We're lucky to have a guest blogger today to get you in the Halloween spirit (and thanks to my great critique group, who supplied some very interesting questions for her!). Tabitha Shay writes wonderful books full of witches, werewolves, vampires and romance. She spent fourteen years in nursing until a near fatal accident changed her life and sent her back to her first love; writing romances. She has spent more than thirty years writing novels and spinning tales for her family's entertainment. Her first novel, "Witch's Brew" won Second Honorable Mention in 2006 at the OWFI Convention and "Witch's Heart" took First Place in 2007. She is hard at work on the twelve-book series of the Winslow Witches of Salem and promises many surprises along the way, more romance and of course, more trouble for her witches. Tabitha lives at the foot of the world's highest hill in Poteau, Oklahoma with her husband and two dogs, a poodle named Snuggles and a Shi'tzu named Buttons who is the spoiled baby of the family.
We'll end this day by having a drawing around 8PM CST. EVERYONE WHO LEAVES A COMMENT WILL HAVE THEIR NAME DROPPED IN THE WITCH'S HAT FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A SIGNED COPY OF TABITHA'S LATEST BOOK, WITCH'S MAGIC....SO BE SURE AND CHECK BACK FOR THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE WINNER'S NAME SO I CAN GET YOUR SNAIL MAIL ADDY TO MAIL YOU YOUR PRIZE....TABS
1) Do you find that paranormal stories are running their course for popularity, or are they here to stay? I THINK THEY'LL BE HERE AWHILE YET. I DON'T KNOW ANYONE WHO'S TRIED OF HOT, SEXY VAMPS, WERES OR EVEN DEMONS. THE THING IS AN AUTHOR CAN TAKE THESE CREATURES TO JUST ABOUT ANY LEVEL SHE/HE WANTS, MAKE THEM HER OWN, CREATE WORLDS WHERE THERE ARE NO STANDARD RULES.
2) What motivates you to keep going on a story when you get stuck? .HONESTLY, I RARELY GET STUCK. MY MIND IS CHURNING CONSTANTLY. IF ANYTHING, I NEED TO SLOW DOWN WITH THE IDEAS. (LAUGHS) I CAN'T SLEEP AT NIGHT FOR PLOTTING.
3) Are you a plotter or a pantser? I'M AN ORIGINAL...I'M A PANSTER-PLOTTER...I PLOT IN MY MIND AT NIGHT WHEN I'M RESTING, THEN USE WHAT I PLOTTED THE NEXT DAY. I DON'T PLOT VERY FAR AHEAD, A FEW LINES OR A SINGLE SCENE. MOST OF MY WRITING COMES RIGHT OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD.
4) How do you feel about the increase in E-sales vs paperback releases?? Does it make it easier or harder for new authors to become published by reputable publishers?? .HMM, TOUGH QUESTION...I DON'T THINK IT MAKES IT HARDER. THERE A LOT OF E-PUBLISHED AUTHORS WHO NOW PUBLISH WITH THE BIGGER NY PUBLISHERS WHO MIGHT OTHERWISE HAVE SPENT YEARS TRYING TO GET THEIR FOOT IN THE DOOR OR EVEN NEVER MADE IT THROUGH AT ALL. IT'S A GREAT STEPPING-STONE TO BIGGER AND BETTER THINGS.
5) Book series' such as the Harry Potter and Twilight books have really opened up the mainstream market for books with paranormal themes, how do you feel about the sudden popularity that these particular authors have celebrated? What do you believe contributed to it? PERSONALLY, I HAVEN'T READ ANY OF THE BOOKS BY THESE TWO AUTHORS, ALTHOUGH I'VE WATCHED THE MOVIES. I LOVED THE HARRY POTTER MOVIES, THOUGHT THE TWIGHLIGHT MOVIE WAS A LITTLE SLOW. AS FAR AS THOSE TWO PARTICULAR AUTHORS BEING THE ONE WHO OPENED THE MARKET FOR PARANORMAL BOOKS, I'D SAY THE HARRY POTTER BOOKS CONTRIBUTED A LOT, BUT WHEN IT COMES TO PARANORMAL ROMANCES, I'D HAVE TO GO WITH CHRISTINE FEEHAN'S BOOKS OVER THE TWILIGHT SERIES. I'D MUCH RATHER SEE HER NOVELS MADE INTO MOVIES AND AM WAITING FOR THE DAY THAT HAPPENS. ALSO, KAREN MARIE MONING IS A WONDERFUL PARANORMAL ROMANCE AUTHOR. KEEP WRITING LADIES.
6) How long was your first published novel finished before you found the right home for it? WITCH'S BREW WAS MY FIRST PUBLISHED NOVEL. IT TOOK ME TWO YEARS TO WRITE IT. AND WHEN I STARTED IT, I HAD NO INTENTION OF EVEN SUBMITTING IT. I STARTED SENDING OUT QUERIES FOR AN AGENT ABOUT THREE MONTHS BEFORE I FINISHED WRITING THE NOVEL, THEN PRAYED LIKE CRAZY NO ONE WOULD ASK FOR THE COMPLETED MANUSCRIPT. (LAUGHS)...ANYWAY, I GOT THE STANDARD, THANKS, BUT NO THANKS. IN THE MEANTIME, I FINISHED WRITING IT AND WANTED A VIDEO MADE OF IT. I WAS VERY LUCKY THAT I WAS ALREADY ACQUAINTED WITH AN AUTHOR ONLINE WHO MADE VIDEOS. SHORTLY AFTER SHE MADE MY FIRST VIDEO, SHE STARTED HER OWN PUBLISHING COMPANY AND ASKED ME TO SUBMIT WITCH'S BREW. I ALMOST DIDN'T DO IT BECAUSE OF THE REFUSALS I'D HAD ALREADY FROM AGENTS. THEN I DECIDED I HAD NOTHING TO LOSE. IMAGINE MY SHOCK WHEN I RECEIVED AN ACCEPTANCE EMAIL FROM THE ACQUIRING EDITOR.
7) I notice you choose some very unusual names for your characters in your books. I LIKE UNUSUAL NAMES. I THINK THEY MAKE A CHARACTER JUMP OFF THE PAGES AND MAKES THEM MORE MEMORABLE. Do they just come to you or do you look them up to find their meaning? SOME JUST COME TO ME. VALERIAN'S NAME I MADE UP BECAUSE ORIGINALLY, I WAS GOING TO CALL HIM VAL P., BUT LATER I CHANGED MY MIND AND STUCK WITH USING VALERIAN OR VAL THROUGH OUT THE BOOK. THE OTHER VAMPIRE NAMES, I USED A SEARCH FOR MALE ROMANIAN NAMES AND CHOSE THEIR NAMES FROM THE LISTS I FOUND.Or do you use a mix of naming techniques, such as Valerian sounds very old-fashioned, perfect for a vampire, while Shasta sounds much more modern. SHASTA IS THE NAME OF ONE OF MY NIECES. I TEND TO USE FAMILY NAMES FOR MY HEROINES, MORE SO THAN THE MALES IN MY FAMILY. (LAUGHS0 I DON'T KNOW WHY, OTHER THAN IT'S THE FEMALES IN THE FAMILY WHO READ MY BOOKS, SO I LIKE TO SURPRISE THEM BY USING THEIR NAMES. IN WITCH'S BREW, THE HEROINE'S NAME IS SAYLYM, AGAIN, I HAVE A GREAT NIECE NAMED THIS, BUT THE SPELLING IS DIFFERENT. MY NIECE'S IS SPELLED SALYM.
8) Are you a member of any writing critique groups and if so how do you feel about your critique partners? I WAS A MEMBER OF AN ONLINE WRITING CRITIQUE GROUP AND THEY WERE AND ARE GREAT. I LEARNED A LOT FROM THIS SMALL GROUP. UNFORTUNATELY, TWO OF THE LADIES PASSED AWAY ONLY A FEW MONTHS APART AND THAT SORT OF TOOK THE WIND OUT OF OUR SAILS. I THINK WE ALL MOSTLY DRIFTED AFTER THAT AND I'VE LOST CONTACT WITH ALL BUT THREE OF THEM NOW. ONE OF THEM IS FELLOW AUTHOR, LAURA HERBERTSON AND SHE'S STILL MY CRIT PARTNER AND SHE'S GREAT. I'D BE LOST WITHOUT HER INPUT AND HELP. ANOTHER IS AUTHOR, RENEE MICHAELS, A GREAT FRIEND. I'M ALSO A MEMBER OF A LOCAL WRITING AND CRITIQUE GROUP, GREEN COUNTRY RUFF RITER'S.
9) If you could cast a spell on someone would you? (LAUGHS0 A FUN QUESTION....CAST A SPELL? SURE, WHY NOT?...HOW ABOUT THAT HOT HUNKY COWBOY EYING ME OVER THERE AT THE BAR OR THAT YUMMY VAMPIRE. OH YEAH, DEFINITELY FOR THE LOVE! And would it be for love or money? AHH YES, SEE ABOVE....(GIGGLES)
10) What writers inspire you and which writers do you enjoy reading? I THINK MAYBE I ALREADY GAVE THIS ONE AWAY. AS I SAID, I LOVE CHRISTINE FEEHAN'S VAMPIRE SERIES. THIS WOMAN CAN WRITE. BOTH SHE AND KAREN MONING INSPIRE ME, BUT I'D ALSO HAVE TO INCLUDE JULIE GARWOOD, LINDA HOWARD AND JUDITH MCNAUGHT ALONG WITH THESE OTHER TWO INSPIRING LADIES. GREAT NOVELISTS.
11) What do you wish you'd known when you first submitted? TO REALLY HAVE MY MANUSCRIPT FINISHED AND POLISHED TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY. I DID KNOW THIS, I JUST SORT OF SHRUGGED IT OFF THINKING I'D NEVER BE PUBLISHED...BUT YOU NEVER KNOW, SO DON'T SUBMIT UNTIL YOUR WORK IS TRULY READY.
12) What's your favorite part of writing? THE BEGINNING...GETTING THAT FIRST CHAPTER DOWN. ONCE I DO THAT, EVERYTHING SEEMS TO FALL IN PLACE FOR ME. Your least favorite?...FINAL EDITS. BY THIS TIME I'VE READ MY OWN WORK SO MANY TIMES, I'VE BEGUN TO HAVE DOUBTS THAT IT'S ANY GOOD AT ALL, NOTHING SEEMS RIGHT AND I JUST WANT TO SAY FORGET IT, IT'S THE WORST THING I'VE EVER WRITTEN...
13) Who's your favorite fictional character and why. NOT SURE ABOUT THIS QUESTION. DIDN'T KNOW IF YOU MEANT ONE OF MY OWN CHARACTERS OR ANOTHER AUTHOR'S...IF MY OWN....I LOVE DYM. HIS STORY WILL TOLD IN WITCH'S TOUCH, BOOK SIX WHICH WILL BE RELEASED AROUND SEPT., IN 2010...I THINK BECAUSE HE'S SUCH AN UNUSUAL HERO. HE'S DEATH, LITERALLY...AND THE ONE THING THE HEROINE IS MOST TERRIFIED OF IS DYING...SO THIS MAKES FOR A WONDERFUL TALE FILLED WITH CONFLICT AND DEEP EMOTION...IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT ANOTHER AUTHOR'S CHARACTER, I'D HAVE TO GO WITH MARC CHASTAIN FROM LINDA HOWARD'S, KILL AND TELL...THERE'S JUST SOMETHING ABOUT THIS NEW ORLEANS DETECTIVE THAT STAYS WITH YOU LONG AFTER YOU PUT THE BOOK DOWN...THAT'S THE KIND OF HEROES I WANT TO CREATE, THE ONES WHO STAY WITH A READER FOR MONTHS, EVEN YEARS AFTER THE BOOK WAS READ.
14) How did you start writing about vampires? I DIDN'T START OUT WANTING TO WRITE ABOUT VAMPIRES. I WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT MALE WITCHES, BUT AS I STARTED WRITING WITCH'S BREW AND REALIZED IT WAS GOING TO BE A SERIES, I DECIDED TO BRING IN ALL THE OTHER REALMS TO UP THE STAKES WHEN THE WAR FINALLY ERUPTS IN RU-NOC. BY USING SO MANY DIFFERENT REALMS IN THE SERIES, IT GAVE ME SO MUCH FREEDOM TO CREATE SO MANY UNIQUE CHARACTERS SO THE STORIES DON'T JUST CENTER AROUND THE WINSLOW WITCHES, BUT TELLS HOW THEY CAME INTO BEING AND HOW THEIR RACES BECOME MIXED AND HOW THIS WILL AFFECT THE SURVIVAL OF THEIR SPECIES. Was it something you'd always wanted to do? NO. ACTUALLY, WRITING PARANORMALS WAS NOT SOMETHING I PLANNED. I'D ALWAYS WRITTEN CONTEMPORARY WESTERN ROMANCES. I HADN'T EVEN CONSIDERED I'D CHANGED GENRES WHEN I STARTED WRITING WB UNTIL AN AUTHOR FRIEND OF MINE SAID, "OH, YOU'RE WRITING A PARARNORMAL." (GIGGLES) Or were you inspired by other books/movies? MY INSPIRATION FOR WB CAME FROM THE EAGLES SONG, WITCHY WOMAN. I'D LISTENED TO THAT SONG HUNDREDS OF TIMES, BUT ONE MORNING, WHILE SINGING ALONG, THE IDEA FOR WB POPPED INTO MY HEAD OUT OF THE BLUE.
15) How do you go about building the world that these people live in? HMMM. THIS TAKES A LOT OF THINKING AND PLANNING. I HAVE TO GET A PICTURE IN MY HEAD OF HOW I WANT THEIR WORLD TO LOOK. THE WORLDS I BUILD I TRY TO PLAN AHEAD AND ASK MYSELF SOME OF THESE QUESTIONS... WHAT COLOR IS THEIR SKY. HOW MANY MOONS DO THEY HAVE, IF MORE THAN ONE ARE THEY THE SAME COLOR OR DIFFERENT. WHAT KIND OF FOOD WILL THEY EAT? WHAT KIND OF CLOTHES, THEIR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS...HOW DO THEY TRAVEL FROM POINT A TO POINT B...FAMILY. PROFESSION...IT GETS VERY DEEP AND COMPLICATED.
16) Are you completely satisfied with your experiences with an e-publisher, or would you still like to sell to a NY house? I LOVE E-PUBLISHING. IT GAVE ME MY START AND THE FREEDOM TO BE AS CREATIVE AS I WANT TO BE. I'M RARELY, IF EVER, CENSORED BY MY PUBLISHER AND I LIKE THAT, BUT OH YES, I'D LOVE TO SELL TO A NY HOUSE. HOWEVER, MY HOPES ARE MORE REALISTIC AND I HAVE DOUBTS THAT WILL EVER HAPPEN. IN THE MEANTIME, I'M HAPPY TO SEE MY BOOKS IN PRINT BY MY E-PUBLISHER.