Mirror Interview with Tim Therien

“Mirror, Mirror on the ceiling…”

Now that I have your attention, I don’t actually have a mirror on the ceiling. In fact, the only mirror in my apartment is the one in the bathroom. I take a quick look at myself once a day to make sure I’m presentable to the world, other than that I avoid mirrors with the fervor of a vampire. After reading the clever, witty and intelligent “mirror interviews” featured her at “Readful Things” I have to admit to being a little intimidated. For starters I am not a big fan of tooting my own horn. If I took tooting my own horn I might just have to get that mirror for the ceiling. That said; let’s get on to the crux of it, shall we?

On Poetry

Poetry is very near and dear to me and perhaps I will always be a Poet first and a Writer second. I do make a distinction between the two. Both may be mediums of the written word, but I believe Poetry is more akin to Music than to Prose, especially in its connection to the soul. While Prose may be poetic, it does not make it Poetry.

I am a big proponent of writing in Form, or at least having the ability to do so. I don’t think someone should be able to call themselves a Poet without first being able to express themselves in at least one of the Fixed Forms of Poetry. I am not anti-Free Verse, in fact most of what I have written was without thought of form, but I do believe most Free Versed Poems would have been better served being put into Prose.

On Writing

I take writing very seriously, probably more seriously than I should. I was almost illiterate when I left school at age 15 and taught myself to read and write. I take great pride in that accomplishment. People have called me a “Natural Talent,” but they did not witness the long hard years I’ve dedicated to this craft. It has taken more than thirty years to get from barely being able to fill out a job application to penning these words you now read. This in my mind is not talent, but perseverance. Writing has been my Life’s Labour and my Life’s Love.

Writing is so much more than sitting in a room and putting pen to paper. That is only a small part of it. The bulk of writing is living life, experiencing things, seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. It is these things that allow the Writer to relate to the reader. If someone cloistered themselves off from the world and wrote, none but the humble hermit would identify to the words.

The best advice I’ve ever received concerning writing would have to be “write like you speak.” It was in applying this advice to my writing that I discovered my literary voice. If I were to impart this advice myself, I would expand upon it and say “write what you think, but write like you speak.” In my opinion, just as important as literary voice is to a writer so too is the ability to express the things that are oft not expressed. Also I would tell the would-be writer to challenge themselves in all things writing. Lastly, write with the Reader in mind, but write the story you want to read.

On Editing

I am not a big fan of editing and not too long ago I refused to edit anything I had written outside of spelling errors and typos. I wanted to remain as true to the essence of what I had written as I humanly could. I do believe a lot of the soul of a piece of writing can be lost in the editing process. I write from the heart and rely on my gut and editing in my mind puts both into doubt. Editing is a game of second guessing ourselves and our instincts.

I have since moved on that position, at least as far as prose is concerned, but I still try to keep as much of that original draft intact as I can. I would call what I do now “Shading” and not editing. It is more akin to the artist who works in charcoal, first outlining his form and then filling it in to give it depth and three dimensions. The original lines remain, even if they have been shaded over.

On Marketing

I think it’s ridiculous to think that a writer must personally interact with every reader and potential reader out there. Really, it is unrealistic for an author with even a modest bit of success to be at the beckon call of their target market. It puts too much pressure on a writer. It also takes up too much time, time which could be better used to relate to the reader the way a writer should relate to a reader, through the written word, through Storytelling and through Poetry.

Writing, for me, has never been about commercial success. Truth is I am resigned that my success, if I am to have it, will most likely come after I have departed from this world. Many great and beloved writers have been misunderstood, even loathed in their own lifetimes. For me, my success will be measured by the ability of my words to stand the test of time.

I am not a big fan of self-promotion. It is, I’m afraid, a necessary evil for the self-published author, but it still feels like I’m pimping myself out and prostituting myself when I engage in the practice. So how then to gain exposure without selling my soul? This is something I haven’t found an answer for. I have contented myself with the belief that if I write something and if I put it out there and if it is truly worthy it will find its way into the hands and hearts of the Reader. That is a lot of ifs, but Life is full of ifs.

On Future Works

Since my move back to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, after over a decade in the Eastern Townships in Quebec, things have been very hectic. I have spent most of the summer working on a book of Poetry (“Crossing Main”) and a Romance (“Forever: The First Epoch”) simultaneously and haven’t been getting very far with either. My life has settled down a little now and I have turned my focus to the Romance until November 1st when I will turn my attention to and again take part in NaNoWriMo to write the second installment of “The Scrolls of Sion.” I have also couple of other projects on the back burner that will see light at the first opportunity.

In 2015, at least two books can be expected from me. “The Scrolls of Sion: Broken Bloodlines” and “Forever: The First Epoch.” If at all possible I will also publish “Crossing Main.” Beyond that, I cannot say.

The opinions expressed here reflect the man in the mirror, me and no one else. In no way is what I say a reflection, or judgement of anyone else. In closing, I would like to thank Ionia for having me here on her wonderful blog.

Links to Books

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/434284

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-scrolls-of-sion-t-j-therien/1119459677

Links to Blogs

http://insidethepoetsmind.wordpress.com/

http://thescrollsofsion.wordpress.com/

Writing exercise # 2 and # 3

My life would have turned out so much differently if only I had not _____________.

 

Fill in the blank. See if you can write a paragraph, or fit this in to a WIP that you are stuck on.

 

Come up with five to ten descriptive words. Then use antonyms of them to write a paragraph.

Opposites are a fun and creative way to get your mind working.

 

Who is the tallest man you have ever seen? What if he were the shortest?

What was the worst thing you’ve ever eaten? What was the best?

Writing exercise

We all need a little help once in a while getting our brains moving in the “write” direction. So please stay tuned for a series of simple writing exercises you can use to get your mind going, or as a primer for your daily work on your WIP. Feel free to come back and drop a line to let me know what you came up with:)

 

Write 9 random alphabet letters in your journal or onscreen. Then use those letters, in the random order you wrote them, to build a sentence, the first letter of each word matching the letters you chose.

 

Here is an example:

 

G  Y  T  R B W P A  F

Gifford Young tried really bad wing-sauce, putrid, awful food.

 

Have fun with it and remember that to write well, you must be willing to write poorly first.

 

 

The Blood of an Englishman by M.C. Beaton

The Blood of an Englishman: An Agatha Raisin Mystery (Agatha Raisin, #25)The Blood of an Englishman: An Agatha Raisin Mystery by M.C. Beaton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you have not read any of the Agatha Raisin Mysteries yet, up to and including this one, you need to get caught up!

I loved this book. There is a healthy dose of humour all the way through it and the characters are not only memorable, but a lot of fun. I love unique mysteries where you feel as though you haven’t read it all before in one form or another. M.C. Beaton has a way of making everything that happens feel like it is original.

If you are a fan of the cozy mystery, this will satisfy you without being overly ‘precious’ or silly. I enjoyed watching the events unfold as the story was told and going through the process with the main character. The story takes plenty of unexpected turns and will leave you wanting the next book right now!

This is a fun book that will keep you guessing. I like characters with big personalities and Agatha Raisin is certainly one to fit in that category.

**Having an actual Englishman read this book aloud to you may also increase your chances of loving it, but is not necessary for enjoyment:)

Highly recommended, five stars well deserved.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Mirror Interview #7: Katie Sullivan

Katie Sullivan

Katie Sullivan

It was a nice change, talking to myself as me, instead of talking to myself under the guise of my character/muse/monster, the druid known as D.

 

Give those who may not know Changelings: Into the Mist a snapshot of the story.

Irish teens Maureen O’Malley and Sean McAndrew are lost to time. Lured from the abbey they call home by the vision of a warrior shadowed by mist, they are tossed between pirates led by Grace O’Malley in 1584 and revolutionaries dreaming of a new republic in 1916 Dublin. To return home, they must defeat the man – the myth – responsible for their misadventures: the tyrannical Faerie king, Nuada Silver Arm. Maureen and Sean are the strongest Changelings in one thousand years, and the king would rather the last of the descendants of Man and Fae remain lost to time forever. Aiding them is the man in the mist: Dubh an Súile mac Alasdair is a warrior-priest to a people 1300 years-dead and the only Changeling the king could not break. With his help, Maureen and Sean will learn to accept the magic in their blood, defy the king who would enslave them, and claim their place in their own time.

When is it available?

Good lord, self, I think you might be channeling D.

Oh dear – my apologies. I wasn’t being facetious; I do think it’s fascinating. Of course, I could be biased. So, about that release date…?

Changelings: Into the Mist will be released on November 11, 2014 on Amazon, Barns & Noble and others (a full list will be available on my website and blog). It will be available electronically as well as in print.

Am I invited to the release party?

Really?

Had to ask.

Indeed. And before you beg: yes, you are invited.

Is this a stand-alone or a series?

It is one of two books. Changelings: The Coming Storm will continue (and conclude) Maureen and Sean’s tale. There are one-to-two more books that belong to this particular universe, and timeline, but there are other stories clamoring for my attention. Plus, a break from time-travel might be beneficial for my brain!

How does D feel about that?

Um, I haven’t told him.

Hmm… that’s going to be an interesting day on the blog. So, how did you meet your characters? Were you introduced, did they demand your attention in some innocuous place, or have you known them so long that you can no longer remember life without them?

Sean and Maureen happened upon me during mass when I was 13 or 14. I was day-dreaming, and so was Maureen. Except, during her daydream, she saw a time vortex in the church ceiling. She whispered the rest of her adventures with Sean throughout the next three years.

D was later given to me by my ex-husband. He liked the story, but said someone was missing and told me about this mysterious Druid who lurked at the edges of Maureen and Sean’s adventures. I agreed and stuck the Druid into the story, but since D and I did not get along – compounded by the fact I could not “see” him clearly – it went nowhere.

10 years later, I went to a movie, was inspired by the actor in it and was gifted with a vision of D. The book was completely rewritten 9 months later and D and I started a blog in the meantime. Sean and Maureen are all grown now, and I almost feel like their mother: I’m so proud of where they’ve ended up, and I know I finally did justice to their story.

Which of your characters can you identify with the most?

Maureen, hands down. Maureen was what I wanted to be. I was a shy kid with big, rebellious ideas; it was easy to live vicariously through her. Eventually, I would follow my dreams and move to Ireland, and get over some of that inertia and shyness. I like to think that I, in turn, helped temper her, um, more rash tendencies when I re-wrote the story.

Yeah, rash. That’s a good word to describe that young lady. Anyway, do you have a least favorite character in Changelings?

It would be too easy to say D is my least favorite character, but in truth, he’s my favorite. We just tend to butt heads because he is so … so … infuriating and dramatic and grand and stubborn and…

We get the idea.

Right. Anyway, my least favorite character isn’t even the main villain. It’s a secondary character, Mrs. Mallory, who basically ran the show in the 1916 portion of the story. She was neither easy to write, nor a particularly savory character. Sean and Maureen, while not her responsibility, are in her care, and she puts them into a very awkward and dangerous situation.

If you were in the same situation as your characters, what would you do differently?

I’m not sure I would do anything differently. Some of this story is “what would I do if I were suddenly transported back in time?” The answer: have a grand adventure. I hope I would be stronger than Maureen, more easily able to resist the pull of certain situations, but my younger self would not have been!

So basically you’re saying you’re a reckless—

Oi! Spoilers.

Oh, sorry! What makes you uniquely qualified to write Changelings?

I’m what my father calls the ‘throwback’ member of the family. I got on really well with the older generation of relatives that had come over from Ireland in the 20s, and I took many of their stories to heart. I moved to Ireland when I was 18 and married an Irishman, but even before that I was studying Irish history, the political situation and my family’s connection to it. My grandfather left because of the Civil War in the 20s, and my mother is an O’Malley – and claims kinship with Grace O’Malley. I grew up basically considering myself the child of pirates and revolutionaries.

Good lord. Well, that’s all I have for you today, Ms. Sullivan.

Why, thank you, self. That was a lovely interview.

Don’t just thank me.

Of course not – many thanks to Ionia Martin for hosting us today – and thank you to all of you for reading!

The D/A Dialogues - a blog about the sometimes-fractious relationship between an author and the character in her head as they go about writing a book together.

Mirror Interview #6: Malia Ann Haberman

 

Malia Ann Haberman

Malia Ann Haberman

Malia’s conversation with herself:

 

Mirror Malia: Malia! It’s wonderful to meet you. Am I pronouncing your name correctly?

 

Regular Malia: Nope. You’re way off. It rhymes with Maria, not Talia. Or Somalia.

 

Mirror Malia: Great! Thanks for setting me straight. And might I add that you’re looking quite lovely today?

 

Regular Malia: Why thank you! I got this fancy new outfit just for the occasion.

 

Mirror Malia: You have excellent taste! So, let’s get started. How does it feel to be a rich and famous author?

 

Regular Malia: (An uncomfortable pause) Oh, uh, well, I’m, uh, not rich and famous.

 

Mirror Malia: You’re not?

 

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Regular Malia: No. Besides, I didn’t write my books for that reason. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be incredibly awesome, but I think one of the most important parts of writing is the readers. Every writer should write for their readers. I get so excited when I know people are reading my books and really enjoying them. If someone is writing for only fame and fortune, they’re in for a big surprise. Also, ever since I was a kid, I’ve felt the need to write. It’s like a calling, like someone is inside my head saying, “Write. Write. You need to write books and poems and stories.”

 

Mirror Malia: Ah, I see. So it’s as though you’re talking to yourself, huh?

 

Regular Malia: Very funny. Just ask me another question.

 

Mirror Malia: Okay. No need to get all testy. So, Malia, if I went to your computer right now what document would I find open?

 

Regular Malia: Definitely the fourth and last book in my Chase Tinker Series “Chase Tinker and the House of Mist.” I work on that every chance I get. I’m trying my hardest to make sure all the storylines will be wrapped up in a satisfactory way so that my readers won’t be upset with me. I don’t want to leave anything significant hanging. I’ve read series books like that. I’ve also read reviews where readers are complaining because the series ended, but some questions were left unanswered.

 

Mirror Malia: Will you ever give any of your ebooks away for free on Amazon or any other ebook selling sites?

 

Regular Malia: No. Never. Too much time, work and energy go into writing books. Unless it’s for a giveaway contest or review copies, I strongly believe that authors should stop giving away their hard work. In my opinion, it devalues the book and the author. From the beginning of publishing, unless they borrowed from a friend or a library, readers have had to buy books. Now just because books are in electronic form doesn’t mean they should be given away like they’re just blades of grass. What other business does this and at such high numbers? When you go to your job, you expect your boss to pay you for your time, don’t you? Then why shouldn’t authors expect that from their readers? After all, ebooks ARE real books. If an author wrote a quality, entertaining book, then he/she deserves compensation for it. If you want to bring attention to your books, then do some $.99 promotions. Those can work great.

 

Mirror Malia: You know, I totally agree with you.

 

Regular Malia: Of course you do.

 

Mirror Malia: Now tell all the fabulous blog readers what makes your books unique and why people should purchase and read them.

 

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Regular Malia: Since we’re all different in our own special ways, my books are unique because they came from me. A lot of books have the same elements, but it’s the writer’s ideas, style and personality that makes each book one of a kind. I think readers will enjoy them and should buy them and read them because my heart and soul went into every word and page, making them what they are: awesome books with interesting and fun characters, mystery, adventure, secrets, lies, goofiness, darkness, and of course, magic.

 

Mirror Malia: How about sharing a fun Haiku about your Chase Tinker books.

 

Regular Malia:

Where magic abounds

You’ll find secrets and peril

Enter if you dare.

 

Mirror Malia: Intriguing. So, while reading your books’ reviews, I saw that some have compared your books to the Harry Potter series. How do you feel about this?

Regular Malia: You know, I didn’t write my books thinking that I wanted to write something just like Harry Potter, so I didn’t. The only things they have in common are fun adventurous kids, awesome magic and good vs. evil. What I want most is for my Chase Tinker books to have the same “appeal” as Harry Potter. Not only kids, but people of all ages all around the world love Harry so that’s what I would really like for Chase.

With that in mind, I don’t mind people saying that my books are reminiscent of Harry Potter or any of the other fantastic fantasy books that are filled with magic, in fact it’s kind of flattering, but I really don’t want any of my Chase Tinker books to be judged like it’s some sort of competition about who wrote the best magical books. I had one reviewer say that she really liked “Chase Tinker and the House of Magic” but that it wasn’t as good as Harry Potter. I have to admit, that comparison bothered me because it’s not what I was aiming for at all.

 

Mirror Malia: Any writing advice you wish to share?

 

Regular Malia: I pretty much suck at giving advice, so besides, read, read, read, write, write, write, edit, edit, edit, I’ll let Neil Gaiman say the rest for me:

 

“The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.”

 

Mirror Malia: One last question. Tell us one thing about yourself you hate to admit.

Regular Malia: Hmm…okay, here goes…I’m a ballroom dancer and instructor who can’t even bend down far enough to touch her toes. Except if I cheat and bend my knees. I’m also a bit of a klutz. So embarrassing.

 

Mirror Malia: Hahaha! Um, sorry.

 

Regular Malia: You weren’t supposed to laugh!

 

Mirror Malia: Well it’s not my fault you have these problems. (Awkward pause) So, join me for lunch?

 

Regular Malia: Wouldn’t miss it.

 

 

 

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Website: http://maliaannhaberman.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mahaberman

Twitter: https://twitter.com/malia_ann