Tina Whittle interview with David Alan Binder
Post date: Jul 14, 2016 12:44:59 PM
Tina Whittle interview with David Alan Binder
Blog -- The Fiction Files: http://tinawhittle.blogspot.com/
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Tina.Whittle.Mystery.Writer
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+TinaWhittle/about
1. How do you pronounce your name?
Just like it's spelled – like whittling a stick
2. Where are you currently living (at least the state or if outside US then Country)?
Southeastern Georgia, USA
3. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?
That writing is a process, a verb. Writers write, and even if the words are hard, it counts.
4. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?
My daughter would say that it's talking to imaginary people, but I think that's pretty common amongst writers. So I'll say that it's my use of tarot cards as plotting and character-building tools.
5. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?
I do both. My mystery novels – the Tai Randolph/Trey Seaver series – are published through Poisoned Pen Press, and I have several novellas and short stories self-published through Amazon and Wattpad.
6. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?
Poisoned Pen Press in Scottsdale, Arizona.
7. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I am a print person myself – I prefer the feel of physical books and the way my brain reads them – but I have learned that while readers have their own preferences about the delivery platform, they still care most about the story and the characters. The same is true with publishing – different models reach different audiences in different ways, but in the end, it's about connecting readers with stories. That's the heart of what we do.
8. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?
Network with published authors. Get to know them, go to conferences and meet them, serve within writing organizations like Sisters in Crime or Mystery Writers of America. This is how you'll begin to suss out the invisible connections that hold the industry together like a web. And this is how you'll begin to get a feel for who's looking for what so that you can know who to approach with whatever it is you're writing.
9. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?
First, write the best book you can, the very best. Get it professionally edited so that it sparkles. Then start working those writerly connections you made at the conferences and events to score some introductions. Writing is a people profession; start meeting the ones who will make up your tribe.
10. Do you have any suggestions or help for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?
First, find an organization that supports writers at all stages of their writing careers. For mystery writers, Sisters in Crime is an excellent place to get that support (its mission is supporting gender equity in the mystery writing genre, but it's open to anyone who supports that mission, including both men and women). There are over fifty regional chapters meeting all across the country, but even if there isn't one close to you, the online chapter, the Guppies, always has room for one more; the Guppies is especially useful for new writers because it offers chances to meet critique partners. Joining SinC was one of the best decisions I ever made as a writer – through that organization, I've met new writing partners, gotten blurbs from best-selling authors, and participated in fascinating conferences like Writers Police Academy. It's a win-win for the new writer.
11. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?
The value of a good editor (or in my case, editors) not only for an individual book, but also during the planning of a series arc. Editors do more than edit – a good editor is a writer's North Star.
12. How many books have you written?
I've published five in the Tai Randolph/Trey Seaver series – The Dangerous Edge of Things (2011), Darker Than Any Shadow (2012), Blood, Ash and Bone (2013), Deeper Than the Grave (2014), and Reckoning and Ruin (2016). But like any writer, I also have three unpublished works under my bed…where they're staying.
13. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?
Write. Write some more. Keep writing. It is one of the few universal truths of writing that ever word you write makes you a better writer – you are always surfing on the leading edge of improvement. Critique partners are useful at certain stages of the process, but it's very easy to let other people's opinions become so loud that they override your own instincts about your work, especially at the beginning.
14. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?
I'm a pantser – no outlining for me -- so every scene is a big surprise as I'm going along. That's my secret – I figure if I'm surprised, then my readers will be too.
15. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
For one thing, I have co-protagonists. Even though my books are narrated by gun shop owner Tai Randolph, my female main character, she has a partner in all things both romantic and crime-solving, Trey Seaver, a former SWAT cop who works now as a corporate security agent. They are truly partners in sleuthing, and their respective character arcs are the heart of the series.
16. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
I take my own advice and attend lots of mystery conferences, including Bouchercon, Left Coast Crime, Murder in the Magic City and others. I'm also a member of two writers' blogs: Booklover's Bench (http://bookloversbench.com/) and Writers Who Kill (http://writerswhokill.blogspot.com/) and contribute to my publisher's blog on the 10th of evert month (http://www.poisonedpenpress.com/category/news-and-blog/).
17. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?
I'm very happy with the way things have turned out, so it's hard to think of things that I would change if I could. The one big thing? Taking myself seriously as a writer a lot sooner.
18. What saying or mantra do you live by?
"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known."
-- Carl Sagan