Welcome to this week’s Tag Line Tuesday, featuring Indie Eclective member Talia Jager, whose work runs the gamut from heartfelt drama to Paranormal YA. What is a “gamut,” anyway? That may be a later post, for now, say Hi to Talia.
Ed: As writers are creative people (one would hope), please answer each of the following biographic questions twice, once with the truth and once with a lie. I mean, “creatively.” 😉 Name?
TJ: Talia Jager or Kora Harvey
Ed: Where you from, Harvey? TJ: Oceanside, California. Or, born and raised in upstate NY, now living in TX
Ed: You have one of those dreaded “Day jobs?”
TJ: Domestic engineer, or surf teacher
Ed: Fits in with Oceanside. How about your “Dream job?”
TJ: Surgeon or Author.
Ed: Why do you write?
TJ: Only way to stay sane. To quiet the voices in my head.
Ed: Yes, those voices do tend to go on and on. Okay, you can go back to full honesty now, if you want, and let’s talk some writing, as writers are wont to talk about. Or at least write about. Where do you fall on the “Plotter” or “Pantser” scale?
TJ: Both. I plan a little bit, and then I sit down and write and just see where it leads me.
Ed: How about the Best/Worst advice you ever got as a writer?
TJ: Best – Write every day even if it has nothing to do with your current story. Worst – Don’t branch out.
Ed: What do you consider the Best/Worst thing about being a writer?
TJ: Best – The writing. Coming up with a story, characters, plots – it’s fun! Worst – The suspense. Not knowing whether people will like it or not, wondering if they’ll buy it. Waiting for your first bad review.
Ed: Why Indie?
TJ: Why not? I did send some queries out in the beginning and got a lot of answers like “You material is not a good fit…” Sometimes, what I write about, people don’t want to hear about. My husband convinced me to try the indie way. The hardest part has been balancing writing with promoting and family. I love not having a lot of deadlines. I love being able to do my own thing.
Ed: Is being a writer what you expected?
TJ: Not really. I grew up when everything was done traditionally, so being an indie writer has been different.
Ed: Have you, or would you ever, collaborate on a story? TJ:
Yes, I’m working on one right now with Julia Crane.
Ed: If you were starting to write for the first time, what would you do different?
TJ: I stopped after I got married and started having children – I shouldn’t have. I should have kept going. A lot of what I wrote in high school was not found in bookstores. Now, all the hard topics have been covered. If I had stuck with it, maybe I would have been published and been the first to write about some of the hard stuff.
Ed: Oh yeah, I took one of those “little breaks” from writing, too. For about ten years. 😉 So apart from keeping at it, what is the most important thing you have learned about writing?
TJ: The whole process that comes after you write a book. The editing, formatting, copyrighting, promoting – those are all things I had to learn about. Writing a book isn’t just about what’s on the pages inside the cover, it’s about all the things that go into it, including the cover!
Ed: What’s the moral of the story?
TJ: Write for yourself and never give up.
Ed: Lightning round! Quick! Favorite:
Band – Sugarland
Food – Chocolate
Game – Uno
Album – I hardly listen to just one album anymore. Probably any of Rascal Flatts’ albums.
Word – Whatever
Color – Purple
Animal – Panda bear
Piece of clothing – PJs
Movie – Titanic
TV show – Lost
Drink – Water
Song – “My Immortal” by Evanesence
Line from a song – “Jesus, take the wheel…”
Pizza topping – Just cheese please.
Crime – rendering people helpless with my superpowers
Place – Sedona, Arizona
Quote – “Blank stares aren’t signs of dullness & stupidity; they’re signs of deep thoughts and dreams.”
TJ: Sometimes I know before I write the book and sometimes it comes to me while I’m writing, and other times I post it on my Facebook fan page and a fan will recommend something.
Ed: How do your characters get their names?
TJ: Five of my six books are named after one of my children. At least part of their name. A few are first names and a couple are middle names. For other characters, I use names I like. For people not real relevant to the story, I just go to a baby name website and pick something.
Ed: That is both a lot of books, and a lot of kids. 🙂 If you could live in the world of one of your stories, which one would it be and why?
TJ: Hmmm… most of my books are real life/real drama type of books and if I had to choose one of them, I’d say If I Die Young. Colorado is a beautiful place. Out of my paranormal books, I’d go with The Ultimate Sacrifice. It would be neat to live in a world where people had gifts like they do.
Ed: What do you think your books say about you?
TJ: That I don’t shy away from hard topics.
Ed: Is there anything you have written which you would now like to change or revise, wish you had written differently, etc.?
TJ: There are always things I think I could improve on, but nothing I’d change completely.
Ed: Tell me about your favorite character.
TJ: Oh gosh, I love all my main characters. Picking one would be like picking one of my children. Natalie from Damaged will always have a soft spot in my heart. When writing her story, I wanted to grab her and shake her at the same time I wanted to hold her and protect her.
Ed: Have your favorite character tell me about you.
(Natalie): “She’s obsessed with drama!”
Ed: Back to Talia, what’s your favorite line which you have written?
TJ: “Who pissed in your Cheerios?” or maybe something more dramatic like: “Death was definitely hovering now. It had moved in slow, but strong, waiting for the right time to strike.”
Ed: I’m totally going with the Cheerios line for the tag line on this interview. 😉 Now, please state three random things about yourself.
TJ: I used to dye my hair purple. I am an only child. I love when it snows.
Ed: I say you bring back the purple. Us writers can use a certain amount of oddity. 😀 Now while we are talking about books, let’s move to the kind of stuff you like to read. When you are picking something for your reading pleasure, what is your biggest consideration?
TJ: Genre. Unless I’m looking for something specific, I go directly to the YA section and go from there depending on mood.
Ed: What genre would you read only if you lost a bet?
TJ: Horror. I don’t like being scared.
Ed: When looking at a blurb for a book, what sort of thing makes you say “yes,” what sort of things makes you say “pass?”
TJ: Is it short and to the point? I like a blurb that will catch my attention in a line or two. I don’t want to read four paragraphs to figure out if I want to read the book.
Ed: Do you have a favorite author, and do you think they influence your own writing?
TJ: I have several favorites that have influenced my writing, including VC Andrews, Christopher Pike, Stephenie Meyer, Cassandra Clare, and Lurlene McDaniel.
Ed: Do you have a favorite book, and how many times have you read it?
TJ: I have many favorites! Walk Through Cold Fire by Cin Forshay-Lunsford was my favorite in high school. I can’t count the number of times I read it. Heaven by VC Andrews. The Starlight Crystal by Christopher Pike. More recently, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.
Ed: What’s the first book you remember buying with your own money?
TJ: I’m not really sure, but I’d guess one of The Babysitter’s Club or Sweet Valley Twins.
Ed: Any books you have been told you should read, and know you probably never will?
TJ: Any of the classics.
Ed: Ever lied about reading, or not reading, a book?
TJ: Hmm… not that I can recall. Ed: Ever read a book you were sure you were going to like, and not liked it?
TJ: Yes. The Vampire Diaries by L.J. Smith. I love the show, thought the books would be better. I read the first two and just didn’t like them. I do like her other books though.
Ed: Ever grudgingly read a book, and loved it?
TJ: It took me quite a while to read Twilight, but when I did, I was obsessed.
Ed: What’s your favorite line from a book? (not your own)
TJ: “Don’t ever discount the wonder of your tears. They can be healing waters and a stream of joy. Sometimes they are the best words the heart can speak.” ― William P. Young, The Shack.
Ed: And now for something completely hypothetical…hypothetical questions. Your computer is smoking, wheezing, and sparks are shooting out of the back. You can save one thing off the hard drive. What is it?
TJ: Just like one thing or like one file? First, this is why I have a Time Machine. One of the wireless ones, backs up every hour. However, if this happened, I’d get my pictures file. Those are memories you can’t replace.
Ed: You have one perfect day of free time, no obligations, needs, or responsibilities. What do you do?
TJ: Go to the beach with my Kindle.
Ed: Someone “in the business” suggests you change something you feel is a critical part of one of your books, and guarantees it will increase sales. What do you do?
TJ: Roll my eyes, rant a little, probably walk away for an hour…then maybe go back and take a second look, see if that person just might be right. If I absolutely LOVED that part of my story, I wouldn’t cut it out, no matter what.
Ed: You are offered just enough money to live comfortably for the rest of your life, if you will just stop writing. What do you do?
TJ: Do I suck that bad? LOL! Can I write without publishing? If I could write secretly, it wouldn’t matter. I really only write because I like to. Sharing my stories with other people is an added bonus. But, if I couldn’t write at all, I wouldn’t take the money.
Ed: What question do you wish I had asked?
TJ: Gosh, Ed, I think you covered it all. How about…who is your favorite antagonist in one of your books?
Ed: Yeah, everybody always loves Villains. 🙂
And now, Talia’s books. For each I asked Talia to write a five, and only five, word synopsis, solely because I know writers hate doing that. 😉
Apple: Coming soon.