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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Author Interview with T.Z. Wallace, and I am Batman's Best Friend

Two great things happened to me today: one, I had an incredibly realistic dream where I took down the Joker, and two, I got this author interview back from Ms. T.Z. Wallace. You can now call me Robin, or Nightwing if you wish, and then to quench your jealousy about my apprenticeship to Batman, you can read about Ms. Wallace. One of my favorite things about trying to become "a real writer" has been meeting all the other "real writers" out there who have glorious stories of their own to tell--that's one of my favorite things about writing conferences, actually--and Ms. Wallace is no exception! Ms. Wallace put an incredibly popular first 250 words up on Miss Snark's First Victim just a few months ago--you should check out her excerpt here, on her blog. I'm really looking forward to see what she does in the next few years. But here she is, for herself:

Petre Pan: What is the most important sound in the world--if you had to sum up the entire world in one sound, what would that sound be?   
T.Z.: The sound of the word “mom.”  That sound encompasses childlike innocence and uncertainty and fear and hope and desperation and promise.  It is the sound that calls to me in the night and rouses me from the warmth and safety of my bed.  It is the sound that calls forth everything fearless and primal in me.

Petre Pan: What sound would describe your writing style?  
 T.Z.: The sound, “Ahh!”  I try to craft my stories so that the readers get to piece things together and have moments of discovery and excitement.  Things that may have initially seemed unimportant may have a larger meaning; I love the idea of readers scrutinizing words and phrases, places and things to try to determine whether they serve a greater purpose in the story.  I have read books like that…where I was “rewarded” for remembering a detail, some minutia, and I always felt like the author and I shared a secret.  I love that feeling and I want to give that to my readers.

Petre Pan: What word do you overuse when you write?   
T.Z.: Said.  A lot of my work is character and dialogue driven.  They are a chatty bunch.  For a while I tried to find various words to substitute, but it feels less authentic and was distracting. 

Petre Pan: What's the most challenging part of the writing process for you?   
T.Z.: Definitely finding TIME for writing.  Or, rather, finding time for what I want to be writing.  I write at my day job, and I write to pay the bills, and then there is the work of my heart…my novel and short stories.  Too often these things I most long to write are the very things that I neglect.  But I am getting paid to write these other things, so I can’t complain.  I am, however, hoping to rearrange things a bit so that I can free up more time for the stories I really want to tell.

Petre Pan: What's the hardest disappointment you've ever experienced in your writing/publishing journey? 
 T.Z: I am still relatively early in the journey, so I haven’t had any crushing experiences yet (oh, but give me time!).  I think that mostly I disappoint myself by not doing more. 

Petre Pan: What's the greatest achievement/happiest high you've reached on your writing journey?  
 T.Z.: I have a lot of little victories with my writing.  Like when I reread something that I wrote and I get goose-bumps and think, “Geez!  Did I write that?”  or when I surpass my word count for the day, or when I stumble upon a phrase or event or detail that wraps up some plot point perfectly.

Petre Pan: What do you do outside of writing? 
 T.Z.: I love to read (duh!), and I like to garden, and I taught myself to knit (I am pathetic really, and only know two stitches, but it makes me happy).  I also have a glaring of cats (apparently a bunch of cats can also be called a “clowder,” but that doesn’t sound arrogant enough for my felines, so I am sticking with a “glaring”).  Stray cats tend to find me and stick around.  I am the crazy cat lady you heard about as a child.  I also love to cook.  For me, October through February is “High Baking Season,” and I am never happier than having a rainy or snowy day where I can put something in the oven to bake, peck away at a story on the laptop, and pad around the warm house in my wool socks drinking hot tea. 

Petre Pan: What's the best writing advice you've received (that you remember)? 
 T.Z.: My grandma once told me “Don’t dally about, just put pen to paper and get on with it.”  I guess that is as straight forward as it gets, and it has served me well.  If I talk about it too much I get nothing done.  If I over-think it I get bogged down.  Best for me to just write and sort it out later.

Petre Pan: When did you start writing fiction, and why?
T.Z.: I have always written stories down and tucked them away.  I was a latch-key kid in elementary school, and I remember long summers (before cable and internet) when there were only three or four channels and they were all showing re-runs.  So I read.  But sometimes the characters didn’t do what I thought they should and I found it rather annoying.  Then I discovered that if I wrote the stories that I could control what happened.  (Or so I thought.  I have since learned that my characters tend to do as they wish and I just try to keep up with them and write it all down!)  But that is when I started writing.  I wrote a lot. 

  Petre Pan: What do you write? 
 T.Z.: I tend to gravitate toward mystery, dystopian, and horror.  I guess I am fascinated by the darker aspects of a story.  I have a bit of a…ahem…Southern Gothic family history, and it makes me smirk a bit when I try to write warm fuzzy stories--it all feels so contrived to me.  

So there you have it! Go check her out! Over here! There! Look!

4 comments:

  1. Oh glorious, the new colors look much better!

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! I clicked around your site a bit and noticed you like opposites, or relationships between opposing forces. I dunno if you'd be interested in swapping work with me? I have a novel about Paradox Warriors, who study opposites in nature and spirituality and use them in battle, and if you're working on anything 'opposites' related that isn't already published, I'd love to check it out! I noticed you have a lot of things already published, so I might be totally useless, but hey, I thought I'd make the offer. I think I'm a pretty good critique-er, and I love reading new things! XD

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    2. Thanks so much for the wonderfully quirky questions and sharing your thoughts and insights with me! I loved getting your perspective on writing.

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