Welcome to another Fiction Friday! Today, I have the fabulous Natasha Hoar in the spotlight. Natasha is the author of The Lost Souls series from Carina Press. Her first novel, The Stubborn Dead, released in January of 2012, and its sequel, The Ravenous Dead releases on July 16th, 2012. (Natasha is also one of the first complete strangers I actually tweeted with several years ago.)
When and why did you begin writing? OR What inspired you to write your first book?
When was that?
I’m pretty sure I started writing because I loved reading, and I was convinced I could ‘do that type of thing’ too! I attempted my first epic fantasy novel around the sixth grade (I know it has to be around that time because I was using the original Wordperfect with the blue screen and white text). The first book I actually submitted to a publisher (also a fantasy) was based on a dream I had about a girl turning into a dragon. That was around twelfth grade (1999 for those counting), back when I didn’t realize you weren’t supposed to send Penguin unsolicited first drafts. (Oh the horror!)
What is the most challenging thing for you as a writer?
Dealing with my Evil Inner Editor. The EIE is that voice in your head that tells you your story sucks, your grammar sucks, your heroine sucks, your editor secretly hates you, that first book was a fluke, and on and on! It gets louder and meaner after publication, especially when reviews start coming in.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I don’t have a favorite, per say. However I have immense respect for Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series – ‘The Dark Highlander’ was the very first romance I ever read, and I enjoyed the pacing, characters (and yes the, er romance) so much I shifted off of writing regular fantasy and tried my hand at paranormal romance and urban fantasy (which is the genre I’m published in).
What is the one thing you wish you knew before you started writing?
There’s no such thing as an ‘overnight success’ in writing. Anyone who says differently is a liar or completely ignorant of the publishing process (both traditional and self publishing). With the exception of celebrities who bank on their names to sell books, it can take a long time to get published, and then a bit longer to see a royalty cheque you can pay your rent with. (Even Amanda Hocking took a while to get to that point, folks. Don’t believe me? Give this a whirl – http://amandahocking.blogspot.ca/2011/03/some-things-that-need-to-be-said.html )
Now, for a writing tip, what one thing do you always make sure you do when you’re writing a novel? What do you have to check for in your own work?
Only one? You mean I have to choose between correct use of commas, watching for repetitive words, ensuring I show progression of time (usually by having my characters stop for a meal of some sort), making sure EVERYTHING happens for a (good) reason, avoiding incorrect POV statements (e.g. POV characters being aware that they’re doing something unconsciously), maintaining consistent physical details of characters/locations, keeping dialogue sounding realistic and in the correct ‘tone’ for each character’s personality, etc, etc?
Is there a place you most like to write? A time of day?
I can pretty much write wherever I need to, as long as it’s well lit, and I have a set of headphones to listen to music on. I tend towards writing earlier in the morning, or very late at night (mostly because it’s quieter/ there are fewer distractions).
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t stop. Let me repeat that – do not stop writing, or learning from other writers (via reading, conventions, classes or asking questions). Your craft improves with practice, diligence and perseverance.
Ravenous picks up after The Stubborn Dead – Rachel Miller, Vancouver’s resident rescue medium, is helping Kit Elkeles come to term with his new wraith-shifting abilities. A string of unusual murders in the city lead Rachel to believe an old adversary – a soul devouring reaper – who killed one of her mentors is back. This stirs up a good deal of fear and doubt in her that she needs to deal with. When she and Kit save a half vampire from the reaper, she assumes the monster will come back to claim his intended victim. She has no idea that the reaper has decided Kit will make a much better meal.
What inspired you to write it?
I’m not sure it was so much a ‘what’ as a ‘who’ – I had a vague idea of the direction I needed to take the characters in, and up popped the reaper (initially presenting himself as nothing more than a creepy killer). I began asking questions – who are you? Why are you here? What is your connection to my characters? How did you get to be like this? The story evolved from there.
Is this your second novel? Did you learn anything different from writing this book than the first one? If so, what was it?
Ravenous is the fifth novel that I’ve completed, and only the second to make it to publication. Writing (for me at least) involves such an organic learning process it can be hard to single out specific lessons…I’d have to say what really stood out for me this time around was being forced to ask ‘why’. My editor questioned everything in the story (she did this with Stubborn, but more so with Ravenous), and really forced me to remember that readers don’t live with the characters the way I do. Readers only know what I’m telling them on the page, nothing more. It sounds so obvious, right? But it’s such a critical thing to keep in mind.
Who designed your gorgeous cover?
Glo Creative Inc. They did the cover for The Stubborn Dead, too.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you! No, seriously, thank you for buying my books and taking the time to read them. I deeply appreciate it!
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading a few (I rotate according to my mood) – I’m rereading the Harry Potter series, I’m about ¾ through ‘Grimspace’ by Ann Aguirre, roughly ¾ of the way through ‘Voice-Over for Animation’ by Jean Ann Wright and I’m ¼ of the way through ‘Ghosts and Earth Bound Spirits’ by Linda Williamson (that one’s research for an upcoming Lost Souls story). Although someone mentioned Lynsay Sands’ ‘Single White Vampire’ on Pinterest the other night and now I want to reread that quite badly.
Thank you for visiting Natasha! It was a pleasure having you on my site.
Please be sure to visit Natasha’s other sites, and pick up Lost Souls series:
- The Stubborn Dead – an urban fantasy novella with spirit – available from Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Audible, iTunes and other fine ebook and audio book retailers.
- The Ravenous Dead – an urban fantasy novella with bite – Available for preorder at Carina Press, Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Here are Natasha’s Social Media links:
Twitter – twitter.com/natgreyangel
Tumblr – natashahoar.tumblr.com/
Pinterest – pinterest.com/natashahoar/