Thursday, February 28, 2013

Welcome Author K.A. Tucker


Today we welcome author K.A. Tucker to Contessa at the Crossroads. You can also view this interview on Goodreads in the Never too Old for Y.A. Books group!

Let's look at K.A. books!

Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.
Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.
But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness

Evangeline has spent her teenage years in obscurity. Her foster parents have the emotional aptitude of robots and her classmates barely acknowledge her existence. About to turn eighteen and feeling like a social pariah, she is desperate to connect with someone. Anyone.
When Evangeline meets Sophie after literally stumbling upon her cafĂ©, she believes she’s found that connection. Willing to do anything to keep it, she accepts a job as Sofie’s assistant and drops everything to fly to Manhattan, where she is thrust into a luxurious world of Prada, diamonds, and limitless cash. 
With such generosity and kindness, it’s easy for Evangeline to dismiss certain oddities... like Sofie’s erratic and sometimes violent behavior, and the monstrous guard dogs. She’s even willing to dismiss her vivid dreams of mob-style murders, beautiful homeless people living in caves, and white-eyed demons that haunt her each night as figments of her imagination—especially when one of those figments is the gorgeous Caden. When she wakes up with bite marks on her neck, the fairy tale quickly turns into a nightmare. She slowly unravels the mystery surrounding Sofie and friends, and the reality of the bites and the “dreams.” What she discovers is far more mysterious and terrible than anything she could have imagined. 
In a world where everyone has motive to lie for personal gain, Evangeline must decide which deception is least likely to get her killed

Awesome, right? So let's here what Ms. Tucker has to say!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?  
A little over three years ago, when I was at home on maternity leave with my second child and needing mental escape. 

How long does it take you to write a book?  
It varies. My first book, Anathema, took 17 months from the day I started to the day I submitted to my editor. That book involved taking a 5 month online writing course, specifically designed to help you revise your manuscript. I learned a ton. The other 2 were significantly faster to write (about 4 months each). Ten Tiny Breaths took about 6 weeks. 

What do you think makes a great story? 
A great story is comprised of 3 things, in my opinion: 1: Characters who make you feel (hate them or love them, it doesn’t matter) 2: Tough conflict- I’m a “go big or go home” kind of writer. I try to put my characters in awful situations. Evil, I know.  3: Tight writing. I like fast-paced stories and meaningful content.  As a reader, you shouldn’t skim over paragraphs. You should devour every word. 

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?  
Repetitive. I have a demanding fulltime job and 2 small children so I can only write after 8pm when the kids are in bed or on weekends when I’ve negotiated some “mommy writing time” with my husband. I write 7 days a week, without fail. 

How do you balance family and writing? 
Not particularly well. I think my family and friends now understand that I won’t answer the phone on weeknights after my kids are in bed because a 30 minute phone conversation means 25-50% less writing time that night.  

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?  
I’m in my head a lot when I’m plotting a book. I like to jump on the treadmill to think (and to burn off all the late-night snacking while I write). Commuting time is normally plot-building time. Ideas just come to me and then I see where I can take them. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
How invested I would become in my characters. They are real people with real feelings (Man, I WISH Trent was real….shhh. Don’t tell my husband. He’s already jealous) 

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite? 
I have published 4 and am working on my 5th. My favorite? You can’t ask me that… that’s like picking a favorite child!

Are your characters based on anyone you know?
Not directly. I’m sure there are qualities that creep in but I try to keep my books and characters as unrelated to my own life as possible. Especially the hot scenes… because, really, that would be weird. My family would look at me funny. 

Do you have a favorite place you love to write? 
My bedroom is my cave when I’m writing. I’ve grown so comfortable in there. In the odd circumstance when my house is empty and I have a day off, I like to write in the kitchen where it’s bright and sunny.   

Tell us one thing we wouldn’t know already know about you.
Hmm… I was in a tornado when I was 6 years old. I think that experience—understanding shock and what being plagued by reoccurring nightmares is like—has helped shape some of my writing. 

What do your family and friends think about your books?
I have extremely supportive friends and family. My husband reads all of my books.  

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I’m a big cottage lover. Living in Ontario, we’re all about going north on weekends in the summer. Don’t ever offer your cottage up to me if you don’t mean it because you will find me on your doorstep with a bottle of wine, guaranteed. 

Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they?
Read a lot. Read in your genre and outside of it. Don’t just read as a reader, though. Study the author’s voice, how characters and their back stories are developed, how the author begins and end scenes, how the story starts.  Do this to help shape your own voice (not to mimic someone else’s). The other suggestion? Write. Write. Write. Write. You will never improve your craft without writing. I’ve learned the biggest lessons from working with editors. I actually enjoy working with them, to see what they change and why. 

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
When I was six, I did write a few books and “published” them in my school library. I’m not sure that I officially wanted to be an author at that point. I think I was aiming for something along the lines of “princess”Going forward, I’ve gone through every phase: teacher, doctor, pathologist (yeah, that’s a weird one). I ended up in business, doing various roles in sales and marketing. 

What are your favorite books and which authors inspire you?
George R.R. Martin is my all time favorite author. You know why? Because of his brilliant character development and his ability to kill off main characters without killing the story. His Song of Ice and Fire series should be read by anyone wanting to write a book. 
 
For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for writing a successful book?
DO expect to do several drafts before you’re done. DO get an editor. DO get a beta reader(s) if at all possible (not a family member. You want someone who reads a lot and in that genre; someone who will provide sound and truthful feedback to help you). DO create a writing schedule for yourself. Most of us are strapped for time. You’ll need to make sacrifices but once you’ve found your groove, you’ll find you have an urge to write regularly. 
DON’T give up. Ever. If the story doesn’t feel right, step away and start another one. 

What are you working on now?
I’ve started One Tiny Lie to follow Ten Tiny Breaths. It is Livie’s story and I can’t wait to see where it goes. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today, Kathleen. It's been awesome having you here!

Born in small-town Ontario, Kathleen published her first book at the age of six with the help of her elementary school librarian and a box of crayons. 
She is a voracious reader and the farthest thing from a genre-snob, loving everything from High Fantasy to Chick Lit. 
Kathleen currently resides in a quaint small town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and an exhausting brood of four-legged creatures. 


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