a way to cope.
Morgen: I’m an August Leo too but 25 years older than you. 😦 What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
TL: I am a romantic with a love of the paranormal. Most of my stories tend to be of that genre. Anything remotely weird and I’m there.
Morgen: Oh me too. The quirkier the better. What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
TL: Blood Prophecy: The Fated Three (http://apostrophebooks.com/books/blood-prophecy), published with Apostrophe Books, is my first novel. I write under TL Spencer.
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? How involved were you in that process? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
TL: My book is only available as an eBook. I loved the entire process, from editing, proofing, cover design. It was all so intriguing; everybody worked like demons to get things done. I read both eBooks and printed; eBooks are a lot less bulky.
Morgen: I have 400+ books on my iPad. I love it. Do you have a favourite of your characters? If your book were to be made into a film, whom would you have as the leading actor/s?
TL: My favourite character is Lalinn because she is the most realistic, the most human. In general, people don’t really change; we like to think that they do, but they don’t. Lalinn is the epitome of this. Though she learns from her mistakes – despite what horrors she experiences – her fundamental character doesn’t change. Lalinn is also extremely funny and was the most challenging character to write.
If Blood Prophecy was made into a film, I would be ecstatic. When writing the novel, several actors were firmly placed in my mind as they helped me picture my characters: Josh Hutcherson (Dmitri), Chris Zylka (Gregori), Bonnie Wright (Aynia) and Ian Somerhalder as Jaden. Other main characters: Selene, Sariel and Lalinn, I never really thought about casting because I knew what they looked like in my head.
Morgen: And I’m sure readers have their own ideas. Which author(s) would you compare your writing to?
TL: I would hope to be compared to authors such as LJ Smith and Lauren Kate. They are both brilliant authors within the genre.
Morgen: Being traditionally polished, did you have any say in the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
TL: The original titles of the book were of my own design, with the publisher and editors having their input and the genius designers at Apostrophe Books created the cover, which is fangtastic (excuse the pun). All aspects of the publishing process are vital. If one step is missed or not completed, the whole thing would be a disaster.
Morgen: What are you working on at the moment / next?
TL: Being a university student, I have to balance my writing with my studies. But I do have a few plans written down, ready to be developed. Though they are of the same genre, the stories are quite a bit different.
Morgen: Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
TL: I take the time to write at least four to five hundred words a day, even if they are complete dribble because I know at some point that they will come in handy. I do on occasion suffer from writer’s block, something my tutor calls the ‘writer’s tool of procrastination’. To get myself out of it, I sit down with a notepad and pen and doodle until words some out.
Morgen: “even if they are complete dribble” I love that. You can’t edit a blank page so even dribble can be shaped. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
TL: I plan and plan thoroughly. I wouldn’t take the risk of having a story fall flat on its face half way through.
Morgen: Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
TL: Characters, even paranormal ones, should be realistic. They should have flaws. No one, not even a vampire, is perfect. Names, I feel, are very important; they should be a symbol of who you are. Even in every day society, people are ruled by what their names are; why should a fictional world be any different?
Morgen: Absolutely. If something’s not believable, it falls flat. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
TL: I tend to write a chapter, read it through, edit then carry on. I did notice though, when writing Blood Prophecy: The Fated Three, that my writing improved as time went on.
Morgen: Like a lot in life, it’s all about practice. Do you have to do much research?
TL: I research a lot on locations and history. Paranormal stuff? Not so much.
Morgen: 🙂 What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
TL: First person is good but due to its very nature has its limitations. Third person gives the most freedom. I have never tried writing second person on a large scale. There are advantages to each; you just have to find them.
Morgen: I love second person but even I wouldn’t recommend it on a ‘large scale’. I don’t think I’ve ever gone over a couple of thousand words in it. It’s wearing after a while. Do you write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
TL: I’ve posted bits of poetry on my blog, as well as short stories. I have written articles for my degree and even attempted to have them published. Unfortunately, due to my lack of experience in that field, I have been unsuccessful so far.
Morgen: So far… Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
TL: There are plenty, all piled up in my filing cabinet. Some are quite good; others are dreadful, I’m embarrassed to even think about them!
Morgen: They’re the practice before the real thing. You mentioned rejections, how do you deal with them?
TL: Yes. I applied to several magazines with articles and was unsuccessful. The key to being a writer is to never give up. Getting a rejection email / letter or two doesn’t do anyone any harm; if anything, it confirms that you’re a writer. It inspired me to keep going.
Morgen: Do you enter competitions? Are there any you could recommend?
TL: I entered my first competition and won it! The Fiction Fast-Track competition with Apostrophe Books; I would certainly recommend that one.
Morgen: Congratulations! Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
TL: I don’t have an agent. While they probably assist in an author’s success, I wouldn’t say they were vital.
Morgen: How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
TL: I created my own Facebook page and encouraged as many of my Twitter followers as possible. Most of the marketing is done online with the gurus at Apostrophe Books at the helm.
Morgen: It’s great having that support (and they’re very supportive of my blog – hi, Louise!). What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
TL: I love the satisfaction of finishing a scene / sequence but I hate dialogue. It is the bane of my existence as a writer. The biggest surprise for me was winning the Apostrophe Books competition; to have won the hearts of many voters was simply incredible.
Morgen: I don’t think I’ve had anyone say their least favourite is dialogue. You could try writing a flash fiction in just dialogue (no ‘he said / she said’) etc. The thing about dialogue is that it’s good at cutting up long passages of description (which I usually skim over). I have a writing tips page (https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/writing-101) and a dialogue tip is “it’s recommended that you can only go up to six pieces of dialogue (between no more than two people) without attributing it to someone. And there’s nothing wrong with ‘said’. Don’t be tempted to look at your thesaurus and say ‘Andy postulated’. You could also avoid tags by another character saying “Oh Andy, that’s…” or in the description; ‘Andy laughed. “That’s…”. Another practice for dialogue (especially if you need to distinguish between your characters) is to write a section, or even a whole piece of flash fiction, of just dialogue; no ‘he said’ / ‘she said’ but purely what they are saying. If you can write it, leave it for at least two weeks and then read the whole piece and know who’s saying what then that may help the rest of your writing.” What advice would you give aspiring writers?
TL: Write, write and then write some more. Never give up and always enjoy what you do.
Morgen: Absolutely, I do. 🙂 If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
TL: What an awesome question!
Morgen: Thank you. 🙂 It’s one of the most recent ones.
TL: Well, we’d have a nice home cooked Sunday dinner (three course meal) and my dad would be one the cooking it. Jane Austen would have to be the first guest, Stephen Fry the second guest and the final guest would have to be Howard Shore.
Morgen: I’d love to invite Stephen. He’s so intelligent. If you had to choose a single day from your past to re-live over and over, what day would it be and why?
TL: When I was in year ten at secondary school, I performed in Oliver! I was Mrs Bumble. We had three performances in one day. It was incredibly tiring but so much fun.
Morgen: How wonderful. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
TL: ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but sometimes you may have to give a stupid, or misinformed beholder a black eye.’ I have no idea who said it but I couldn’t stop laughing when I heard it.
Morgen: 🙂 Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
TL: I am currently at university, studying for my degree and I am involved in my local writers’ group.
Morgen: What do you do when you’re not writing?
TL: I love to read or listen to music. I have an interest in ancient history, mythology and I have a grade three in musical theatre. I can also – though not to the high standard I used to – play the flute and the piano. My voice isn’t too bad, but I hate karaoke.
Morgen: Where can we find out about you and your writing?
TL: At Apostrophe Books: http://apostrophebooks.com/books/blood-prophecy
My Blog: http://terrispencer.blogspot.co.uk
Twitter: @terrilspencer and @apostrophebooks
My book is available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo and many more.
Morgen: Thank you, TL. Good luck with your next projects.
I then invited TL to provide an extract of her writing and this is from Blood Prophecy: The Fated Three…
The crack within my brain: the keyhole through which the sands of sanity endlessly seem to pour. Night after merciless night it comes; it never fails to come. A vampiric shade stalks the mind in times of slumber, leaving chaos and destruction in its wake. A path full of anguish: a memory full of pain; the missing hearts and extinguished fires of innocent souls, taken before their time.
One waves goodbye, if only for a day, thinking to see them again. Home sweet home. With a warm fire and loving, glowing hearts. You love them; they are part of you. They make you smile; bring light to your dark days. Most of all, you know with every fibre of your being that they would stop you from feeling alone. After all, there is a difference, is there not, from being alone to being lonely?
People say they know when lives are coming to an end. They can feel it: a slight sickening in the stomach, a falter of the step. The sensation is nauseating; a cold, black feeling, the awareness as Death himself crawls and slithers across your spine and through your very soul as he does his duty to the Earth.
One never found, the only body never accounted for after the air accident, forever lost to the world; Marius Giovanni, once a beloved husband and father, forever lost to his family. The only evidence of his existence lay in his family crest; a blue goldstone cameo engraved with a silver eagle clasping olive branches symbolizing nobility and wisdom respectively. Sparkling, it lay across a young girl’s neck.
At the age of just twelve years old, this young girl, Selene Giovanni lost her father. At the age of twelve, she lost the only one on Earth who ever understood her. At the age of twelve, I, Selene Giovanni, despite the existence of my mother, discovered what it was truly like to be alone in the world; alone and lonely, with no one to guide me.
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