Welcome to the Blog Tour

Well, it’s been quite a week around here! The social media blitz should die down for a while, now that Finis. is out and we’ve had the launch party. The festivities yesterday were really wonderful; thank you, profoundly, to everyone who came out to celebrate and who has already bought the book and who has left reviews. Such a delightful end to my summer break — because, yes, I went back to my classroom today. *le sigh*

So I’ve been invited to participate in a blog tour by the excellent Leah Lax. (Thanks, Leah!) Without further ado, here we go!

1. What are you working on?
This summer I’ve finally been at a moment in my life — and hopefully this won’t be the last time I’m here — where I have that “writer’s trifecta” of a book about to come out, a book that’s in edits, and a book I’m writing (or in my case, rewriting). Though I love all these projects, I think for this interview I’ll focus on the book that has just come out, Finis. It’s set in a world where people are still quite human, but they also have distinct animal characteristics, called their Animal Affinities. They aren’t part animal, not really, nor do they traditionally have animal familiars, but they do evince certain qualities and tendencies that make them more than just human. For example, the protagonist’s mother and sister are giraffe-esque: they’re tall with golden skin and lots of big freckles. When they walk, they lope gracefully like distant ships on the ocean. Her cousin is like a seahorse, with his webbed fingers, prehensile feet, long nose, and spiky brown hair. Her problem? She doesn’t apparently have one of these Animal Affinities, and it’s causing terrible difficulties in her life. This is the story of her journey as she attempts to get out of that predicament.
2. How does your work differ from other work in your genre?
Finis. is magic realism, and as is the nature of magic realism in general, it is generally unlike the stories around it.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I write the kind of things I like to read, which means I don’t tend to stay in just one genre all the time. My specialties are magic realism, fantasy, and poetry. Often a situation or a problem or a piece of dialogue will get stuck in my head until my subconscious starts to wrap a story around it, secreting layers of metaphor and imagery and character. Sometimes what comes out is interesting enough to start editing into something more meaningful. But nearly always the story begins as a tiny obsession in my mind, and then I have to write it just to stop thinking about it.
4. How does your writing process work?

Well, the school year is about to start, and I teach high school full-time, so my writing process is about to get a lot more desperate! I’ll borrow time here and there for a half an hour at a time during the week, and then on the weekend I’ll leave my house very early on Saturday morning to head out for a writing date with my friend and fellow novelist Sarah Warburton. We’ll sit at Panera for a few hours and get some work done. I also have a critique group that meets every few weeks, and having external deadlines on manuscripts that aren’t in the publishing process yet really helps me to get the pages in. I’ve found that external deadlines are absolutely necessary for me. I hate disappointing other people far more than I mind disappointing myself! I’ve also noticed that my writing process tends to change when I have a major shift in my routine; i.e., my habits during the summer are really different from my habits during the school year. And every time one of those routine shifts occurs, I try to revise the way I do things to always be more productive, more efficient. So we’ll see how things go this semester. One thing about having a schedule that’s always way too busy is that my writing time, when I do get it, becomes sharply focused. I no longer have time for writer’s block, and so I spend time thinking about what I’m going to write when I’m doing other things, like exercising, folding the laundry, trying to fall asleep — and then when I do finally get a chance to sit down and do it, I usually can. That makes my time in front of the journal or laptop more useful.


Thanks again to Leah for initing me on this tour! If you’re interested in Finis., here are some links where you can buy it:



Oyster Books

It’s also available in Apple’s iBooks store, and more venues are coming online each week. Check the Finis. Facebook page for updates.


Writing Process Blog Tour

Because I don’t really like to post to my blog more than once a day, I’m taking a very short break from the National Poetry Month features tonight to participate in a blog tour for which I was tagged last week by Sabrina Garie.  The other writers I’m tagging tonight — who will be posting their interviews in one week — are Sarah Warburton and Russell Linton, whose bios appear at the end of this post.

The subject of this blog tour is our writing process. It’s simple, with just four questions, but they’re important questions that writers tend to get asked a lot.


Q:  What am I working on at the moment?

A:  I have found that the best way to conquer writer’s block is to have too many projects going at one time for the amount of time you have to work on them, so there are four big ones on my plate right now in addition to an evolving number of other things that pop up (such as guest blog articles, poem or essay requests, reviews of others’ books, my blog, etc.).

The biggest project I have right now is a novel, a fantasy based on a fairy tale that I’ve completely reimagined. It’s in the editing phase. I also have two poetry projects, one a collection in the editing phase and another collection in the drafting phase. The project which is nearest completion is a forthcoming e-book, FINIS. It’s magic realism and relatively short – technically a novelette at just under 12,000 words – so will be published only as an e-book at this time. I should have more details on when later this spring; watch this blog and my Facebook page for updates.


Q:  How does my work differ from others of its genre?

A:  It’s probably best to focus on my novel for this question. I have found that many people tend to assume YA when you mention “fantasy with female protagonist” or “fairy tale.” Considering what’s popular right now in the marketplace, that may be a fair assumption, but that’s not really what I’m writing. Although I think it could definitely appeal to an upper-YA audience – and I would love it if it did! – my primary target demographic includes adult readers.

The story itself is atypical because it’s a father-daughter novel, and both the father’s and the daughter’s POVs are given. There are both realistic and magical elements to the story, and because of my academic background, my style is considered “literary” (as in “literary fiction”) as well as commercial (due to its subject matter). The story itself contains family drama, political intrigue, and romance.


Q:  Why do I write what I do?

A:  I love to write what I love to read.


Q:  How does my writing process work?

A:  I’m a pathologically busy mom and wife who has a long commute to a full-time high school teaching job. It’s a wonder that it works at all!

My family graciously doesn’t complain when I leave my house really early on Saturday mornings to have a writing date for a couple of hours with my friend Sarah Warburton. I also carve out time here and there on the weekends and very, very occasionally during the work week. Certain compromises have to be made. For example, during the school year, my blog generally gets updated only during weekends or week nights, though this means I might miss out sometimes on just relaxing with a book or a movie after the kids go to bed. However, the bulk of my writing time – the time I have for big projects – comes during summer break, when my kids are more than happy to attend lots of fun day camps with their friends while I get a few hours to myself each day to work. It’s a system that makes everyone pretty happy.

I’ve also just found, as I’ve gotten older and more experienced, that I can’t wait until inspiration strikes. Writing is a job, however fulfilling, and requires persistence, perseverance, and drive. It’s not for the faint of heart.


“Tag, You’re It!”

Sarah Warburton is a writer, wife, the mother of two, and a knitter (not necessarily in that order) living in Sugar Land, TX.  After earning an M.A. in Classics from the University of Georgia and another from Brown University, she spent time working in independent bookstores, reading and writing. She’s studied at the University of New Mexico with Sharon Oard Warner and Julie Shigekuni, at the Taos Writer’s Workshop with Pam Houston, and in Houston with Justin Cronin. Since 2005 she’s been a staff writer for the local monthly magazine UpClose and a member of the weekly critique group, Writers Ink. Her short story, “Margaret’s Magnolia,” appeared in the Southern Arts Journal, and she has finished her first mystery novel, The Language of the Dead, and is working on her second.

In the fourth grade, Russ Linton wrote down the vague goal of becoming a “writer and an artist” when he grew up. After a journey that led him from philosopher to graphic designer to stay at home parent and even a stint as an Investigative Specialist with the FBI, he finally got around to that “writing” part which he now pursues full time. Russ creates fiction in many genres. His stories drip with blood, sarcasm, and radioactive bugs. He writes for adults who are young at heart and youngsters who are old souls. Check out this page here for ways to acquire his work and to invite him to write more stuff.