EXTRA CREDIT INTERVIEW WITH VERONICA TABARES:
Joining LitPick for an Extra Credit interview is author Veronica Tabares! Veronica has written screenplays, picture books, young adult contemporary fiction, science fiction, and juvenile fantasy. Her books include Gray Zone, Department of Temporal Adjustment, Monster of a Problem, and Monkeys on an Island.
Do you have a solid outline before writing, or do you usually get ideas as you go along?
A bit of both.
When I get a glimmer of a story that has potential I write a quick summary that includes the beginning, middle, and end. I call these baby stories and they play in a digital nursery on my computer. I keep them in the nursery because, well, there are hundreds of them. If I let them roam around, who knows what kind of trouble they might get into!
Every so often one of them escapes and claims to be ready to become a full-fledged book. So I work on it, filling in the gaps until I have an in-depth outline. At that point I have to decide if it’s really mature enough or if it needs to go back to the nursery.
Of course, once I start the real work of writing, new ideas always come knocking. I welcome them. If they’re a good fit, they become part of the story. If they’re not, I thank them for their time and send them out to play.
Has someone you knew ever appeared as a character in a book (consciously or subconsciously)?
It would probably be more accurate to say that I borrow personality traits from people I know or have met. I do that quite often. But I make it a rule to never borrow too heavily. I write fiction, and I want to keep it that way.
That said—I broke my own rule when I wrote Gray Zone. I’m the mother of four daughters, and one of those daughters was so perfect for the book that I couldn’t resist. Autumn was closely based on a real person, although thankfully my daughter was never cyberbullied.
What do you do when you get writer's block?
Writer’s block doesn’t scare me. When it rears its ugly head, I play whack-a-mole, with the hammer being small, easily accomplished goals.
I wrote my first four novels while working full-time and raising a family. I learned that if I keep plugging away, writer’s block can be overcome, just like any other obstacle. The trick is to never give up.
If you could live in a book's world, which would you choose?
I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I’d live in the Star Trek world in a heartbeat. Realistic enough to be believable, yet even the sky isn’t the limit.
What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
Harry Potter, or at least the early ones. I enjoyed the books, and I was pleased that the early movies stayed true to the story.
If you could have lunch with one other author (dead or alive!), who would it be?
Agatha Christie. She had a great sense of humor and a fantastic imagination.
Oh, and I’d rather have lunch with her alive, of course. Better conversation that way.
Wild Card Question: You have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology (Archaeology). How did you initially select this major? What did you plan to do with it and were you inspired by Indiana Jones?
Indiana Jones certainly made archaeology seem like an exciting career, but Agatha Christie gets the credit for that first spark of interest. The theme of archaeology runs through a lot of her books, probably because she was married to an archaeologist and went on digs with him.
My intention was to specialize in the decoding of ancient languages. I wanted to hear the voices of ancient people and help the world hear them.
I still adore archaeology, and it’s often a theme in my novels. As a matter of fact, of the six novels I’ve written so far (one not yet published), Gray Zone is the only one that has nothing to do with archaeology.
Thanks! Happy reading.
Veronica, thank you for visiting with LitPick! We love the imagery you shared of your baby stories! We’re also very happy to hear that you prefer to have lunch with Agatha Christie alive!
SIX MINUTES WITH VERONICA TABARES:
Today Veronica Tabares joins LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author! Veronica is the author of the young adult book Gray Zone, the adult fiction book Department of Temporal Adjustment, and the picture books Monster of a Problem and Monkeys on an Island. She is also the author of the Behold the Eye trilogy of books, Book 1: Braumaru, Book 2: Cerulea, and Book 3: Viridia.
How did you get started writing?
Writing has always been a refuge for me. I would write about what bothered me and tear it up so no one else could see.
Then on Valentine’s Day of 2003 my husband was activated. Suddenly my write-then-destroy method of stress release no longer worked.
Until the dreams started. They were vivid, crazy, and screamed to be written into a book that could be published. So I wove the dreams into a story, and before I knew it the Behold the Eye trilogy was born.
Let me tell you, creating is a thousand times more satisfactory than destroying as a stress reliever. And once those first three books were published I was hooked. I’ll never stop writing.
Who influenced you?
My family. I’m not trying to brag, but I have the most fantastic family that has ever existed.
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
I’m particularly partial to Agatha Christie books. While I’m actively writing they are the only books I read.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Writing is a craft, and even the most talented writer has to work at it. The more you do it, the better you’ll be.
But don’t be fooled by that old adage that practice makes perfect. It will make you a better writer, but not a perfect one. The perfect writer could only exist if everyone in the world agreed what the perfect writing looks like. We all know that’s not likely to happen!
Live, learn, and write. Take your passion and weave it into a story you can share with others, and don’t forget to have fun doing it. To a writer, writing is part of life’s journey. Make it count.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I’m not one of those people who can write just anywhere. I’m too easily distracted. It’s probably due to years as a librarian and a mother, two vocations that require constant vigilance.
But I’ve found that as long as I have a door I can close and a window I can open, I’m good.
What else would you like to tell us?
Only that I hope you enjoy my books!
Veronica, thank you for spending six minutes with LitPick! It’s very interesting that the only books you can read when you are writing are by Agatha Christie. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to get to know you!