Today there is something new here on the blog, something that has never been here before... an author interview! Not just any author either but the author of one of my newest favorite series (I reviewed all three books currently released over on the other blog, two today) so give a warm welcome to Tate Hallaway! She kindly agreed to answer all my strange and weird questions for which I'm eternally grateful.
Tink: Please describe your series and your heroine in your own words.
Tate: Garnet Lacey is a lovable flake with a dark side, namely the Goddess Lilith with whom she accidentally bonded when some witch hunters killed her coven.
Tink: Which book have you enjoyed writing the most (so far)?
Tate: Honestly? DEAD IF I DO. Do you know the story of Athena? How she supposedly sprung fully formed from Zeus’ head, well, that is how I remember the process of writing this latest book… only minus the gigantic headache.
Tink: Garnet is sitting at Holy Grounds drinking a honey latte, what (music, etc.) or who (person, etc.) is she listening to?
Tate: Garnet is listening to “Modest Mouse” and gossiping with the barista, Izzy, about all the crazy goings on in their lives.
Tink: Sebastian and Garnet decide to have a movie night on the couch complete with popcorn and Barney, what did they pick up from the video store?
Tate: Oh, I think they argued about it. They even have two movies. I can see Sebastian having sophisticated taste and wanting something foreign or artsy. Garnet would totally fall asleep watching something like that. She probably advocated for some light romantic comedy or _possibly_ even fantasy, ala one of the “Harry Potter” movies, though if she got that she’d have to make snarky comments about how Hollywood doesn’t understand “real” magic.
Tink: Do you have a set idea planned for the ending of this series or are you flying by the seat of your pants?
Tate: Seat of the pants all the way, sister. I don’t even know how I’m going to answer the next question you ask much less how the next scene in the novel is going. An over arching plan? What is this “plan” you speak of??
Tink: What books would you suggest for someone who would like to learn more about Garnet's religion? (optional question)
Tate: Oh, I love this question, because Garnet’s religion is MY religion. I have lots of favorites. One of my current favorites is a very subtle book. It contains no spells or “Wicca 101” or any of that. It’s called RED-HAIRED GIRL FROM THE BOG by Patricia Monaghan and it’s really more of a memoir with travelogue of Ireland and Goddess mythology tossed in for good measure. But anyone who reads it will understand, I think, on a profound and deep level what it is that Garnet (and I) believes as a Witch. But there are other really great books out there that are more straight-forward, like SPIRAL DANCE by Starhawk or Diane Stein’s CASTING THE CIRCLE: A WOMAN’S BOOK OF RITUAL.
Tink: Where did the name Garnet Lacey come from? Are there any stories behind other character names?
Tate: Someone else asked me this and it really reflects back to the whole “seat of one’s pants” issue. You’d think with a name like Garnet I’d have some great story about what the gemstone means to her character or how I’m juxtaposing hard stone and soft lace, but, really, I just came across Garnet in a name book and thought it sounded cool. Lacey I got from a phone book.
Any cool associations must just be Magic!
(The gemstone thing was my assumption lol)
Tink: Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?
Tate: A ton. I have this thing about having the right notebook. I do all my composition on computer, but I take working notes in pen on paper, and I spend a lot of time when I’m starting a new book choosing just the right stuff. I love journals and cool pens, and any excuse to buy more works for me.
For a while I was actually lighting a candle before starting writing, but… I ran out of candles. Seriously.
Tink: What are you currently reading? What do you think some of your characters may be reading?
Tate: I am currently reading non-fiction witchcraft books. I’m re-reading Scott Cunningham’s INCENSE, OILS AND BREWS. I’ve been out of the fiction mood for a few months. It’s really weird, but sometimes when I’m writing fiction I don’t feel much like reading… sort like the opposite of what happens to college/grad students when they’re deep in their studies. They crave fiction because their “job” is all about non-fiction.
William is reading something like “Area 51 and the Bermuda Triangle,” Garnet could be reading a fun romance, like say one of the Viking series by Sandra Hill or Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Sebastian is probably reading something in old German about alchemy. Actually, I found a book the other day about Roger Bacon’s secret alchemical manuscript. He’d totally be all over that.
Tink: Out of all the stories in this series, what one scene are you most proud of or the one you like the most?
Tate: You assume I remember anything after I’ve written it. *grin*
But, let’s see, I think I am most proud of the funny bits. Writing stuff that makes people laugh is harder than you’d think.
Tink: Do you (and Garnet) have a favorite Disney or animated movie film/ character?
Tate: WALL*E for Garnet. She’s all about that pro-environmental message plus good, heart-wrenching romance. For me, as a parent, Dory in FINDING NEMO. She gave me parenting advice to live by: “If nothing ever happens to him, it won’t be much fun for little Harpo, now would it?” or however she says that.
Tink: I read that Garnet almost became an amateur detective in a mystery series, would you still like to write mysteries one day?
Tate: Oh yes, and my newest amateur detective idea – fish! I have a secret life as a fresh water aquarist (fish keeper) and I’ve amassed enough weird, bizarre fish problem stories that I could easily write convincingly about a woman who runs a fish club / aquarium society. People could kill each other over the prized “bat fish” or whatever, plus there are plenty of fish that are venomous and could be used as murder weapons!
(I could easily see this as a Prime Crime mystery!)
Tink: You’ve written about Goddesses and a God, vampires, and even zombies. Do you have any other mythical or supernatural creatures you would like to (or plan to) use in your series?
Tate: I’m thinking really hard about faeries. One of the things I tend to enjoy about writing in the urban fantasy/paranormal romance genre is the opportunity to write against the tropes. Faeries are often sort of cute and non-threatening, and it would be fun to write a scary, kick-ass hottie faerie boy.
Also, I started a proposal for a new Garnet book that involved elementals and the god Eros, but I haven’t even finished them, much less sent them to my editor. So I guess I’ll keep you posted.
Tink: Has anything in the books ever surprised you? Something you hadn’t even considered happening happened?
Tate: Every book surprises me. For me, that’s the real joy in writing. I know a number of authors who plan every move their character makes because they have a lot of fear about writing themselves into corners. I believe that corners can be turned or that you can fight your way out of them (unleash Lilith – bang, no more corner!) Although I follow an outline, which is one I’ve set out in the synopsis I’ve sent my editor before I’ve written a single word, I’m very organic and always allow my characters the chance to live their own lives.
William wasn’t originally meant to punch anyone, and he surprised me when he did. Also, the fact that he seems to be dating another guy right now – that was unexpected. Izzy and Mátyás hooking up? They didn’t tell me about that in advance either.
Apparently, my characters live on even after I close the book, you know what I mean?
Tink: Do the titles have a story behind them, were they the original ones you had chosen? If not what were?
Tate: The titles were all chosen by me (and my much more clever writerly friends), with the exception of ROMANCING THE DEAD which I had proposed as Drop-Dead Gorgeous, which Mary Janice Davidson got to first. I offered Dead on Arousal which my writing colleague Sean M. Murphy came up with, but they didn’t go for it.
The biggest headache with this series, in my opinion, is coming up with new punny, cute DEAD titles, especially since both Mary Janice and Charlaine Harris are using DEAD titles.
(I can easily see how that would be a pain lol)
Tink: Any further Q&A I didn’t think of or anything else you would like to add? How about some random trivia (or a unique fact)?
Tate: I’m currently working on finishing up the next Garnet book HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD which should be out sometime in 2010. I am also happy to report that I’m contracted for a new young-adult series with the working subtitle, THE VAMPIRE PRINCESS OF SAINT PAUL. That YA series will involve a dhampyr, vampires and Witches though it’s not entirely clear to me yet if it exists in the same universe as Garnet. However, it’s meant as a kind of companion piece to the adult series.
As for random trivia, I’ve done the horoscope of both Garnet and Sebastian, though I rarely consult them. Originally, I’d thought I might. One of the things astrologers do from time to time is predictive astrology where one progresses the chart in the future and tries to tell you about what up coming crises you might face. I’d thought it might fun to see what the future hold that way, but I’ve found that those issues tend to be more mundane than anything I can pull out of my ass… uh, brain.
That was a ton of fun to think of the questions and to conduct this interview with such a talented author. Thank you again for answering all my odd, nosy questions Tate!