I’ve got a special treat for you guys today. I’m participating in the blog tour for Stacy Overby’s new release, Tattoos! Stacy’s a great writer and I’m super excited to help promote her work and share this interview.
Tell me a bit about the book you’re promoting. What inspired it?
Tattoos came from a love of science fiction. However, I tend to shy away from a lot of hard sci-fi because I lose focus and can’t engage well with the story for all the science being added to the stories. Maybe it’s just because I didn’t find good hard sci-fi, not sure. But I wanted sci-fi more reminiscent of Star Wars, where the characters and the story were the bigger players. The space and science type stuff were there, but played more of a supporting role. Combine that with a healthy dose of “Oh crap, NaNoWriMo starts in two days. What am I writing about?”, and Tattoos was born back in 2011.
This question keeps coming up and I struggle every time to answer it. There are so many good authors out there I have a hard time picking just one. For big name authors, I tend to go with Neil Gaiman, Douglas Adams, Anne Bishop, and Anne McCaffery. They have such a knack for great story-telling with characters who feel real. Indie authors are just as tough because I have the privilege of knowing so many who are wonderful. I’d have to put JK Allen, Rebekah Jonsey, Rebecca Pierce, Robert Cano, Eric Keizer, and Sam DeLoach on my list. They all have a gift for bringing the reader into their words, be it in poetry or in verse, and creating something bigger as a result.
Favorite underrated read?
I would have to go with the Major Ariane Kedros series by Laura E. Reeve. It’s a military sci-fi series that I stumbled across, but rarely hear much about. I think Reeve did a nice job of balancing the science part of the science fiction with the story and character elements.
Who/What influences your work?
Obviously, Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had an influence. I can’t pull off the truly absurd the way Adams did, but I love the “anything goes” way he wrote and it all worked in the end. It’s that daring that I aspire to. Honestly, though, some of the themes and a lot of the emotion stems from my day job. I’m the program director for an adolescent substance abuse/mental health treatment program. I used to be a case manager for them for 4 years prior to taking the director position. In that time I’ve heard so many dark, scary, heart-breaking, angering, frustrating, hurtful, etc. stories from kids it’s almost unbelievable. Part of my own self care with all of that has become my writing. I channel all of that into my fictional/poetical worlds. That’s why they so often take a darker bent. Not always, though. There are some lighter spots.
What’s your ideal writing space? What’s your actual writing space?
Let me start with my actual writing space. It’s pretty much anywhere I am in that five minutes. Between my job, my other hobbies, and my family’s stuff, I’m so all over the place, I’ve had to learn to write on the fly. The backs of receipts dug out of my purse while putting gas in have been fair game in the past, as has the margins of flyers sitting poolside at my son’s swimming lessons.
Ideally, I’d have a nice office type spot with a couch and that is totally off limits to anyone else in my house. It’s also not allowed to collect all the clutter and junk because that’s the convenient place to throw it. Lots of windows and light as well. Plus good speakers for music and room for yoga. I’d also have family pictures along with my various fandom stuff up everywhere.
How do you get in “the zone” before sitting down to write? Do you have any rituals?
Again, I tend to forego most rituals for time’s sake. However, one thing that does help me stay in “the zone” is that I build playlists for my major projects. That way, I can listen to them while I’m driving or doing things where I can’t write. They keep me in the right frame of mind for the characters and events in the book. Here’s the post I did sharing some of my playlist for Tattoos – thisisnothitchhikersguide.com/2018/12/15/my-soundtrack-for-tattoos/
What’s the first thing you ever wrote?
Ever, ever? That was a really bad piece back in about third grade with a wizard and an elf and I don’t remember what else. I even got another kid in my class to draw some pictures to go with it. Man, I thought I was cool with that story. I wonder if I still have that somewhere…
What piece of advice would you give a young writer just starting out?
It’s a tough business to be in. I know it’s easy to think that all you’ve got to do is put words on a page and how hard can that be? But there’s so much more. Getting that story down is only the first step of a long journey. Persevere, though, and that journey is so worth it. All the work that comes after getting those first words down is about making sure every possible bit of that story looks its best and shines as beautiful as possible. It’s also about getting that story in front of readers to enjoy. Remember that when the road gets tough and you want to quit. I don’t know that anyone loves your story as much as you do. It deserves all of that work to be the best it can so that readers can see it for the amazing story it is.
When you’re not writing, what are you up to?
Sleeping? Wait, I already gave most of that up. Kidding, mostly. I love spending time outside. Hiking, camping, photography. It’s all great. I also love spending time with my family. My son’s six now and he’s getting into Cub Scouts, swimming, and such. So we spend quite a bit of time at the pool or Cub Scout events. I also quilt and crochet. Oh, and I love to cook. At least when I have time.
You can purchase Tattoos at the following links: