I’m delighted to welcome back guest interviewer, Francine Silverman who today is interviewing author and illustrator Tina Howe.
Tina Howe is the author of the first two sci-fi books in a series and a children’s picture book. The audio version of Alysa of the Fields, the first book in The Tellings of Xunar-kun Series, won Mom’s Choice and Reader Views awards (2011) and a Readers Favorite award (2010). The second book, The TrailFolk of Xunar-kun, won The Written Art (2009) and Readers Favorite (2010) awards. The children’s book which she also illustrated, Snailsworth, a slow little story won Readers Favorite awards in 2013 for both the book and audio book. Tina has been writing screenplays for the last few years and has won or placed in several competitions. She has also outlined the third book in the sci-fi series but hasn’t yet begun the real writing.
Fran: How often do you write? Articles? Essays? Or Books?
Tina: I’m an extremely visual writer. I’ve been working more on scriptwriting these days and work on a script every day which includes various aspects of story creation – concept, character development, outlining, dialog, rewriting, and rewriting.
Fran: What inspires you?
Tina: The need to tell a story that both I and others will relate to inspires me. It’s often things in the news that bother me that are a springboard. My stories can be based in fantasy, dramatic, or comedic situations. Mostly I like the “what if” of a story, creating characters and situations that will play that out. “Snailsworth,” a story about believing in yourself, was inspired one evening as I sat on my back steps. The scene in my book is nearly identical.
Fran: What do you do first? The writing or the illustrations?
Tina: When I’m working on a story, I work on several versions of an outline first. It’s in this stage that I get ideas for illustrations and create a storyboard that offers more than the literal depiction of the story and goes beyond the words.
Fran: Which is harder?
Tina: When I was creating the picture book, I worked back and forth between writing and illustrating. I don’t think that one is more difficult than the other. Switching off does the other side of my brain a rest and also brings story enhancements to mind. Writing and illustrating are never “easy” but then I don’t gravitate toward easy.
Fran: Do you have a vision of what the characters will look like?
Tina: Yes. When I’m writing either a novel or a screenplay I try to place either A-list actors or people I know in the character roles. If I need a character that nobody, including myself, has seen before, I make them seem as realistic as possible to fit the role and work at them until they’re clear. In Alysa of the Fields, I created a type of monster I’ve never seen before.
Fran: Your first sci-fi book won first place in an art award contest. Did it propel you to greater heights?
Tina: Yes, but I think the cover for the second book turned out better than the first. Doing the covers for both books helped me see the world more clearly. Possibly working for other writers who need artists, marketing your book differently? I don’t have time to offer illustration work to other authors but I wouldn’t rule it out. I did learn from the first cover that had only Alysa on it that people thought it was a girl’s book; although a girl’s in the lead role, there are many important men, including her love interest. So I put both him and Alysa on the second book’s cover.
Tina was interviewed by Francine Silverman, editor of Book Promotion Newsletter, an on-line publicist, compiler of 16 ebooks of talk radio shows and host of a weekly radio show, Fraternizing with Fran – where interesting people come to chat. http://www.talkradioadvocate.com and http://talkradioadvocate.blogspot.com.
You can find out more about Tina via:
Thank you, ladies. It was great to meet you, Tina.
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my Books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, various short story collections and writer’s block workbooks) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.
For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at this blog’s Feedback page.
As I post a spotlight or interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.
I welcome items for critique directly (see Editing & Critique) or for posting on the online writing groups.