Good morning and happy post-Christmas to those that celebrate it! After my holiday food coma, it is time to get back to work here at Starving Author Industries and we start that work off with a fresh Starving Interview!
Please introduce yourself to my literary foodies!
Ahoy and greetings! I’m Tamara A. Lowery, author of the Waves of Darkness series.
Do you do any work outside of the writing kitchen? Any non-work interests?
I’ve been working in the automobile manufacturing industry for nearly seven years now. Before that I’ve held jobs in housekeeping, window treatments manufacturing, retail, and food service. I also consider myself an artist/illustrator, and I dabble in music.
What is your latest dish to be served up? Are there any past pieces of literary cuisine you think we should take a bite out of?
The sixth book in my Waves of Darkness series, The Daedalus Enigma, just became available in all e-book formats and in print in November. The other books in the series are (in order) Blood Curse, Demon Bayou, Silent Fathoms, Black Venom, and Hell’s Dodo. I also have one e-book-only short story, In the Dead of Winter, which is not related to the series but is available from the same publisher, Gypsy Shadow Publishing.
What made you want to put on the chef’s hat and whip up your own books?
I HAVE to be creative. Writing has proven one of my favorite outlets for this need.
Do you have a genre of specialty or do you dabble? Why?
I will say I dabble, even though my current catalogue of published works all fall under some aspect of Horror. The Waves of Darkness books are Horror/Adventure; my short story is Dark Fantasy. I am currently developing a Steampunk adventure serial (The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe) and prepping it to shop to publishers. I also have a dystopian novel (There Is No Arizona) I plan to begin in earnest once I’ve finished the MS for my seventh Waves of Darkness book, Maelstrom of Fate. I have several short story ideas awaiting my attention in various genres, and a New Adult Fantasy novel which has been back-burnered for a few years, A Dream of Water, based on a very vivid dream I once had.
Why do I dabble? I love variety in my reading material; why not pass that along to my readers? After all, not everyone wants to eat the same thing every day; therefore it stands to reason they wouldn’t want to read the same thing every day, either.
Style! Every literary chef aspires to have their own unique one! What do you think sets yours apart and why?
I tend toward more dialogue, but I strive to improve my descriptive and action writing. I hope to be able to put my reader in the story. I’m still developing my style, to be honest.
Even the best of us find inspiration is the dishes of others. Do you have any literary inspirations, heroes, and influences?
Anne McCaffrey, hands down, was one of the best world-builders I’ve ever read. She made her characters feel real and each of her worlds was unique and vivid. I also take inspiration from a contemporary of mine, Stephanie Osborn. She helped teach me the importance of research properly used to immerse readers in one’s world without subjecting them to an info dump. Her characterizations are spot on, as well. There are multiple authors I could add to this list.
Let’s get into the meat and potatoes: the art and craft of writing itself! Do you have a preference of points-of-view when you write?
I’m a head-jumper. I like writing third person omniscient, because I “hear” the thoughts of most of my characters. I realize this gets confusing for readers (as pointed out by my editors and beta readers), so I’ve been working on limiting my POV to that of one character per scene or chapter division… unless two characters are telepathically linked during the scene. At that point, I try to make their “voices” unique enough to tell them apart by their speech patterns. I do have one short story out on submission for a horror anthology which I’ve limited to just a single character’s POV written in third person.
Sparse or wordy, how do you like your descriptions served up? Are you a Hemmingway man or do you like some saucy adjectives with your nouns?
It depends on the individual scene and/or character. I’m sparser with descriptions than I think is good, sometimes, I admit. But I don’t want to spend three paragraphs describing the darn curtains, either.
Picking off the menu of base literary conflicts, what’s your favorite and why?
I like to see how my main character will deal with and overcome, or not, obstacles thrown at him by other characters, circumstances, or his own inner demons. How can I challenge him without boring my readers? I don’t think I always succeed at this, but I refuse to let that stop me from trying. After all, there are no failed experiments; only more data.
What do you think is more important to your recipes, plot or characterization? Why?
Characterization; readers have a need to see how a character grows and learns from their experiences. The plot for the books in the series are pretty similar; pirate captain Viktor Brandewyne must find a different Sister of Power in each book and perform some quest or task to earn a portion their magic in order to break the curse which made him a living vampire. This similarity is part of what ties the books together as a series.
We all know that the first taste means the most! What do you do to get that first bite hook with your readers?
In this series, I’ve started each book with a prologue titled Once Upon a Tide. These give the readers vignettes from various characters’ pasts which tie in with the main body of the book at some point. It’s sort of like an Easter egg hunt to find the reference back to the OUaT events.
The most important of questions: Cake or pie?
Both, but not at the same time.
Finally, if you could give one piece of advice to aspiring literary chefs out there, what would it be?
Keep practicing. Listen to advice from experts, but determine for yourself what works best for you, because tastes vary widely. Research: it’s not just for getting the facts right in your fiction; it is also a valuable tool for finding the right outlet (publishing venue) for your work and to keep realistic expectations of the obstacles you WILL face on the road to publication; rejections, and both constructive criticism, and trolling/flaming of your writing. Learn to take rejection without falling apart over it; it is GOING to happen … a LOT. Not everyone is going to like what you write, but somebody WILL, as long as you don’t give up. Never fall into the delusion that your writing is perfect. No one’s is. Every writer out there could stand to improve their skills and craft, myself especially. The learning and improving are part of the joy of writing.
I know; that was more than one piece of advice. Thanks for having me.