Friday, May 30, 2014

Author Interview with Tabitha Ormiston-Smith – New Book Release, Dance of Chaos

Tell us about something that has just happened or is about to happen in your life that you would like to share.
My puppy Emily, born last September, is still a daily revelation. Emily was born almost into my hands, and I held her little cord closed for twenty minutes to stop the bleeding. It was one of the most awe-inspiring experiences I’ve ever had.

What inspired you to start writing, and when?
I don’t know that I really was inspired. It just always seemed a natural thing to do. I actually started writing Dance of Chaos quite by accident. I was testing my new computer, which my boyfriend at the time had built out of spare parts, to be sure it all worked correctly, and found I’d written two chapters of a novel.

How many books have you written?  If more than one, are any a series…or trilogy?
Two and a half novels (one in progress). The two published ones, Dance of Chaos and Gift of Continence, are the first two books in a planned trilogy. The work in progress is an historical novel. And I’m collecting short stories for a collection that I hope to release around the end of this year.

What is the name of your most recent book and please sum it up in 50 words or less.
Dance of Chaos – about a young woman who takes a job in her company’s Infotech because sitting the aptitude tests will get her an afternoon off work. Predictably, this frivolous attitude doesn’t lead to a great success on the job. While this is going on, on the home front she struggles to deal with the chaos caused by her schoolboy brother’s obsession with pornography.

Do you have plans for a new book?
Well, as I say, I have one in progress, and then there will be a third book to round off the Fiona MacDougall series. I’ve got notes for it, and I’m planning to send Fiona to live in the country. I’ve also plans for an episodic series, like the popular Witchwood Estate series, although mine will not be fantasy.

Is there an Author that you would really like to meet?
Not really, at least not in the sense of wanting to meet some famous person that I don’t know. I’m not much of a one for chasing celebrities. I greatly admire Stephen King, but his thoughts are all shared in his book, On Writing, so I’ve no need to meet him in person. The one author I would really like to see in person is my good friend Patti Roberts; sadly, she lives at the other end of our vast country.

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?
Ebooks, for sure! You can carry thousands of them with you, you can be on the train and suddenly decide you’d rather read a different book. They cost so little, in fact I get a great many free, and best of all they don’t take up any room in the house and never need to be dusted. And they can’t be destroyed or lost, as long as you have a backup.

Where do you prefer to buy your books?
I mostly buy from Amazon or Smashwords. I used to buy from Angus and Robertson, but their refusal to honour gift vouchers at the time of their financial trouble left a bad taste in my mouth and I now prefer not to deal with them.

Are you a self- published (Indie) Author? Yes!

What books would you like to read again?
Well, there are particular favourites to which I return again and again. Drinking Sapphire Wine by Tanith Lee. Deerskin by Robin McKinley. Pride and Prejudice, of course. Lord of the Rings. The Once and Future King, by T.H. White. The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis.

Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
Not a movie, no; I don’t believe there is a good fit between a book and a movie. To my mind, a better relationship in terms of the amount of content is between a movie and a short story. But a television series. Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie’s Jeeves and Wooster, surprisingly, made Wodehouse’s books come alive in a way that, although they were screamingly funny in the first place, left me forever preferring the series.

What book are you currently reading and in what format (ebook/paperback/hardcover)?
Sign of the Moon by Erin Hunter. It’s on my Kindle. I adore the Warrior Cats series.

Who designed the cover of your book?
The awesomely talented, energetic, clever and lovable Patti Roberts. I don’t know where I’d be without Patti. But my beautiful niece, Cindy Smeeton Chenhall, also deserves a mention for being the Face of Fiona on my covers, and Darrell Caruana of Glimmarpics Photography for the cover shoot.

Do you find yourself intrigued by the cover of a book enough to buy it? 

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Not really. Heaven knows I’m no expert.
But I do have some advice for wannabe writers. Don’t imagine you can get by without a sound knowledge of the workings of your own language. Trying to write a book when you can’t write a proper sentence of English is like trying to build the Taj Mahal out of old cardboard boxes. If you need to, swallow your pride and go back to school. You will never regret it.

Do you write under a pen name?  A Yes or No answer is fine. No

Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
Certainly not! What a slovenly habit.

What are your pet peeves?
People who use ‘lay’ intransitively. I just want to bitch-slap them until they die. Dangling modifiers. People who adopt a lordly and dismissive attitude to grammar, as if they were somehow above it. And misplaced apostrophes. But overall, indie authors who don’t bother to have their work properly edited. If you’re putting yourself out there and selling your work, the purchaser has a right to expect a certain level of professionalism.

What are your favorite food and beverage? Coffee

Do you write outside of your favorite genre?  Why?
I tend to explore different genres and styles in short stories. They’re like a laboratory where you can try out new things without a big commitment. I can’t see myself ever not writing comedy in a book though.

In your case, how many hours do you devote to research and writing per day?
That depends on what I’m working on, and is so variable that it wouldn’t make sense to say. But I would rarely write for more than a few hours at a time. I find I lose my edge if I go on for too long in one session.

What are 4 things you never leave home without (apart from keys, money and phone)?
My dog. And a packet of poo bags, just in case.

Sleep in or get up early?
Definitely get up early. Those precious hours in the early morning are my absolute best working time. Often I get up at four.

Laptop or desktop for writing?
I have a laptop which I use when I go to the country, but mainly I prefer my desktop machine. I like the big screen and the full size keyboard. Occasionally I will take a laptop into the garden, but nearly always I stay in my office.

Your favorite gadget - 
My Kobo mini.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Early in the morning, in my office.

Your thoughts on receiving book reviews - the good and the bad - 
I’ve never had a really bad review, so I’ve been excited and happy every time I’ve read someone’s review of my stuff. I know, though, that that means a bad review is somewhere in my future. I trust that I will behave properly when that happens. I.e. not whining about it, either to the writer of it or to anyone else. It’s important to bear in mind that every reader is entitled to his opinion, and whatever the reader is like, it was your book that caused him to form that opinion, whatever it is.

Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
After reading Alexander McCall Smith’s wonderful series The No 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, I’d like to go to Botswana. It sounds like such a beautifully civilised place.

One of your favorite quotes –
“And with that he took the bloody old towser by the scruff of the neck, and by Jesus, he near throttled him.” (From Ulysses)

List 3 of your favorite movies?
Star Wars
True Lies
The Castle

What is a movie or TV show that you watched just recently and really enjoyed?
I just saw a premiere of Healing, a wonderful, wonderful film.

Where can your readers stalk you? Catch me on Facebook ( or Twitter (@Ormiston-Smith)

Is your book in Print, ebook or both? both.

Buy your copy now on Amazon - HERE

If you have enjoyed reading this post, please share it with your friends - and help support an indie author. 

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