Saturday, 18 July 2015

Getting to Know the Authors: Featuring Tina Connolly!

    Tina Connolly is the author of the Ironskin trilogy from Tor Books, and the Seriously Wicked series, from Tor Teen. Ironskin, her first fantasy novel, was a Nebula finalist. Her stories have appeared in Women Destroy SF, Lightspeed,, Strange Horizons, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and many more. Her narrations have appeared in audiobooks and podcasts including Podcastle, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, John Joseph Adams' The End is Nigh series, and more. She runs the Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake.
    She is originally from Lawrence, Kansas, but she now lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.
Her Website:

She has Written:
Ironskin, The End in Nigh, Copperhead, Seriously Wicked, Silverblind, Old Dead Futures: A Tor.Com Original, Scales and Other Transformations, That Seriously Obnoxious Time I Was Stuck at Witch Rimelda's One Hundredth Birthday Party: A Tor.Com Original, A Buildup of Days, A Million Little Paper Airplane Stories, (Writing Prompts: The Paper Airplane, #2), Coin Flips, and Writing Prompts: The Paper Airplane.

Now on to the Interview!
1) How old were you when you started writing, in your opinion?
I didn’t really start writing until after college. I mean, I did write some bits of plays and some other things here in there in high school and college, but I was mostly focused on acting at the time (and READING, of course!) Anyway, after college I ended up in a 24-hour call center that was reasonably dead at night. So I started writing.

2) What do you want a reader to gain from reading your works?
The first time I was asked this question (about five years ago) I said I was just setting out to entertain. The questioner had read some of my work and thought that this wasn’t actually true, so then I went back and thought about this question a lot. Now I think if your story becomes a “message” story then you’ve lost the game, but it’s true, there are a lot of things I feel strongly about that go straight into my work. One, obviously, is that I like writing stories about girls realizing they can save the day and then doing it. (I like people in general realizing that they’re capable of more than they thought.) So I guess what I want people to gain is a) a greater understanding of other people (one of my delights in reading fiction) and b) a greater understanding of the fact that they are awesome and can go forth and be awesome.

3) What are your three top suggestions on becoming an author, or being a pleasure writer?
First, I do think it’s great to write just for fun. I think everyone should have an art they do for fun. I sing and play the piano, for example, neither particularly well, but certainly well enough to entertain me. :) 
1. Read a lot, obviously. If you don’t like reading you should probably ask yourself what you like better and be doing that (like, if you like movies and want to write, then you could try writing film scripts)
2. If you want to do it seriously then you should probably set yourself some goals of writing and finishing and submitting things. Look at your process and see where you break down (hard to find time? hard to finish? frightening to submit?)
3. And then my favorite piece of actual writing advice is to take all the things you love and put them all in. Put another way, write exactly the book you want to read. (This is why my book that just came out, Seriously Wicked, has wicked witches who are hilariously unpleasant (to me, anyway), demons who imitate Elvis, stubborn girls who try very hard to rescue the boy in distress, etc, etc.)

4) What is your favourite novel, why? / Who is your favourite author, why?
Here are a couple:
Jane Austen – Pride & Prejudice. (It’s been so lovely to see all the modern adaptations – many are very good.) My list goes P&P, Persuasion, Sense & Sensibility, Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey. Austen is both so witty and so sharp when it comes to observing people.
Diana Wynne Jones – Fire & Hemlock, Witch Week, Archer’s Goon, Howl’s Moving Castle, etc, etc. DWJ is also very funny, and very sharp in her character observations. She also has such marvelous, magical, and creative  worldbuilding. I love all her books.

5) What are your favorite pastimes besides writing?
I have a 4.5 year old and a 1.5 year old so I haven’t had a lot of free time in the last five years! My other two main interests are theatre and art. I make time for podcasting (I just finished up my flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake at 150 episodes.) Last year I wrote a full-length YA dystopia play with a theatre friend and we produced it here in Portland. And I theoretically still work summers as a face painter, though my novel deadlines have been too tight the last couple summers to really sneak away to do that. I would like to get back to some everyday sketching—life drawing and painting outdoors—and once we get some more of the fixer house fixed, I look forward to getting a piano again.

6) Who in your life do you credit your imagination to the most?
My parents—my mom always encouraged us to try things and take chances, and my dad told us wonderful bedtime stories—one was like a long serialized Indiana Jones type adventure.

7) What are the top five things on your bucket list?
- I want to spend a semester or year abroad with my family.
- I want to have a book or film script made into a movie.
I don’t know, I’ve been lucky enough to get some of the things on my previous bucket list already! So, three things I’d like to have as soon as my current, coming-up-really-soon-now, deadline for turning in Seriously Wicked 2 is met:
- a real dinner out, like with a babysitter and everything
- time to bake something extravagant, like cinnamon rolls or pie
- time to read huge vast quantities of my massive TBR pile. Ideally I’ll do some of this sitting outside in a deck chair. 

8) What is your funniest childhood memory?
My best friend and I decided to audition for the junior high talent show. After the fifth girl went through her lip-synced rendition of Eternal Flame, we got up and did a snappy rendition of that teenage classic, Who’s on First? There was utter silence. 

9) To the youth of today, if you could tell them one thing, what would it be?
Love each other. Sleep is awesome. So is pie. You can grow up to have two careers, if you want. You might need coffee to do this. Travel. Use your feet. Be kind.

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