Friday, 29 August 2014

AUTHOR LOWDOWN with Bridget Blackwood and Astrid V. Tallaksen

If you had to choose a tattoo for someone else to get, what would it be and who would be the victim?

Astrid: I think it would have to be my husband. He's a bass player and has been a musician for a long time. There's this tattoo I've seen that's vines in the shape of a bass or treble clef with cardinals on it (cardinals remind him of his mom). That's the nice version of what tattoo I'd make someone get. I guess I could also make Bridget get a tattoo that says “Astrid's PR wrangler” ;)

Bridget: I’d wear it as a badge of honor. I’d make my husband get a tattoo also. He hates them and likes to pick on me for mine so I think he needs a giant Mickey Mouse on his chest.

Astrid: He should just be glad it's not on his forehead...

Do you have a favourite author? Who is it/are they?

Astrid: Madeleine L'Engle is and always has been my favorite author, and Diana Gabaldon would be a close second.

Bridget: My most dreaded question. I can never pick one. I’ll say The Princess Bride is my favourite book because I literally cannot pick a favourite author.

Astrid: Cheater. You have to pick a favorite author!! I bet you'd like Peter Beagle if you read The Last Unicorn.

Bridget: Fine! I’ll say Karen Marie Moning or Sherrilyn Kenyon. I’ve never read The Last Unicorn but I loved the movie as a kid. My kids watch it now. I’m sure the book is better.

How did you start your writing career?

Astrid: Well, when I was in kindergarten I wrote my first book, Princess Cottontail's Bad Dream (it was about a bunny rabbit – my mom still has it). As an adult, my real pursuit of writing, and the place I really cut my teeth on writing fiction is a website called Althanas, which is a creative writing workshop in the guise of a roleplaying forum.

Bridget: Rachel, my heroine in Rising Shadows, wouldn’t shut up. She yammered in my head 24/7. I wrote to make her stop.

Astrid: Got to love those characters who won't shut up. Sara was that way for me.

Bridget: If we could make muzzles for them we’d be rich. Think of all the sleep writers could get.

Which character was the hardest to write and why? 

Astrid: Samael is a pain in the balls to write. He's a bad guy, he's batshit crazy, but I wanted him to be more than just a crazy villain. Yes he's crazy, but that crazy has made him think he's right and doing something that will make the world better. It's hard to walk that line.

Bridget: Samael is scary crazy. I’m pretty sure he has rabid squirrels in his head instead of a brain. My hardest character was Madalaina. I had to handle her with care because I wanted her experiences in the book to be true to life without damaging her too much or stalling the story. She took a lot out of me.

Astrid: But Madalaina has turned out so awesome. I love her strength and her vulnerability. It's hard to strike that balance but I think you've really accomplished it. And yes, I can confirm that Sam has rabid squirrels for brains.

Bridget: I knew it.

If you write under an alias/Nome de plume, how do you deal with being addressed by that name?

Astrid: I haven't had anyone really address me by it. Although a friend of mine jokes and asks if I'm bringing my friend Astrid with me whenever we plan to hang out.

Bridget: I kept my first name the same. I would earn a reputation as the rudest writer to meet in person if I had changed it because I never catch it when someone calls me by another name.

Astrid: Let's hope that doesn't happen to me...

Bridget: *fingers crossed*

How would you classify the genre you write?

Astrid: It's a tricky cross between urban fantasy and paranormal romance

Bridget: Paranormal romance. I have some fantasy elements with the creatures I introduce but I don’t feel I can call it fantasy.

Astrid: Don't you just hate genre? Bridget knows how much I struggled to find the right genre for mine. I think Paranormal Romance is a sub-genre of fantasy to be honest.

Bridget: Agreed.

If you weren’t an author, what would you have ended up doing?

Astrid: Probably being Bridget's editor ;)

Bridget: Ha! Astrid is my first line of defense against publishing the hot mess I end up with in the rough draft. She is indispensable. I’m a stay at home mom of three; two of them are homeschooled and one is a toddler. I’d have slightly more free time if I wasn’t writing. LOL!

Astrid: Free time? What's that? You know that if you got rid of writing your kids would just fill that void before you had a chance to enjoy it. I know mine would.

Bridget: Way to kill a dream, Astrid.

Do you have any rituals/habits when you write?

Astrid: I have my writing playlist, which contains songs with lyrics that inspire my characters and their struggles.

Bridget: Music. Same as Astrid. I browse pinterest looking at fantasy images for visual inspiration sometimes.

What would be the weirdest one?

Astrid: Does struggling not to send Bridget the newest stuff of my current project every five minutes count?

Bridget: I skip scenes. I’ll write a note to come back and fix it later. Usually something like “Stupid dialogue I don’t want to mess with right now. Blah blah blah.” Astrid and I also like to pass snarky comments back and forth during the revisions stage. We leave comments in the margins that turn into whole conversations.

Astrid: That's the best part!

What is on your current and upcoming release schedule?

Astrid: I just released At Death's Door, and its sequel, Between Heaven & Hell is planned to release in March 2015. Hopefully book three, World on Fire, will be ready about six months after that.

Bridget: A Scarlet Fury, which is book two in my World in Shadows series, just released on August 26th. The next book will be Belong to the Night and it will be ready around March 2015.

Where are your books available?

Astrid: Kindle, Amazon (print), Nook, Kobo, Scribd, Page Foundry... I think that's all of them. Bridget would know probably.

Bridget: (That’s all, Astrid). Amazon for print and Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Scribd, & Page Foundry.

Stalker Links

Twitter: @astrid_writes

Twitter: @author_bridget

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