Hello Black Words-White Pages fans and thank you for stopping by!! Ready to meet another Sleuthing Woman Author? Today we are featuring Tara Meyers!! Click on her name to follow her on Facebook and see what kind of books she writes!!
Now to get on with the interview!!
What is the first book that made you cry?
Where the Red Fern Grows.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Most days it energizes, but if it’s an emotional scene, it can be exhausting!
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Emotional turmoil in my “real” life.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
Yes, but nothing I can’t work out with a long hike in the woods. (Seriously)
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
My closest author friend is Deborah Garner. She’s an amazing woman and a source of both support and inspiration. She’s always there for me as a steady sounding board, and supplies a constant stream of levelheaded advice.
I have several readers that have gone on to be ARC and then BETA readers. One in particular, Annamarie, has been a huge support and super-fan. I love connecting with readers, because that’s why I write!!
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
The only real people I’ve based characters on are the girls in the first book of my middle grade mystery series. Sam and Ally were originally myself and my best friend, Lisa. I did this, because I was only fifteen when I started that book! I later re-wrote it and changed the names, having learned that it’s often a bad idea to write in people you know. The only other time, was a side-character named Lexie in The Secret of Camp Whispering Pines. My niece, Lexie, is a super fan and she was absolutely thrilled to be in one of my stories!
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Five right now, but then also a few other outlines.
Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
Keeping it real. I actually don’t struggle too much with it. I’ve always been a tomboy and had several professions where I worked closely with men (I was a firefighter/EMT for years), so I feel I have a pretty good insight into how they are.
How many hours a day do you write?
A minimum of two, up to six or eight, depending on where I’m at with the book.
Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?
Not really. I’ve always had strong feelings about fiction and what it means to me.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Oh my gosh. It gets harder with each book. I’ve gotten to keeping lists so I don’t repeat them. It’s totally, absolutely random. (Unless there’s a special meaning attached for a specific culture/etc.)
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
Something in emergency medicine. I currently also work in an ER.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Yes. I re-read the good ones when I’m feeling down or discouraged, and I use the negatives as fuel to drive me to improve my work.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
There are subtle things in my mysteries, that only the most attentive readers will pick up on. 😉
What was your hardest scene to write?
There was a very traumatic scene in the third book of my young adult trilogy that involved one of the main characters essentially dying, and another one administering CPR. I used my own, personal experiences as a way to make that scene painfully realistic. It was emotional for me.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
Material goods. I’ve learned that there are more important things in life than “stuff”.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Trixie Beldon series, but the first will always stay with me. (The Secret Mansion)
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
A third of the way through a book, although I write an extensive outline, meshing all of my different “threads” into something cohesive without any holes, always forces me to pause and rethink everything. I never have to re-write earlier scenes, but it’s a slow and careful process that takes a lot of thought. I can’t force it, and I’ve learned to expect it and just go with it.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A couple of weeks for the outline, about a month or so to write, and another two weeks for edits, so usually two months.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Julie Campbell, Ken Follett, Dean Koontz
Who are some authors in your genre that inspire you?
Deborah Garner, CeeCee James, Tonya Kappes
What are some great books you’ve read recently?
I don’t get a chance to read nearly enough lately. The last story I read hasn’t been published yet, but it’s an amazing fantasy called Wolf’s Oath.
What types of books do you enjoy in your downtime?
I always enjoy a good mystery/thriller!
What sort of research did you do to write this book?
My most recent book I published was the first in my cozy series, You Can Lead a Horse to Murder. I had to do a ton of research on animal medicine, because the main character is a veterinarian, and she deals with a few different breeds and situations in the story. I also had to research Farriers, horse breeding and laws, ranches, different animal illnesses, drug doses and administration, autopsies and procedures, coroners and different levels of certification in the state of Washington. There was more, but that’s some of it. 😉
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
You know, this is why I write an extensive outline. I could never be a “pantser” (or someone who makes up the story as they go along) I would totally get lost in my own story and it would end up making NO sense. So, I start with a theme, then a setting, and then introduce the main characters and write biographies on them. I then think up the initial conflict, the risks/benefits and outcome. Then, I introduce minor conflicts and ways around them, then finally a second or third “theme” to help tie everything together and make the reader more invested. In the end, I don’t know where the over-all idea really “came” from; it just sort of evolves, like a very detailed, weeks-long daydream.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
Marketing for the first two to three hours (at least), and then writing/editing for two to six. That’s on my days off from my 8-hour swing shift job. Days that I work at the hospital, I condense all of that down to three or four hours.
What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?
A good feeling. I want them to experience some healthy escapism to a place that while intriguing, exciting, and sometimes dangerous, still ends with them feeling a sense of contentment. (And that they want to go back!)
If your novel were being made into a movie, whom would you pick to play the lead roles?
This is hard for me, but I guess the closest match for Ember Burns would be Karen Gillan (Nebula in Avengers and Martha in Jumanji)
Do you outline books ahead of time or are you more of a by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer?
I absolutely outline. It’s the key to my being able to write a cohesive story. Hats off to those who can pull it off without one!
What do you do in your free time when you aren’t writing?
I enjoy walks on the beach with my dogs, nature photography, hiking, and spending time with my family!
Do you put yourself in your books/characters at all?
I never intentionally base a character upon myself, but I think it’s only natural that a little bit of us is in every single one of the characters we create. How can we help it?
What has been one of your most rewarding experiences as an author?
Having kids look at me as if I’m someone special when asking me to sign my book for them. That’s something I dreamed about when I was a child myself, and to have it happen is surreal on so many good levels!
Out of all the books you’ve written, do you have a favorite?
The Mystery of Hollow Inn will always be closest to my heart. But I think that my most recent work, You Can Lead a Horse to Murder, is my best writing to date.
What are your top three favorite books of all time?
Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett
The Secret of the Mansion, Julie Campbell
Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
There's a killer in Sanctuary, and the prime suspect is a horse!
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Thank you so much, Tara, for stopping by and letting us get to know you!! This has been a lot of fun!! To know more about this author and her books starting on June 12, 2018, join the Facebook group HERE!!! There will be takeovers and lots of fun things to come!!