Please welcome fellow Resplendence author Tali Spencer. So Tali, how long have you been writing?
Forever! J I won a poetry contest for children when I was 7 and started writing novels when I was 13 years old. I published my first novel when I was 22, but while raising my children I took a long break during which I didn’t try to get anything published. Even then, I was writing: novels and stories, public relations material, academic papers, and medical articles. I wrote campaign literature! Now I’m writing fiction again full-time and loving it. But how long have I been writing? All of my life.
Q: To date which of your books was the hardest to write and why?
The hardest book to write is always the book I’m writing now. I’m so totally focused on it every problem seems magnified. I think I’ll never beat them down. It’s like wrestling giants. After a book is finally written, I’m exhausted. Thank goodness I think editing is fun.
Q: When you are writing, who is in control? You or your characters?
Me. Always me. I’m a control freak. That said, my process for writing is to follow my characters. I give them enormous freedom, perhaps too much, because occasionally they won’t go where I want them to go. Now I know I can force them to do whatever I want. I’ve done that at times, however much they dislike it. But sometimes they suggest a path I didn’t originally anticipate, and it’s a better path! In Captive Heart, I originally intended Julissa’s family (except for her conniving brother) to be loving and warm, but her father turned out to be a cold bastard. He was better that way and I embraced him. He’s a wonderful villain in Dangerous Beauty, where he is abusive to his son who has to hide that he’s gay.
Q: Who has had the most influence on your writing?
My husband. Sounds strange, right? But it’s true! He’s been my biggest fan ever since I first showed him one of my stories, and he told me years ago I should write romance. I started out writing science fiction and fantasy, but I love the passion and intimacy of romance and he saw that. He’s also a wonderful editor and has helped me rein in my tendency to overwrite. In terms of who I admire as a writer, that would be Ursula LeGuin. Her prose is luminous.
Q: Have you had any “ah ha” moments as a writer?
I have them all the time! I will see two characters together and realize I have a new pair to write about. Or a character will say something unexpected and I go “Ah-ha!” because they’ve just generated a new plot point or personality trait that I can make into something special. Often my moments are subtle things about how I can link characters and scenes thematically. That happened a lot in Dangerous Beauty, where I linked celestial mechanics to religion and sex.
Q: What advice do you have for other writers?
Write. Just write. Don’t worry about getting your story published. Don’t worry about reviews of your recently published book. Just write the story you want to read. Take chances and trust your gut. On a more practical note, though: if you want to publish, make an effort to learn the business. Because it is a business and it pays off in spades to know as much as you can about the ins and outs.
Q: What do you find the most difficult aspect of this business we are in?
Every author will probably have a different answer to this one. For me, it’s promotion. I’m painfully shy and terribly respectful of other people, so I hate putting myself out there and saying, “Look at me. Please read this book. Give it a chance.” I have a blog, and I really enjoy doing that, because people choose to visit it, so I do my best to make it interesting with free stories and fun posts. I also love going to conventions and talking directly to people. Go figure, right? I love meeting people, just not popping up on them asking for their time. You won’t find me spamming people on Twitter and Facebook. I shy away from tooting my own horn.
Q: What drew you as a writer to the M/M genre of erotic romance?
I love romance in all its forms. My first book with Resplendence, Captive Heart, was a male/female romance. The second book in the series, Dangerous Beauty, has just been released and is M/M. It deals with the heroine’s brother. What I love about M/M is that I get to write about two heroes. I adore writing about men and the way they interact with each other. Men falling in love with other men is almost always against the societal norm, so as a writer I get to create not just the relationship but the social fabric in which it takes place. That’s why the Uttor books are special to me, because I move between pairings to show how all the brothers and sisters find love in a society torn by war and different religions.
Q: What is on tap for the rest of 2013?
I am finishing the third Uttor book, about Gaspar’s sister Adora and her romance with Vallmer, a prince who desperately needs an alliance to save his beleaguered country. Problem is… she’s pregnant. I’m having fun writing about a relationship where going to bed with the heroine isn’t the foremost thought in the hero’s mind, at least not at first. He falls in love with her before he falls into lust. I’m also writing the fourth book, about Peta, the youngest brother and his romance with an Uttoran general, Darius. Besides the Uttor books, I’m working on a science fiction novel and a fantasy. And I have a M/M sword and sorcery buddy novel on submission about which I hope to hear something soon.
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
I’m pretty easy to find. My blog: http://talismania-brilliantdisguise.blogspot.com/
My Amazon.com author page.
My Goodreads author page.
I’m on Facebook
And my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from “Dangerous Beauty”