Recently, I posted a Call to Writers, asking my fellow author bloggers to allow me to interview them for guest-spots on my blog. (If you are interested in participating, please contact me.) I asked everyone thirty-five questions — some were basic, and others were multi-part inquiries — and I asked them to answer only what they wanted to or what was applicable. My friend and fellow-blogger, Elizabeth S. Tyree, had some very interesting responses which I’m sure will captivate you, as well. After you read her interview, please be sure to hop on over to her blog and follow her for a regular dose of her charm. And now, I present Elizabeth…
1. Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:
Hello! My name is Elizabeth S. Tyree and I write for the YA and Children’s age groups. I suppose technically they call what I do ‘Fantasy’ but I try to make sure that it is written like mid-20th century works would have been…no sex, no graphic language, and if there’s a fight scene or nastiness we move through it quickly. I don’t use a pen name because I am also a teacher and the daughter of a preacher so I work with people of all age groupings. It would be confusing for many of them to try to find my work if I used a pseudonym!
2.Please provide the link to your blog (and website, Facebook fan page, Twitter, etc.):
3. How many books have you written?
I have completed first (or even second) drafts of (I think) 9 books of various genres and target age audiences.
4. Has any of your work been published yet? If so, please share the link(s) to purchase it:
Yes, there are currently 4 available books, which can be found on Amazon and Kindle at www.amazon.com/author/elizabethtyree
5. If you have been published, did you self-publish or use traditional publishing? Why? If you have not been published yet, what are your plans for the future?
I self-published through Createspace.com. Originally I was looking to go the ‘traditional’ route, but then I decided to enter the Amazon Breakout Novel Award, which uses the formatting available on Createspace as the platform for entry. Since I was already ready to publish by the time I was able enter the contest, I just continued on that path.
6. How old were you when you started writing? When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I can’t remember not being a writer. I never knew it could be a conscious decision!
7. What would you say motivates you to keep writing?
When I think I can stop, something always inspires a line or a story and it just beats my skull and twitches my fingers until I get it out on paper.
8. Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you currently reading (or what is the last book you read)?
I usually read middle grade books since I am a teacher and author in that age group, so my favorites include Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling, and a myriad of old school YA authors (Anne M. Martin, the author of The Babysitter’s Club series is amazing!). I also love Nora Roberts, J.R.R. Tolkien, Louisa May Alcott, and C.S. Lewis. The last book I finished was Cassandra Claire’s City of Fallen Angels
9. What is your preferred reading method? (i.e., Kindle, Nook, paperback, hardback, etc.) Why?
I prefer to hold the book, feel the paper, and smell the ink. I don’t much care if the book I have is paperback or hardback, as long as I have it.
10. Do you write in first or third person, past or present tense, and why?
I tend to write in third person past tense, although it really depends on how the story needs to be told. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you try to make something past tense, it will come out present. And sometimes one character’s voice will force itself out above the rest.
11. Do you “always read” or do you take breaks between reading books?
I always have a book or three handy, but that doesn’t mean I’m always reading.
12. How many books would you say you read in a year? How many at any one time?
I used to read dozens of books in a year, but now I’m lucky to get one in a month. I have three sitting by my bed, waiting on me to get past the first few chapters.
ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BOOK::
13. What is the title of your current work in progress of the most recent manuscript you’ve completed?
My current works in progress are ‘Vincent’, ‘Sylvester’, and ‘Dragons in the Deep’. My most recent publish is a book of my short story blog posts…I post a short story every Sunday so this book is entitled (geniusly) ‘Short Story Sundays’
14. What is your novel’s genre? Would you say there is a sub-genre? What makes yours different than other books in the same genre?
Forget about Short Story Sunday for a moment (it is a hodgepodge of genres and styles) and take a look at my series, The Stone Dragon Saga. Those stories are Young Adult Fantasy, but without the strong lean on typical grand magics and sexual content.
15. What inspired the current or most recent story you’ve completed?
I began the first of The Stone Dragon Saga, Dragon on My Neck, as a short story for contest on writing.com a few years ago. The story just wouldn’t stop and Aliphonsore, my main character, had much more to say than a short story would allow.
16. What is your target audience’s age, gender, etc.?
My target audience is anyone willing to suspend themselves and dive into my dragons’ story. Though technically I suppose the age would be more like 8-12.
17. Do you want to tell us a little bit about your story?
Dragon on My Neck, the first in the series, begins with a dragon shaped choker who is more than it seems: Aliphonsore is the only known fairy dragon in existence, and he has been kidnapped by the power mad fairy queen. Can her husband and his guard help Aliphonsore escape and save his family? How did he get to our world? And How did a college student come to own such a unique and amazing creature? These are just a few of the questions that are answered in this tale.
ABOUT HOW YOU WRITE::
18. How often do you write?
I try to write every day, but sometimes life gets in my way.
19. Approximately how many words do you write at each sitting?
This also depends on outside factors, like how long my toddler sleeps! I can usually get between 500 and a few thousand depending on her naps. (in case you haven’t noticed, I’m fairly verbose!)
20. Do you do your own editing or send it to someone else?
I do my first edit, then I send the work to my parents. My parents are both certified teachers and my dad is also an author.
21. What is your method of writing? (i.e., Do you write the entire manuscript, then go back and make changes? Do you plan chapters as you go along or write the story then go back and add chapters? Do you re-read as you go along or after you are done with the first draft?)
I handwrite everything in notebooks first, then I type up the sections and take that time to arrange chapters. Though I generally forget to put in the chapters somewhere along the middle. I do my research but don’t plan out things for the most part. My characters are loud enough without me trying to push them around.
22. Do you have a muse? If so, please elaborate. If not, what inspires you?
I occasionally get a visit from a random muse, but am mostly just inspired by nature and my daughter.
23. How long does it take you to write a full manuscript?
Months of pain, toil, blood, and grouchiness…or approximately 163 gallons of hot tea and coffee. (I quit smoking when I became a mother and its more difficult to judge time now)
24. Do you give yourself a word limit for each day or a time limit to finish your novel? If so, please elaborate.
Every time I try to give myself limits like that, I subconsciously become very deliberate with my procrastination.
25. How do you come up with your character names and geographic location / business names?
Some of them just roll off the fingertips, some of them start out with a name I’ve carefully chosen but then abruptly change.
26. How long (or how detailed) are the notes you take before you start writing?
I have a few lines, place names, and possible visit places jotted on notecards, but I make notes in hindsight…notecards covered in color coded ink to keep all of the names and storylines in order.
27. Do you have any “must haves” to help you write? (i.e., a full cup of coffee, a view of the ocean, etc.)
I wish I had the ocean to look at! I vacationed in South Texas for a week a few years ago and wrote at least ¼ of my novel in just one day on the sand. Half of the novel was finished by the time I went home. Now I just make sure I have the current ‘special’ notebook and brightly colored ink pens to keep me in line.
28. Do you only write during a certain time of day or in a certain location? If so, do you make yourself stop after a certain time?
When I get the chance to write, I write. I write until I can’t write anymore, and it doesn’t matter where or when I am. However, I do have a ‘writer’s loft’ to disappear to when I need to have the extra sense of isolation from the busy world.
29. Does your real life ever neglected because of your writing?
If so, how do you feel about that? My writing is more often neglected because of my ‘real’ life. However, I do passive aggressively forget to wash dishes or pick up toddler toys to take that extra few minutes of writing time.
30. What is the quirkiest thing you do or have ever done when writing?
I was told that sitting outside on the porch during a severe thunderstorm was both quirky and plain stupid, but I think that laying upside down on the couch (head hanging off the seat, feet propped on the back) and writing on my spiral notebook in neon purple is possibly the quirkiest thing I’ve done. I am addicted to colored pens, so I always have them on me, carrying a notebook and pens at all times.
ABOUT YOUR WORK::
31. If you have written more than one novel, which is your favorite and why?
I think that Dragon on My Neck is my favorite because it is the novel that introduced me to my characters and brought me the series. Although, technically, My House is the first novel that I completed, Dragon on My Neck was, and still is, my ‘baby’.
32. If you could be one of your own characters for a day, who would it be and why?
I would probably be either Aliphonsore or his little sister, Alexiann. They’re dragons and have very interesting powers that you don’t usually see in dragons now-a-days. They also get to jet set with an artist and his assistants…who are their ‘keepers’ in this world.
33. If one of your books became a movie, who would you choose for the “perfect cast” of main characters?
Johnny Depp as Joseph the Artist, Sean Astin as Jason, Anthony Stewart-Head as Jason’s Uncle Brandon, Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Passiona, Emilie de Revine for Anna, and Emma Watson as either Jane or Polly…that leaves dragon voices and two main characters unaccounted for (I think Robert Downey Jr. should at least be dragon…just so I faint on his feet after I get up off of Depp’s)
34. What is the oddest thing you have ever researched for one of your books?
Mobster last will and testament types, approximations, etc. As well as the inheritance average of a ‘turf’ from father to child in such a family. (for My House, which is currently being re-drafted. Excerpts can be found on the blog.)
35. What is the most difficult thing you have ever researched for one your books and why?
Honestly, trying to find the dragon in world history that matches my dragons is probably the most difficult thing. As much as I love history and mythology, it is maddening to not be able to locate your character in history. This means that readers will not have the basis to understand them as I do unless I show them off to great advantage. The 15th century Spanish monarchy was a little dicey as well…those kingdoms were crazy!
Thank you, Elizabeth, for allowing me to interview you. I hope everyone else has enjoyed learning about you and your work as much as I have.