What does your writing process look like?
My writing process is all over the place. Sometimes I get a burst to write every day and sometimes I’ll go a week or longer not writing. For brand new books, though, the process is…interesting. First, something will happen that will give me an idea. I’ll fight it, reminding myself that I don’t need any more stories. But the idea will persist, adding characters names or other details. I’ll fight it until it’s all I can think about and then I finally give in. Then I start jotting down characters, details, scenes, whatever comes to mind on the story. Those details get put on the back burner for like five years since I already have close to ten stories that I need to finish.
What book do you wish you could have written?
There are soo many books I wish I could have written. There are three main ones that come to mind, though (because, really, I can’t just pick one). The first one is The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. This is my favorite Sarah Dessen book and Wes is absolutely swoon worthy. I love the relationships in this book. Second is Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. Jodi Picoult is a freaking genius. Nineteen Minutes is about a school shooting and I feel like she did such an amazing job getting all sides of the story. That book had me on my toes the whole time. The third is Bright Side by Kim Holden .This book spoke to me in ways that very few have. The characters, the plot, everything about that story is flawless. And it’s also gut-wrenching and I take a sick pride in making people cry.
How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have name choosing resources you recommend?
Names are VERY important. I love nothing more than finding unique, awesome names. I think being an author has given me an unhealthy obsession with names. Sometimes I find names (either first or first and middle, sometimes last but I struggle with those the most) and I just fall in love. I’ve actually been known to meet someone and be like “Oh my gosh, I’m so stealing your name for a book!” I usually go by the sound because I don’t much care for the meaning of names. My best name finding source is Google. Seriously, whoever invented it is a genius.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Writing wise? I hope I’ll still be publishing. I have enough material to publish through 2020 and that’s just with the stories I’ve started now. Who knows what else will pop into my brain between now and then. I just have to get my butt in gear and actually write. Um, otherwise, I don’t know where my life will be in ten years. I don’t like to try to predict the future. Because a year ago if you’d asked me where I would be today, I definitely wouldn’t have answered “I have two books published with a third due out in two months and publishing plans through 2017 with an amazing PA and a fanbase and building a name for myself as an Indie Author.” You never know what life will throw at you so I just take it one day at a time.
Were you already a great writer? Have you always liked to write?
This is going to be conceited but I think writing is like my only great natural talent. No one taught me, I didn’t really take any classes for it. I just read a lot. My writing began when I discovered the world of Harry Potter fan fiction. I have an unhealthy obsession with the Marauders and Lily and started with their fan fiction. I was fascinated because no one knows what really happens in their school years. After reading for a while, I started coming up with my own. I posted them online and oh, man, the response I got was beyond amazing (and that was back when I first started out and my writing pretty much sucked). I still have friends I talk to who are rooting me on from my fan fic days. They gave me the confidence to do this. After I did fan fiction for a while, I started getting ideas for my own characters and stories. I don’t know what I would do without my writing and I’m so beyond grateful that I have the opportunity to share my books with others.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I read every single one of my reviews. I know some authors don’t read the bad reviews. Hats off to them for having the will power but I’m curious and have no will power. I don’t generally respond to reviews unless they contact me first. Every time I get a bad review, I remind myself “Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Sarah Dessen, Jodi Picoult. Every single one of them get bad reviews, even on new books. I’m never going to write a book that everyone is going to love.”
Do you have nicknames?
Without fail, whenever someone meets me, they end up calling me Tar(tear)-Bear. Or my twinie calls me Tara-Bear. My nephew calls me Aunt Turra. My parents, and no one else really, call me Tara Lin. And people who want to be jerks call me Tar-a. I swear, my name is four letters and two syllables and I have so many issues with people trying to spell it or pronounce it correctly.
What’s your middle name?
Well, as most of you have guessed already, my middle name is Lin. But wait! There’s more. I have a second middle name. It’s Nicole.
Do you dance crazy when no one is looking?
Or when people are looking. There’s never a bad time to dance crazy.
Can you fake accents?
I can say “I can’t find me mum, have you seen her? She was over by the water with the trolley and now she’s gone” in a pretty convincing British accent. Other than that, I can basically do an old southern aunt. Accents aren’t my strong suit.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
This is going to sound like I’m totally tooting my own horn, but really I’m probably just delusional. I fancy myself a cross between Jodi Picoult and Sarah Dessen. I love that Jodi isn’t afraid to write about the hard topics. And her books almost never have a happy ending. Sarah Dessen, on the other hand, does have some heavier topics but there’s always a sweet love story in there. I want to be the perfect mix between the two. I want to write about heavy topics (death, suicide, drug abuse, sexual abuse, teen homelessness) but I want there to be a sweet story in there too with a happy ending for all