HT-Most of the time I compartmentalize pretty well, but every now and then I find myself writing in the wrong “tone.” Although all of my characters are in the same universe, they clump together in cliques like people in real life. I’m trying to keep each clique in their own little corner, but sometimes I lose track how serious each is supposed to be.
MP-You use humor in your books do you find it’s a good icebreaker for your characters or a crutch for when they are nervous?
HT-Definitely a crutch – I’ve got quite a few characters who use humor as a defense mechanism because they lack better social skills to deal with tricky situations. I guess I’m projecting somewhat because I’m the same way.
MP-Do you get to write fulltime or do you have a “day job”?
HT-Up until last year I did freelance nonfiction writing. Now I’m doing the starving artist thing and writing fiction full-time (what is full-time for a fiction writer? Do we go by words per day or hours? If I actually wrote eight hours/day and stopped diddling around on the Internet I’d be churning out something like 10,000 words/day.) I’m not actually starving, by the way. I’m pretty cheap to maintain so my husband is quietly subsidizing my lifestyle at the moment.
MP-What’s your favorite setting that you use from North Carolina?
HT-Right now I’m working on a novel-length work that’s set in part in an old railroad town called Enfield. There’s honestly not much going on there, but that actually gives me a plot device to use. You can do a lot of stuff with empty old buildings.
MP-You also write fantasy books. Which book genre do you feel gives you the most freedom?
HT-That’s tough. I try to make my fantasy close enough to real life that readers wonder “could that be true?” I take some liberties with physiology or physics, but keep it down to Earth (literally). I find that although most of my characters utilize colorful language, my fantasy characters tend to be more likely to replace most words in a sentence with a swear word than my romance characters.
Blurb for The Spirit of Things:
Nikki Stacy is a middle school math and science teacher. To make ends meet she advises her school’s rag-tag cheerleading squad for the extra paycheck supplement. When the squad’s antics lead to a girl’s injury, Nikki butts heads with squad dad Charlie. Frustrated, Nikki seeks a job that will really make her happy, but Charlie won’t let her move on without tidying up the loose ends she left behind.
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