Have you read Precinct 13? Have you tried Tate's books? You are really missing out if you haven't!
I asked Tate to be a guest on the blog and now you guys have the chance to read the interview to find out more about the author, her books and what the future holds. Then make sure you enter this weeks contest for your chance to win a copy of Precinct 13!
Amber - Welcome back to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here again as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your latest release, Precinct 13?
Tate - Precinct 13 is the story of Alex Conner, the ‘accidental’ coroner of Hughes County, South Dakota. Through a series of misadventures involving tattoos and snakes, Alex unlocks her secret superpowers and is introduced to Pierre’s resident paranormal police division, Precinct 13. Along the way, she wrestles with the truth about her past: that despite being told she was crazy, all those things she saw in the dark allies and under bridges in Chicago are real… and out to get her.
It’s my usual style in that, despite the fact that hilarious hijinx ensue, there’s a dark undercurrent of seriousness throughout the whole novel.
Tate - Ideas are funny things. This one I hashed out with a friend and fellow writer, Rachel Gold. A lot of it was, “Yeah! That would be cool, and then…!” and I ended up writing up a twelve-page proposal for my editor that incorporated a lot of that enthusiasm over the course of a couple of weeks. But, truthfully a lot of the things, particularly the character of Valentine, lived in my head a long, long time before they ever achieved text, as it were. And, then, once the contract is signed… the story continues to percolate and change as I write my way into what I thought I was going to write, you know? So, I think to be fair to the messiness of the creative process, I would have to say that the idea of Precinct 13 probably took me a year or more to generate.
Amber - Precinct 13 has a nice variety of supernaturals. Are there any paranormal creatures you just don't like, and would never use in your books?
Tate – I hate to buck the trend, but I’m not overly fond of zombies. I’ve written about them a couple of times now, partly out of a desire to understand their appeal. I’m still not sure I get it, even though I adore films like 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead. But, so, even though I’m not terribly keen on them, I still would write about them.
Are there any I would ‘never’…? That’s such an awesome question. Mummies, maybe. I don’t see that as a big issue, though, since mummies aren’t terribly popular. Mermaids? I would probably write about a mermaid, though—I actually think mermen are even more interesting…. So, I don’t know. In some ways, one of the fun things about being a paranormal writer is finding the supernaturals that no one has thought to try to make sexy or interesting and exploit them.
Amber - What paranormal creatures are you dying to fit into a story but you haven't managed to fit in yet?
Tate – Demons. Demons and angels. I wrote about angels in my other persona as Lyda Morehouse, but those books were more science fictional than straight-up romances (there are romantic elements, but you’d be disappointed, I think, if you went looking for them for hot angel sex, for instance.) I’ve recently done a TON of research into Japanese demons as part of my Anime obsession and I have to say there are a lot of really fascinating demons out there.
Tate - Naming. That’s a really important process for me. Sometimes, depending on the character, it’s a matter of looking through a baby book or at a baby naming site on the web and picking something I like the sound of. But, so for some… it has to be just right. Valentine being the big one there. Like I said, he lived in my head a long time before allowing me to use him in this story, so I’m sure his name changed over time. In that case, the name came to me along with the character—like a kind of magic. You know, where suddenly you have an image in your head and he tells you his name…. But, I will also say that for Precinct 13, two of the people are randomly named for baristas at my favorite coffee shop: Spenser and Devon.
Amber - If Precinct 13 was going to be made into a TV series or Film, who could you see playing the main characters?
Tate - D’oh! I hate this question partly because I don’t watch enough TV. How about this…. What I really want is for the voice actor J. Michael Tatum (he voices Sebastian from “Black Butler”) to be Valentine in the Anime version.
Amber - Will there be more books about Alex? Will we find out more about her evil step-mother?
Tate - No. My publisher has passed on the opportunity for me to write more books in this universe. Frankly, this sucks. I quite obviously wrote the book with sequels in mind or I would have tied up a lot more loose ends.
I’m currently trying to decide what to do about that, actually. I’m thinking about trying to write an e-book. If I decide to do that, I will probably post installments as I write them on my various web pages. I actually started a chapter, but I ran out of steam partly because I feel very discouraged at the moment. I have no contract for any books in the future with any publisher and I’m very adrift in a way I haven’t been for years. I’m working to push my way back out of this doom and gloom, but, quite frankly, it’s difficult.
Tate - For novels for publication I have a very rigid process. I never start a book without having a proposal already written, which means I have the entire plot already thought out from the beginning, middle to the end. But, since the proposal tends to have a lot of sketchy transitions, there’s still a lot of wiggle room for things to ‘just happen’ along the way. The difference is that I know where I’m going from the start.
However, I’ve been doing a lot of fan writing for fun during this low period (in fact, I do believe fan fic has kept me sane and still writing, despite crushing depression over my career) and I’ve been experimenting with just starting… there’s something really awesome, fun, and freeing about writing that way. It’s much easier, however, to fall into the never-ending soap opera mode or the petered-out-because-I-wasn’t-going-anywhere issue too.
Amber - Precinct 13 is definitely more Urban Fantasy than your previous books but you obviously love the paranormal. Why did you pick the genre? or did the genre pick you?
Tate - The genre kind of picked me. My editor actually thought I was supposed to write paranormal romance, but I ended up turning in something very much more urban fantasy. I’m not sure how that happened, except that when Valentine showed up he was already an established lover, so there wasn’t a chance to make him ‘the first blush’ so many people love about paranormal romance.
Amber - How much say do you have in the book publishing process? Eg. Do you get to pick the cover? Do you choose the titles?
Tate - I choose the titles (though, in the past, I’ve had to negotiate with my editor over the titles on occasion.) I write the stuff in between the covers, but the rest is down to the publishers, the marketing department, and the cover committee. I have been asked to offer suggestions for a cover scene, but no one has ever taken me up on anything I’ve put forward. Most of the time, the process for the cover goes: “hey, please send a character description or section of the novel for the artist to read that has a lot of description,” and then there’s a flurry of activity in which I start to feel like I have some input, and then I get a .jpg of the finished product that usually looks nothing like anything I sent them or talked about.
Amber - What is next? Are you working on any other projects you would like to tell us about?
Tate - Uh, well, as I said, I’m a bit at loose ends at the moment. I am currently working on a superhero romance that’s WAY out of usual genres—it’s GLBT and possibly more erotic than my usual fare. I love the premise to bits, though. The idea is that our non-powered hero who thinks he’s been dating a superhero discovers that his lover is actually THE super-villain. It’s very much like a Tate project though in that while there’s a lot of hilarity, there’s also a serious and romantic undercurrent to the story.
Tate – I read a lot of Manga and watch far too much Anime. Currently, one of my favorite Manga is Bakuman, which I can’t recommend enough to my writer friends. It’s the sort of story that should be irritating because it’s a Manga artist and writer trying to become Manga artists and writers. But, it’s actually a very gripping story that explores a lot of the issues that affect anyone engaged in the creative process at any level. I’m still working my way through Bleach, my current Anime obsession. Bleach, alas, also influences a lot of the music I listen to, which means I have far too much J-pop on my .mp3 player. I’m also a huge Avengers/Marvel fan.
Amber - What books do you enjoy reading? Do you have any favourite authors/series?
Tate - I have a lot of favorite authors. I have to admit that it’s been a while since I’ve had the patience to read a full novel-length piece, however. So there are a lot of comic books and Manga around the house at the moment.
Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?
Tate – I’d love to be immortal and, given my current obsession, I’d love to be a shinigami (soul reaper/grim reaper, from Japan.) You can find a surprising number of Anime/Manga that involve shinigami—Soul Eaters, Black Butler, and Bleach to name a few. There’s really no exact analog in Western culture, except possibly a psychopomp—someone like Charon, the ferryman, who transports the souls of the newly dead to the afterworld.
Amber - If you could meet any famous person, alive or dead, who would you be? and why?
Tate – I would make my partner really happy if I could meet British author (still living) Phil Rickman and become close enough friends with him that we could have him over for dinner. She adores his books, and I would gain a ton of relationship points which I could coast on for years.
Amber - Thank you so much for being a guest on the blog!
Tate – Well, I always love stopping by! Thanks for having me again!
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