Tamara Rose Blodgett was kind enough to answer some questions for me in conjunction with her giveaway of her AWESOME novel, Death Whispers. So, without further ado:
What led you to write your debut novel, Death Whispers? What were your inspirations for the novel, if any?
Death Whispers is actually my second novel (Bloodsingers, written in 2007, will be revised and published in autumn 2011). I have four sons, all voracious readers and although they liked some of the male protagonist stories, they thought the “voice” of the male was written by a female that “thought” that was what males thought/acted like/ spoke about. I endeavored to portray boys as I interpreted them. My sons were my biggest critics and most beneficial betas. Laurell K. Hamilton, author of the TERRIFIC Anita Blake vampire hunter series, gave me the “spark” of an idea to write a book where a teenage boy deals with necromancy and is trying to gain finesse while also keeping it hidden. I wanted a book with more action, comedic dialogue (that was the easy part…boys are funny naturally) and the “meat” of the book to center around the cool, paranormal abilities and what happens when they’re used.
What is the writing process like for you? Do you have a special place that you like to write, or any special rituals that you go through before/during the writing process?
I don’t want to come across cavalier, but, it is the easiest work I’ve ever done. It’s the revisions and editing process that is difficult. I sit down and the characters are inside my head… “alive.” I am simply
their vehicle to write they say/do/see/feel. When I am not writing… they’re telling me to get back to work and write down the rest! I’m compelled to finish. Right at this moment, I have half of book three of the Death Series already in my head (and all of book two!). It’s a matter of how fast I can write it all down! No, I don’t have a “special place,” I squeeze time in whenever I can and often write in the middle of a chaotic disaster, noise, whatever (I certainly prefer quiet, that’s just not usually a reality for me). I don’t have “writer’s block,” and sit down each day for 4-6 hours and hammer out between 15-20 pages. Currently, I’m working on Death Speaks, book two of the Death Series, and The Pearl Savage, simultaneously.
What character do you identify with the most in Death Whispers? Why?
Ali, definitely (Caleb’s mom). She is not like me, per se…but there are some features that have creeped in there from my life. Ali is much more laid back for one! And she has an innate sense of “leash,” with Caleb…she let’s him think for himself and doesn’t get bogged down in things that are not critical; like the state of his room!
Are any of your characters or stories based on aspects of your own life?
This was an experiential novel. I could not have written it without my experience raising four boys, having their friends around, and the countless time spent around teenagers (as a family…we are a tad sarcastic). But, I haven’t modeled any of the characters after anyone specifically. I was not “guessing” during this novel, I am definitely writing “what I know.” My hope is that there is an authenticity that will resonate with readers: teens and adults alike.
What do you hope readers take away from your novel?
I hope readers feel it was a unique read and highly entertaining! If there were a moral premise, it would be only that the reader sees Caleb and his friends struggle through daily challenges and they strive to make the best choices they can, even in morally gray circumstances. That’s real.
Do you have a playlist in mind for your novel? If so, what music would you recommend a reader listen to while reading?
Wow! This is a pertinent question! I flat-out do not write as well without music blaring in the background! I will be posting a full playlist on my blog soon, so readers know exactly the music I listen to while I write. It is especially critical for the romance scenes and I prefer ethereal music that smacks of trauma with a creepy undertone. I really feel my best writing is when listening to these talented musicians. They absolutely compliment the tone that I wish to convey. Some of the music I listened to when writing this novel was: Seether, Underwhelmed, Red, Sully Erna (he was a critical inspiration during the fight scenes… when the teens are sure they can’t survive; wonderful!). My book trailer will have very carefully selected music and will really give the reader a feel for my writing…
Why did you choose YA literature as a starting point? Did you always want to write for this age group, or did it just happen?
I have always thought in terms of this age-group and it was, “what I knew.” My other novel, Bloodsingers, will be a YA crossover, and The Pearl Savage has a female protagonist that is seventeen…it’s just where my head’s at with characters.
Do you have a favorite author or novel that you recommend your fans read? What are you reading right now?
I read between 3-5 books per week, many of which were chosen by my glorious husband. I just finished, Trapped, by J.A. Konrath, and loved it. I am a Kindle devotee and generally read exactly what I write: Urban Fantasy/Sci-fi/Paranormal Romance. I like the Grave Series, by Charlaine Harris. They are not YA, but more crossover…she does a fine job with the mystery aspect. I read all of Amanda Hocking and preferred the Troll Trilogy to the Blood Approves series.
How you do feel about eReaders? Do you think they enhance or detract from the reading experience? What’s your personal preference?
I jumped on the bandwagon the second they were available and affordable. I’ve never looked back since. I know for a fact I do more reading because of them. It’s simple schematics, the transport is so much easier. I’ll read a DTB (dead-tree-book) but only if that’s the only way. And I will continue to publish all my novels in paperback for those that prefer it, it’s about accessibility.
As Death Whispers is the first in a series, what can readers expect from the next novel? Do you have any plans for a new series at this time?
Caleb and his friends are in high school now and the dynamic has shifted, their paranormal talents continue to grow and they struggle with fine-tuning them. The government’s pursuit of Caleb has cooled, but for how long? Now, Caleb and Tiff join forces with police to hunt a serial killer, which puts the group at risk, again. Brett becomes a source of conflict in Jade and Caleb’s relationship as more details of his past surface. Some of the group develop romantic relationships with others and things become more complicated as encroaching adulthood sets the stage for a different dynamic. I’ve also introduced a few new characters that are critical to the development of the series. Jeffrey Parker (the other 5-point AFTD) will figure prominently in book #3, Death Screams.
Yes, The Pearl Savage (Publishing May/June 2011) will be the first book of the Savage Series, and Bloodsingers (Publishing autumn of 2011) will be the start of another series. TPS is a total departure from DW and is written in third person using diction (I think) would have developed after one-hundred and forty years of encapsulation in a post-Victorian America. Bloodsingers is true Urban Fantasy with warring vamps and shifters fighting over the Bloodsingers, a unique and powerful human sub-species that are sought after for their unique properties in their blood and genetic contributions.
I’m a “producer” and view all my novels as the beginning of a series; until they stop “talking” to me, I will continue to write about their “lives.” And they have much to say.
Thank you so much for reading my stories. My hope is that you enjoy them as much as I loved the writing of them.
I would like to thank Shana Benedict, for her graciousness, time, and professionalism ~
Thank you Tamara!!! I am excited to have you on the blog and have really enjoyed getting to know you!
This Giveaway is now CLOSED.