About the Author:
T.J. Loveless has been reading and writing stories since the fourth grade. She writes predominantly in the Spec Fic genres, with a novella series to be self-published the summer of 2013, and one MS currently in the query trenches. A former copy/content editor at a small pub house, she now freelances at Cliffhanger Editing.
She lives with one Editor Kitty, two Muses, a Hubby who prefers her mood when writing and a teenager who loves to tells stories of her mother on the floor trying to visualize “legs all akimbo” and how Writing Momma has long, often yelling, conversations with the computer screen.
MF: While compiling questions for this interview I found a tight thread of humor running through all of your social sites and your Amazon page. If we were flies on the wall and you were having a bad writing day, would we still see the humor?
TJL: Well, that depends. Do I have chocolate? Wine? Midol? To be honest, it truly is dependent on the day. Some days, no. I’m grumpy, lumpy, and just in a bad mood. I try to avoid all social media, writing, anything on those days. You’d find me watching a science show, or doing research, some heavy metal band screeching in the background. Most of the time, however, yes, the flies would see making fun of myself, snickering over the bad writing, tripping over nothing, or the latest wallplant because I didn’t pay attention to where I was going.
MF: Lucky Number Six (Book One: Fortune Cookie Series) finds mythical characters stranded in a nonmagical world. What inspired the story and characters?
TJL: It started with a rather innocent conversation. I was talking to an author, who exclusively writes novellas, and asking questions about the difference. She mentioned novellas are gaining popularity, especially with the commuter crowds.
Later, my daughter, AKA Filly, and I were talking about an episode on Supernatural with a unicorn. She commented how great it would be if it was the size of a Great Dane, but couldn’t handle vegetables very well. What? She’s 13.
The real clincher to the idea arrived via comment by a long time friend. Her job as a paramedic is high stress, and she asked when I was going to write something humorous in Urban Fantasy, she didn’t want to read about more blood, gore and dying. Our conversation turned to some of our, uh, exploits during Mardi Gras in NOLA.
Voila – The Fortune Cookie Diaries was born. Mark is modeled after Hubby (he is British), Tiffy and Janet are much like two of my sisters (with a little me mixed in – I’m the klutz and Sci Fi Geek), Miracai is as cantankerous as one of my uncles and Verna reminds me of a friend who went through some major life changes recently.
MF: What can we expect from future installments of the Fortune Cookie Series?
TJL: Odd Number Five is centered around a very mischievous leprechaun who invades the gang’s life at the most inopportune moment. They are settling in with Verna and Miracai, only to have it all disrupted by the Fae cobbler with an aptitude for trouble.
Unlucky Number Four is centered around Murphy – you know, Murphy’s Laws? I have guest authors adding to the mayhem, and a lot of fun revenge (nobody was hurt or maimed during the writing of this book).
The last three are loosely outlined, but not yet written, I’ll dive back into the series in late Fall. I have another series, The Maidens, which will be coming out, then back to The Fortune Cookie Diaries.
MF: You’re querying an MS now. Is it a speculative fiction novel? What’s it about?
TJL: Going Thru Hell is a Dark Urban Fantasy about a woman, Kylie, with a very unique ability – she sees alternate timelines as strings in her head and can “braid” them into different outcomes, but with a price – to fuel the power, it needs massive quantities of energy, and only her soul is available. Gods of various pantheons want to use Kylie as a weapon in their never ending wars. And she does a pretty bang up job, until she’s betrayed, and they threaten her demi-god son. In the end, she must choose how she dies.
MF: You’re a former copy/content editor at a small publishing house and you currently do freelance editing. Do you feel this gives you an advantage in your own writing?
TJL: Sometimes. Other times, the training kills the creative process – I end up editing while writing rough draft. But when I edit/revise, I can step back, leave my emotions at the door, and act like an editor. Oh the things I find in my own writing.
The real advantage shows itself when doing the revisions – I know what publishers are looking for, I’ve learned the rules and how to break them, the tips and tricks to making it easier.
MF: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
TJL: Early in my writing journey, I was blasted from all sides with my first novel. I almost walked away. But I received some great advice: first novels are supposed to be bad. Put it aside and keep writing. So I did.
The best compliment? From my daughter, Filly. “I brag about you to everyone, Momma. You’re a writer, and an editor, following your dreams. How many Mommas can say that?” Even if I fail, even if I never become a “known” writer, I taught my daughter the one thing I didn’t learn until my late 30’s – it’s hard, it’s work, but your dreams are worth chasing.
MF: What do you read? What do you re-read?
TJL: Everything. A lot of Speculative Fiction, some contemporary, historical, literary. Whatever captures my imagination at the moment.
And I read, and re-read, and have read until eight books have fallen apart – Gone With the Wind. My grandmother introduced the book to me when I was nine. Filly has read it twice, seen the movie six times, and loves it. It’s almost a tradition now.
MF: What is your favorite writing tip or quote?
TJL Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten. – G.K. Chesterton
MF: Do you have any advice for other writers?
TJL Never give up. Ever. If writing is in your blood, you can’t quit. But never give up. Don’t compare yourself to others. They may have a quick rise to stardom, and your road may take years, decades even. It doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong, it just means your journey is different. The path to your dreams is as unique as your DNA, your fingerprint. And there is no comparison. Remember: ENJOY THE JOURNEY!
MF: If you could jump into a book, and live in that world … which would it be?
TJL: Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek. I’m a biologist and all the stuff open to be learned! The new worlds, lives, the science! Just thinking about it makes my science-y heart go all pitter patter. *sigh*
Thank you, so very much, Missy, for allowing me to guest on your blog.
It was a pleasure, T.J.
Dr. Tiffany Crews is a renowned psychiatrist, a klutz, Arkansas hillbilly born and bred with her feet firmly rooted in reality. Her two best friends, Janet and Mark, keep life interesting. Add in a duck with Houdini tendencies, and Tiffany leads a wonderfully laughter filled life.
One morning, they find a unicorn in the communal courtyard of their townhouse and life takes a surreal twist. It leads to burning the bacon, along with the kitchen, yet they nevertheless refuse to leave the animal in a possibly bad situation. Until they learn it talks, anything veggie causes rancid flatulence in the form of rainbows, and its grumpy attitude can only be helped by indulging his carnivorous tendencies with Shrimp Po’ Boys.
Drop in Flying Granny, sporting dragonfly wings and really flies, who calls herself The Fairy Godmother, and believes she was summoned to help find their soul mates. Reality takes another twist nobody is prepped for.
The three friends are on the prowl during New Orleans’ infamous Mardi Gras to find where the two myths truly belong. Every attempt to find the truth leads to hijinks and compromising situations for the three friends, and a true appreciation for the unknown. Tiffany needs to find a way for the two myths to fit into reality, and keep her sanity in one piece.
If only it was that easy.