– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘When Darkness Begins’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a Q&As post, but b
About the Author :
Tina O’Hailey is a professor in animation and game programming, caver and occasional mapper of grim, wet, twisty caves (if she owes a friend a favor or loses a bet), whose passion is to be secluded on a mountain and to write whilst surrounded by small, furry dogs and hot coffee. Tina was once struck by lightning.
She has served as an artistic trainer for Walt Disney Feature Animation, Dreamworks and Electronic Arts. Any movie credit she has is minimal and usually found in the special thanks section. The meager credits do not account for the great honor it was to teach talented artists who worked on numerous feature films and games.
She has authored animation textbooks “Rig it Right” and “Hybrid Animation” published by Focal Press and the Darkness Universe novels “Absolute Darkness” and “When Darkness Begins” published by Black Rose Writing.
Social Media Links:
If you could change time to save your first love—even if it meant turning your back on the universe—would you?
It is time for the Vechey youth to earn their place as time-guardians. The near-immortal Vechey protect the universe from the devastating Manipulators—devourers of souls, mindless seekers of chaos. First, the youth must survive a mysterious and deadly ritual created by the all-powerful clan leader Eterili. Having regenerated thousands of times with the birth of each universe, Eterili is taking this one as hers and bending all in it to her grand designs.
Catha’s time-slipping skills are underdeveloped. She is time-blind—unable to see through time, unable to protect herself from the ritual. The Vechey shun her for being different. Her parents ignore her as if she were already dead.
Aithagg loves Catha unconditionally and will do anything to save her. He tries desperately to unlock the ritual’s mysteries and find a way to help Catha survive with him. Or will saving Catha enable the Manipulators to destroy the universe?
First of all thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. Here we go! 🙂
Thanks to YOU!!!
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I’m an artist. I studied animation and worked as a trainer for artists at Walt Disney and Dreamworks and EA; helped artists on films like Lilo & Stich, Mulan, Prince of Egypt. As a trainer my specialty is putting 2D and 3D together, making the computer not scary for artists. That led to my second career as a professor of animation. As an artist I work with the more technical aspects of animation – making the 3d character and making it able to move (character set-up). I started writing textbooks about 2D/3D animation and character set-up in 2010, I think. It started because I heard a Focal Press editor was going to be visiting the University and I made sure to meet her. In the 30 seconds I had with her I pitched a 2D/3D – never been written before book. She asked for a proposal and I’ve been writing ever since.
However, I have always been working on a novel. Forever. I never liked them. Burned them. I joined a “Shiddy Writers’ Group” with some co-workers where we all encouraged each other to just write. Write the book. Even if it is bad. Write it. And if it was too much of a stinker – put another name on it. With their encouragement and critiques – I wrote my first published fiction novel Absolute Darkness. I self published it at first and then it was picked up by a publisher, Black Rose Writing. That book took a long time to write so I set out on this next book to see if I could come up with a rhythm to systematically write. I started When Darkness Begins as a NaNoWriMo (Novel November) manuscript and then polished it for publication. Now, I have a good writing methodology. I had one already in place for the non-fiction books. Fiction – that’s another story.
Which books did/do you love to read as a child/now as a grown-up?
I lived in nowhere with only my mother’s bookshelf to pick from. She fancied romances, which to this day I cannot read. However, she also had a good collection of King, V.C. Andrews, Erma Bombeck, Mary Higgins Clark, and The Chronicles of Narnia. I read all of them multiple times. The miniscule library at my school restricted me from the older books. I did not want to read Nancy Drew and the like. They could be read in an hour. I wanted meatier things.
I once somehow managed to checkout a book titled Nurse. I think by Judy Anderson? It was stories of a RN’s ward. Since by mother and grandmother were both RNs it was like listening to them. A teacher spotted me and took the book away, saying it was not age appropriate. My mother happened to have that same book on her bookshelf; somehow I had missed it. She sent me back to school with the book and told me, “Tell them that is your mother’s book. They can’t take it away from you.” And I did. I married a man who had a very good science fiction book collection and a few books by Chelsea Quinn Yarboro. It was her books that helped me find Alexander in my books.
Is there a writer whose brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I did have the most fan-girl five minutes to speak with Chelsea Quinn Yarboro at DragonCon last year. We spoke about the rhythm of writing. I’d love to talk to her more about her research, her characters, how she keeps it all straight, and how she stays so prolific. Though, I blushed so very much when I met her (and let me explain—I meet and talk to a LOT of famous people. I interview them on stage for the University, or have to tour them. But, I never blush and fawn like I did when I met Quinn!) Also, I don’t like to go into crowds. For — reasons. However, I took myself (with my best friend at my side) to DragonCon and stalked all of Quinn’s panels until I could meet her and blush like a school-girl. I’d show you the picture, but I only received permission from her to put it on my facebook page and wouldn’t want to push that kindness by attaching it to an interview. (You can see it for yourself on my FB page through: https://www.facebook.com/tina.ohailey . Look for Quinn’s hot-pink hair and my red face and dorky smile!
If you could, which fictional character (from your own book(s) or someone else’s) would you like to invite for tea and why?
From my own books I would invite Alexander in for tea. He’s travelled the word for thousands of years and I don’t think he’s ever told those stories.
Do you have some rituals or habits whilst writing?
It depends on the time of day. Coffee or Wine. All other habits revolve around naming conventions and using Dropbox to constantly and always have my work backed up. Nothing actually resides on my laptop hard-drive—only a constantly synced folder of writing. I only lose work if I myself get confused and save over a file. True story. I was too fast with the command + s. I get a little freaked out when I’m on a plane writing since the folder can not sync. So, I use a flash drive to backup as I travel just in case my laptop dies. Guess that’s not weird, huh? I could lie to be more interesting: I recline on a wicker lounge chair that once graced the deck of the Titanic and will only wear purple socks when writing. Pink is for editing. But dear, polka-dots are for outlining.
Where do you come up with your idea(s)? Do people in your life need to be worried? 😉
The characters appear. In my first book I put names of friends on them just so I could keep the characters straight, and I’m horrible at names. But this book, When Darkness Begins, those characters were all themselves. I gave them weird pre-historic names and asked them who they were. Eterili literally appeared as I was writing. Her death-rattling anklet of teeth appeared, actually. I had to follow her for a while to realize I was writing in her universe and needed to respect that.
Having been around animation for so long, we’re taught to observe. See the nuance of people and things. That training helps me see gestures that some people have, how they hold their head, how one side of their mouth turns down in a frown when they smile, how they talk, etc. Those details do stick with me and I sprinkle them into the characters.
And yes, there are probably a handful of people who are worried that I will write about them and I haven’t. Yet.
Are you a plotter or do you go with the flow, as a pantser?
I’m a tried and true plotter. This book’s outline started in Columbia. I was at the airport early, a hurricane was coming through and I was hoping to get on a plane and out run the hurricane back to Tennessee. (I did, btw.) The rain was pounding, and the lights were flickering. The roads to the airport were flooded and I was early and alone at the airport. Also, I do not speak Spanish. I took out my little sketchbook and began making notes about the outline for this book. Now here you will think I am crazy, but I based the original flow of events on sacred geometry. I started with multiple circles, one for each person (I thought) and based on where they intersected outlined a chapter based on who’s circles intersected. Weird, I know—I get into weird OCD rabbit holes. Eventually the circles became the bases for the metamorphoses of the Vechey throughout their lives.
I’m also have to go with the flow. Alexander walked into my first book and changed everything. Eterili walked into this book and showed to me a multiverse. And it’s hers.
Can you give novice writers some tips (do’s/don’ts)?
You’ll love writing. Then you’ll hate it. Hold on until you love it again. Don’t worry when you hate it one more time. Just let it flow through you. Don’t fight it. Read. Absorb. Challenge yourself. Do tell the stories you want to hear.
What are your future plans as an author?
Now that I’ve found the rhythm that supports writing, I have a rough draft of a thriller to get into shape.
Last, but not least : Can you give my readers one teaser from your book, which is featured here on my blog, please?
Chapter 21 The Way
Eterili stood and waited. She kept the balance, tipping the scales this way and then that so the Vechey continued forward and maintained the timeline, harboring her secrets through eternity.
It was the way.
The way she had designed over hundreds of thousands of years. Though she had been born many times, she remembered all of her lives. Many were short lived. She would return over and over into this world, this time, this universe, each time remembering her lives before. This current life was the one in which she had done most of her work, maintaining the timeline to be her way.
In this life, she had traveled the continents when they were nearly one mass. She and her siblings had emerged from her tribe as ones who experienced time differently than all others. When she had been born the nights were long. She realized from observing her siblings die painful deaths in their teens, she would be unable to walk in the day when she reached maturity.
The tribe cast her and her mother out. They retreated to a northern cave alone.
Eterili did not blame the tribe. They were limited in mind and understanding. Her mother did not understand what Eterili or her siblings were and died a Linear’s death in a cold, ice- covered cave.
The day Eterili discovered her ability to endure the sun was the day her Linear mother had died. They hid in the ice-cave as she became a teen and Eterili scavenged food for her mother during the evening. She watched her mother waste away, nothing more than a heap of bones and skin piled on a fur.
Eterili, when she was young, watched her older siblings become intolerant of the sun. One by one, they had grown weak and hid indoors from the daylight. They had not been as strong as her, had not spoken or become aware as early as her. They were Linears in Eterili’s eyes and she had learned from their mistakes. They were Linears with Vechey traits—that was all.
Before Eterili and her mother had found the ice-cave, all the siblings one by one had walked into the sun and died. At first, they had burned darkly. Their skin split. Her mother tried to sooth their pains. They spoke nonsense, as if to spirits around them. Eterili, who even at a young age, saw through time and knew there was nothing there. They had gone mad. She took their canines when they had died and created her anklet of teeth. From previous lives she knew who she was and how she needed to feed. Her siblings and mother were her primary food source, though they were none the wiser.
She sat in the cave alone, after her mother’s death and pondered what to do next. She had grown used to waiting. Eterili sat in the shadows of the cave watching the daylight outside. With a soft thump, a clump of snow and ice fell from the opening of the cave. This allowed the sun to penetrate the darkness and fall upon Eterili’s arm. She stared at it fascinated. Her traits and strengths varied from life to life, but this version of her life was unusual. Stronger.
Isn’t that a great reason to pick up this book and to find out more?!
Thanks once again for this lovely interview, Tina O’Hailey.
The Magic of Wor(l)ds
P.S. Are you an author (or publisher) who also wants a FREE interview like this? You can always contact me via e-mail!