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Friday, March 1, 2013

Interview with Author Tamara Mataya (AKA Feaky Snucker): Multitasking & Platforming

If you participated in Pitchmas, you know you're in for a treat. If not, well, now you know you're in for a treat, since I just told you.

Tamara's represented by Marisa Cleveland of the Seymour Agency, and she loves to give back to the writing community by offering opportunities for other writers to get closer to agents and editors. She's good at multitasking and building a strong community presence, so I thought I'd ask her to share her strengths with us. Without further ado:

1. You're an author who switched from NA to YA, and from what I hear it sounds like you may be putting out some NA again soon. What's the big difference between NA and YA, and how has writing in these two different age categories affected your personal writing style?

I just write the ideas that come to me. I've always been an eclectic writer, an eclectic PERSON, really. It's the same reason I hate singing with choirs - I hate being limited to a section. What if I am totally into what the sopranos are doing? What if I want to live where the altos are at?! I hate being limited! The defining difference between YA and NA is the age group, and their shared experiences. NA is 19-24ish. They're at a different time in life - it's not about high school anymore. The characters are still young, but they're going out in the real world on their own. College, or the workforce. Living on their own. Some people think the difference is that NA has graphic sex whereas YA is closed door, or toned down. I think that's ignorant to books in general. But I've ranted about that at length on my blog haha.

I have ideas for literally EVERY category, and almost every genre. I'm lucky that I've found an agent who gets me and (so far) has loved everything I've written.

2. You've got three completed MS's that you finished within a relatively short time of each other. How does your time management work? What's the "multi-tasking" writing secret?
Yes, 3 MS's in 8 months. I think you really have to focus, and decide that your writing time is something that family/ friends have to respect. I give my husband a heads up when I'm going for a high word count day. (High word count day for me is pathetically low to some writers I know. My record is 8k words in a day). He knows if he interrupts me, that he will probably get snarled at. You have to decide your writing gets priority, and then just DO it.

I was on Query Shark a year or so ago. And my query got to yes, but it was after an embarrassing amount of revisions. But that taught me an incredible lesson - it's not what you write, it's how you revise. The words don't have to be perfect, but unless you sit down and write them, you've got nothing to polish. Just write. Fix it after. You can't polish unwritten words.

I think a lot of writers use things as an excuse as to why they CAN'T write. Having no time is a big one. MAKE time. Not having time is bullshit. NO ONE has time. You have to make the time. I don't write all day every day. If people only wrote a page a day, in a year they'd have a novel. 1 PAGE a day! Just do it. Stop making excuses. The laundry can wait.

3. You've built a rather large online platform, and from your agent-story I know that's contributing to your writing success. How long did it take you to build your current platform, and what's the number 1 thing writers need to remember as they build theirs?
I only started tweeting actively a year ago, but I'd say Twitter was a big part of it. I also interacted with people on blogs in the comment sections. People need to remember that it's give and take. You have to WANT to interact with other people. You can't just expect people to be interested in you and your writing. There's a fine line between self promotion and spamming. Don't spam people. Support others, but don't expect anything from them. Support people you care about, and be genuine. You'll find people willing to reciprocate, but don't be a self-entitled douchecanoe. Focus on the relationships, not what favours you've done for people, and who owes you ___.

4. If you could say your manuscripts had a sound, what sound would characterize each one?
As a synaesthete, this is a FABULOUS question.
When the Music Stops: A crunchy electric guitar with the gain cranked while someone wails on an alto sax.
Living in a Rubik's Cube: A low-pitched Tibetan Singing Water Bowl and someone murmuring in their sleep.
Moondreamer: An electric cello in a deep cave.

5. What's the most important sound in the world?
A contented sigh. Or the sharp intake of breath when someone understands you on a base level, before they exclaim that they Get You. 

 If you'd like to find out more about Tamara's work (doesn't it sound colorful???), follow her on twitter @TamaraMataya and check out her blog http://feakysnucker.blogspot.ca/ She's got loads of funny advice and great stories about her writing journey.


  1. Thanks for interviewing me! I LOVED your questions. :)

  2. "Not having time is bullshit. NO ONE has time."
    Amen, sister!
    I have less time than ever these days, but once I scheduled my writing time and set a word count to stick to, I immediately got more writing done than I ever did back when I "had more time."
    "don't have time" = code for "not a priority"

  3. Dear PetrePan,
    Thanks for interviewing Tamara. I enjoyed learning the difference between YA and NA.

    I loved your questions and Tamara's intriguing answers.
    Good luck to both of you with your writing.