Saturday, August 11, 2018

Interview with Tara Devaney-Thompson

This month I’ve decided to do something a little different and leave my comfort zone to make British-Australian erotic author Tara Thompson my Author of the Month.

15) Tara, why did you choose to pursue writing erotic fiction as opposed to, say crime or thrillers?

Actually, I didn't choose it. I was given a challenge by someone who had given me a certain popular book to read. When my opinion was not well received this person challenged me to write a better book. The next day I began to write the Consort series.

14) I noted one of your titles is Consort In Blood: The Awakening. It’s an erotic vampire tale much in the vein of Anne Rice. Tell the readers a bit about that, please?

Actually, it is not like Anne Rice. I do not concentrate on their Vampire natures but rather question whether any humanity actually remains. I also explain, in theory, how the original Vampire came to be. I felt that this was never explained in any of the other tales of Vampire lore.

13) What are the advantages of writing in the modern age erotic fiction versus the disadvantages?

The advantages, hmmm, modern day erotic fiction is very much more graphic than it once was. Where in earlier books any sexual relationships were merely hinted at, we can now be much more explicit regarding the physicality of the characters. Disadvantages, well, it becomes very difficult to keep the sexual encounters fresh. It can become stale if you constantly rehash the same encounters so, one must find ways to change the sexual positions and locations. This can become very difficult owing to the limitations of the human body.

12) In a recent Facebook PM chat, you’d inveighed against the Australian government making it more difficult for Australian authors to place their work on Amazon’s American domain. Tell us a bit about that, please.

A while back our government decided to inflict more taxes on the goods being imported to our country. When they did this Amazon decided to ban Australians from having goods delivered to Australia. Now our books, in paperback form, have to be ordered through the Australian site. Kindle is not affected the same way but, having said that, I have found that I cannot place my books on as a freebie due to new rulings by Amazon. Actually, it is so complicated now that I cannot really explain it. I do not know in what format my books are available to possible purchasers from different parts of the world.

11) You’d said you also dabble in science fiction. Tell us more about that.

I have not published my sci-fi work as I am still working on it. So, I don't want to go into too much detail right now. I have always loved sci-fi and thought it would be as easy to write as fantasy...it is not. I need to do a lot more scientific research in order to make it at least semi believable. 

10) You seem to revel in the tension between opposites in both your writing and real life. For instance, you said you never read the erotic fiction of others yet you’ll gladly read, say, crime thrillers. Why is that?

I do not, as a rule, read any other books of any genre that resembles any of my work for fear of accidentally using the ideas or styles of other writers. It is very easy to, without intention, to end up being overly influenced by someone else's work and have it meld in with your own. At least that is what happens with me.

9) Describe the writing process for you. In our talk, you’d said it was like watching a movie in your head, which is eerily similar to my own process. Could you elaborate on that, please?

When a storyline comes to me and I begin to write the entire thing plays out in my head like I am visualizing a movie. I write it as it appears in my head. From beginning to end it flows out as though I were watching it on the big screen. It is very hard to explain but I am sure there are others out there who will understand.

10) I know you don’t like to set goals for yourself and prefer to wait for inspiration to strike. For those who don’t know you as well, describe your writing process when you are at the keyboard.

Ahhh, well, I cannot work, as many do today, by setting word goals or page goals for my work. Once I am in front of the keyboard I write only what comes into my head at that moment. Some days I may write hundreds of words yet others, nothing. My work is very much like a living entity. It grows and expands as it wants. My first book took me almost a year to write whereas my short story took only a week.

7) You’ve been in Oz since 1968. How does a transplanted British writer make a go of it in Australia, a country in which there are 12 or fewer literary agencies?

It is, I must admit, extremely hard. As you pointed out, there is a dearth of agents here and the big publishing houses do not accept, for the most part, unsolicited manuscripts. That leaves only self-publishing as a route to authorship. Personally, I published to Amazon first and then expanded to other platforms. I have had two publishers, both from overseas, that have not worked out. I am now back to being an indie author and hoping to be more successful this time around. Without the hope of getting representation here in Australia I must simply hope that one of the bigger publishers overseas will see enough merit in my work to offer me a contract. 

6) Originally, you were involved in theater and the movie business. How did that help inform you as a writer later on or did it?

Well, it gave me a grounding in what the industry needs from a writer to, possibly, make a book into a movie. This is how I write my books. I did not start out with the movie possibility in mind it simply gave me the direction subliminally.  

5) You said more than once, you’re juggling about 50 different novels in varying stages of completion. How do you keep all those plot lines intact or do you?

I have many, many notebooks and many, many folders on my computer. I open my main folder each morning and wait for my mind to pick a certain story to work on that day. Sometimes nothing inspires me so I look to the world to give me inspiration for another story or for an idea to add to one I have started. I write each new idea down on paper before starting to add it on my computer. So, I spend as much time writing by hand as I do transcribing them to the computer.

4) Plotter or pantser?

Pantser, definitely. I find that many things inspire ideas for stories. People I see when out, my grandchildren, the weather, something in the news. So many things can inspire an idea and I always carry a notebook and pen wherever I go just in case.

3) You said travel was one of your biggest ambitions. Do you think traveling to more places would make you a better writer?

I think that traveling and experiencing other places and cultures can only improve you as a writer. The more we expand our knowledge the more we can inform our stories. Seeing a different landscape or national traditions can open our eyes to many other ways to describe other lives and worlds.

2) You do something else that also facilitates my own character delineation- You image certain actors playing the roles of your characters. Your favorite actor is British thespian Henry Cavill but not for the reasons most people would assume. What is about Mr. Cavill that you admire more than anything and what qualities made you turn him into one of your vampires?

Firstly, it is his acting skill that inspires me. I have followed his career from the very beginning and, over time, he has continued to perfect his craft and his abilities. Also, it is his character. Humble, genuine and very intelligent he always comes across as someone i would love to have coffee with and talk about many things. I love the interaction he has with family, friends and, of course, his fans. There is also his dedication to giving back to the community. He is an Ambassador for the Durrell Wildlife Park on Jersy plus helps raise funds for the British Military. I find him both mysterious and open. This is part of the reason I admire him. As to why he is my muse for my Vampire Alexander Dante, well, I saw a picture online that had been altered to make him look like a Vampire and the story just took flight from there. He seemed so ideal for the role. Also, he is my muse for almost all my books. 

1) Do you see the democratization of desktop publishing as an empowering tool for writers who ordinarily would never break into print or as a dilution of the talent pool?

I think it is a bit of both. There are a huge number of writers out there who now have the ability to self-publish and this can be both a good and a bad thing. On the good side it means that many who would never have been able to find a way out to the public can now do so. Some of them are brilliant writers who we would never have known about otherwise. But, on the bad side, we have a great many who 'think' they are writers but they are not. Some churn out multiple books each month yet, while crowing about their achievement, do not stop to consider whether those books are good. Plus, this open platform has given scammers and cheats an open invitation to copy other people’s hard work and use it to their own profit. So, in one way it is a blessing but in another, yes it has diluted the talent pool.


     Tara's Facebook page can be found here and her Wix author page is here.

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