Ever since I read Teagan Geneviene’s post Meet my Main Character Blog Tour, I wanted to interview her and find out more about her and her writing. If you haven’t done so already, please drop by and read about the main character in her WIP, Atonement in Bloom
which is the sequel to her debut novel, Atonement, Tennessee.
Teagan writes fantasy fiction, and started her blog as part of her grand experiment in Indie publishing.
Welcome to Douglas Bland Artist’s studio in Italy, Teagan. So glad you can join me in an aperitivo. What can I offer you? A glass of Prosecco? A spritzer? A Bellini? Or perhaps some Pinot Grigio or Bardolino?
Thank you, Siobhan. You’re so thoughtful. On a lovely sunny day like this, I think I’d like a spritzer, please.
Ooh, think I’ll have one too. (Pours a glass). Cheers!
Okay, darlin’, make yourself comfortable! We’ve known each other for a while now since we met online. I’m so pleased you’ve agreed to this interview and would like to start by asking, ‘What inspired you to become a writer?’
Believe it or not, I haven’t really thought about that. I think you could take that question all the way back to Rod Sterling’s Twilight Zone. Naturally any number of television shows (and even commercials) captured my young imagination. However, I think Twilight Zone was what caused me to begin to associate my very active childhood imaginings with the concept of writing stories. I remember being very young and staring up at a small black and white bedroom TV and being utterly fascinated by the stories Rod Sterling presented.
Some years later, as a preteen, I started writing Twilight Zone-ish stories. They were well received by my teachers, but not by my parents. I suppose they didn’t think the attention I was getting was appropriate. I was told to never do that again! I eventually discarded that parental rule. (She grins.)
I loved Twilight Zone too. Really spooky! Teagan, please can you tell us something about your writing?
Whenever I see a thick volume with inspiring cover art by Michael Whelan, my hand reaches for it before I can stop myself. I also enjoy writing that type of story – the kind I like to call “quest-type” fantasy.
Images often inspire my writings. An entire story might be rooted in a single picture. They also help keep me writing. Sometimes, if I’m having a hard time getting the ideas to flow, I can start writing a paragraph about a photo, and in no time I’ll be back into my storyline. (Of course, like everyone else, there are also times when I can be utterly blocked. That happens far too often, when I’m so stressed from my 9 to 5 job.)
Working 9-5 and writing is difficult, I know from experience. You seem firmly rooted in the fantasy genre. Have you considered trying any other genres? If so, which ones?
Through chance, I write serial mystery stories for my blog, Teagan’s Books. When I started the blog, I wanted to write about more than my novel Atonement, Tennessee. So I redesigned a writing exercise that I created many years ago. For the exercise I got friends to tell me three random things, and then I wrote until I mentioned all three. To convert that exercise into a serial for my blog, I have readers everywhere send the three items.
The very first “thing” submitted for a serial was “oscillating fan” – and that took my imagination to a click-clacking antique fan, which created a 1920’s setting. The story quickly took the form of a mystery. I don’t plan the serials at all. Rather I let each word (thing or “ingredient”) inspire everything about the story, characters, and plot.
When I was ready to begin the second iteration of the serial, a friend recommended doing a culinary mystery. Siobhan… I do not see myself as much of a cook. I used to be, but not anymore! However, I saw the value of the culinary angle and decided to rise to the challenge. So now, instead of sending three things, readers send me three food-related items or “ingredients.” We’re now on “Cookbook-2,” the third serial and the second culinary mystery.
Your blog is hugely enjoyable, and I was so pleased when you used my apricots in one of your intalments. How do you set about writing a novel, though? Are you a ‘plotter’ or a ‘pantser’?
The serials for my blog are pure pantser fun. However, for everything else I work with a loose plan. I’m also a bit of a spreadsheet geek. I make spreadsheets to help me keep up with all the details. Since I have extensive experience as a technical editor/writer, I’m accustomed to using Excel and Word in advanced ways. Another thing that helps me is utilizing “styles” in Word for my novels. This automatically gives me an outline that I can keep on the same page by opening the Navigation Pane under the View tab in Word.
I must look into doing that, but I’m a bit of a techno-dinosaur. Tell us, please Teagan, how have you found ‘indie publishing’? Is there anything you’ve done that you’d do differently now with hindsight?
Indie is a very exciting area. I enjoy the control it offers. However, I’m not able to “do it right.” I have a demanding fulltime job. The blog takes all my personal time. So there is no time or energy left over for me to do the promotional work of indie publishing. However, I remind myself that I didn’t publish Atonement, Tennessee for the same reasons that bring most people to independent publishing. I simply wanted the satisfaction of knowing I had done it.
I felt the same when I published my short story, Mamma Mia! On a personal note, what do you get up to when you’re not writing?
Work… And since this is not my own blog, I feel comfortable adding that I put a great deal of effort into finding a (new/different) job that will let me relocate — hopefully to a smaller city. I don’t discuss this on my blog.
I hope you’re successful in your search, my darlin’. Can you please tell us what are your plans, hopes, dreams and aspirations for the next stage in your writing career?
My fondest dream is to own a lovely cottage, in a charming little town. Of course my two pets are with me in this dream. I’m writing and selling my novels like mad. Maybe I even have cover art by Michael Whelan. My future is secure and I’m respected. And I do NOT need a 9 to 5 job, ha-ha!
(Laughs in sympathy). I wish you every success in achieving your dreams, Teagan. I’ve really enjoyed our chat. Thanks again for joining me. Before you go, please can you leave readers with three facts that might surprise them about you?
That’s so sweet of you to say, Siobhan. It was truly my pleasure. Three facts? Hummm…
1. I’m a bottled redhead. My natural color is light ash blond. Did you hear that blonds have more fun? No, it’s the redheads!
2. I used to be a Red Hat lady.
3. I’m a certified practitioner of Reiki, but I choose to work with pets rather than humans.
Fascinating! Readers, if you’d like to know more about the business-professional side of Teagan, you can find her on LinkedIn. For more about her novels you can visit her wonderful blog, and she’s also on Twitter.