Monday, February 24, 2014

Blog Ring of Power Presents: T. J. Wooldridge

T. J. Wooldridge is a professional writing geek who adores research into myth, folklore, legend, and the English language. Before delving full-time into wordsmithing, she has been a tutor, a teacher, an educational course designer, a video game proofreader, a financial customer service representative, a wine salesperson, a food reviewer, an editing consultant, a retail sales manager, and a nanny. While infrequent, there are times she does occasionally not research, write, or help others write. During those rare moments, she enjoys the following activities: spending time with her Husband-of-Awesome, a silly tabby cat, and two Giant Baby Bunnies in their Massachusetts home hidden in a pocket of woods in the middle of suburbia, reading, riding her horse in the nearby country stables and trails (not very well), reading Tarot (very well), drawing (also not very well), making jewelry (pretty well), making lists, and adding parenthetical commentary during random conversations. She also enjoys dressing up as fey creatures, zombies, or other such nonsense at science fiction, fantasy, and horror conventions.

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Blog Ring of Power Interview parts:
Part 1 @ Terri
Part 2 @ Teresa
Part 3 @ *waves* thanks for coming!
Part 4 @ Sandra
Part 5 @ Vicki

Section #3: The Creative Process

BRoP: Where do you get your story ideas?

T.J.: I both love and hate this question. Story ideas and characters attack me and they don't leave me alone. As of right now, I have more story ideas with notes and characters who still whisper in my ears than I may ever get to write in my lifetime. And more keep coming! I am very easily inspired.

BRoP: How do you deal with writer’s block?

T.J.: I don't have time for writer's block. And I believe most professional writers will give you this answer too. I have anywhere from 2-5 of my own writing projects I'm working on at any one time. If I'm stuck on one and it's not because I haven't done my research, I just switch to another project or I work on something else entirely--like a Broad Universe issue or something for Spencer Hill Press or something for horse rescue or for the Tarot class I teach. If I'm stuck because I really just need to suck it up and do research...well, I suck it up and do research. Which I usually end up enjoying anyway. :)

BRoP: Are you a “plotter” or a “pantser” (do you plan/outline the story ahead of time or write “by the seat of your pants”)?

T.J.: I'm a mixture of both, but mostly a "pantser." While I'll have a rough idea of a map of where I want to go in my head, I have no problem exploring strange and unexpected paths my characters take me on. Of course, this often leads me to magnificently HUGE manuscripts that I often have to cut 20-30% out of, but it also means I end up with complex stories with surprises that I'm proud of.

BRoP: How much time do you spend on research? What type of research do you do?

T.J.: I'm always researching, and I do all sorts of research: searching the Web, printing out maps, reading books of myths, interviewing people, going on hikes, attending seminars and panels, analyzing conversations with other writerly friends. I like to observe people and how they react; that's research because your characters need to be "real people." I can't quantify how much time I spend on research because I consider living part of research. How does it feel to ride my horse in single-digit weather? How long before my toes go numb? How will that tired-looking patron react to their messed-up order at the coffee shop? I also have a lot of friends on Facebook who post interesting articles from points of view that I wouldn't know: things about being a person of color or someone who doesn't speak English as a native language, things about being transgendered, things about non-heterosexual relationships, things about being a parent, things about gun control, political views I agree or disagree with. We live in a world where the ability to research is abundant, and I love making the most of it.

BRoP: Is there anything you find particularly challenging to write?

T.J.: Romance. I have yet to write a romance that doesn't:

End tragically.

Turns into a non- or anti-romance.

Gets over run with non-romance running away from angry deities or rescuing someone from zeppelin pirates.

This is probably due to the fact that part of what makes my husband's and my relationship work is we share a love for "Want to go explore that even though it might be incredibly dangerous?" "Oh hell yeah!"

I can't honestly say I was joking when I suggested to my best friend, Joe – Prince Joseph, eldest son of England's Crown Prince – that we could probably find something the police had missed in regards to the missing children.  After all, eleven and twelve year olds like us did that all the time on the telly and in the books we read…

                When Heather and Joe decide to be Sleuthy MacSleuths on the property abutting the castle Heather's family lives in, neither expected to discover the real reason children were going missing:

                A Kelpie.  A child-eating faerie horse had moved into the loch "next door."

                The two barely escape with their lives, but they aren't safe. Caught in a storm of faerie power, Heather, Joe, and Heather's whole family are pulled into a maze of talking cats, ghostly secrets, and powerful magick.

                With another child taken, time is running out to make things right.

Links to buy the book:

The book is available in both print and e-book

The Blog Ring of Power (BRoP) is a consortium of five speculative fiction writers who have banded together to bring you highlights from the current speculative fiction market--news, reviews, and interviews with speculative fiction authors--with an emphasis on small-press and self-published authors. So grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and relax. Have we got a story for you...

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If you have any questions for the author that we didn't cover, please feel free to put them in the comments. Thanks, as always, for stopping by!

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