Sunday, January 2, 2011

Interview wth T. L Tyson author of "Seeking Eleanor" and so much more.

I'm delighted to have TLTyson join me this week for the featured interview. Welcome, Tee. So, let’s get the geography sorted, where do you live? I live on the West Coast of Canada in the beautiful Province of British Columbia. Where were you born and raised? Same place. When did you know deep in your soul that you wanted to write? Ever since I was a little girl. I’ve always had a vivid imagination. At first it was an outlet, then it was an escape and now it’s part of my daily routine. Has it become an addiction? I would say so. To be honest, I don’t have a choice in the matter. It’s something I have to do, not necessarily something I want to do. When did you begin writing “Seeking Eleanor”? I began Seeking Eleanor September 2008. Seeking Eleanor is book one. How many books do you envisage in the series? It’s a seven book series. I have wrote three of the books in the Sought-After Series. How long did Seeking Eleanor take to write from word one till final draft? The truth is, I don’t know if I have finished the final draft. It only took me three months to write initially and since then I’ve rewrote it about four times. I’ve set it aside for awhile, but I think there is another rewrite in its future. Agents don’t seem to want it at the moment, young adult is hard to break into, but that’s not to say it won’t find a place in the future. You refer to your lifestyle in your bio as ‘hermit-like’ do you lock yourself away when you write? My general life is hermit-esque. I love solitude and lead a very simple life. It’s not so much when I write, but all the time. I do go out when need be, but I much prefer to stay home and create. Of course, the daily job cuts into that plan. Do you answer the door or the telephone? No one knocks on my door and very few people call me. If someone calls, I decide if I will answer depending on who it is. But like I said, very limited amount of calls or door knocks come my way. You made the editors desk on Authonomy, that is no mean feat. How did you find the Authonomy experience? I loved it. Authonomy provided for me something I will forever be grateful for, a community of writers. Without these writers I would be alone in my creative world. It’s nice to know others exist who are similar to me—you know the ones who feel like their head will explode if they don’t tap the keys. Would you recommend it for others wanting feedback on their work? I don’t know what the site is like right now, but when I was climbing the ranks I received a lot of comments, critiques and help. What I would caution to anyone who loads their work on Authonomy is not to cater to everyone. Go in knowing what you want from the site and don’t change things just because someone suggests it. You know your writing; don’t let other dictate how you ‘should’ write.
The next book from your wonderful imagination is “The Reign of Billie Blackwater.” Have you always had a fascination with Pirates?
Of course. I’ve loved them since I was young. Is it the romance of the genre or the adventure which lures you? A little of column A and a little from column B, but more so than anything, it’s the revenge aspect of my novel that draws me into it. My main character Billie Blackwater is a tough, dynamic, layered character who is out for revenge and is more ruthless than any male pirate. She’s a pirate, but she is also the hero. Again …how long from word one to final draft? I am still working on Billie and plan on doing another edit this year before querying for her. Now all I need to do is find an agent or publisher interested in her. Are you continually editing and altering your work? I like to write a novel and set it to the side before going back and rewriting/editing it. My work is never truly ‘done’. Every time I look at it I see things I want to shift and change and improve. How do you know that it’s done and there is no more to do? I find it easier for short stories. As for novels, there is a feeling of not being able to look at it anymore. Unfortunately, I haven’t reached that stage with any of my novels. Is it difficult for you to let go of your creations and move on? Each story I write stays in my heart. I love some of them more than others, therefore it is easier to move on from them. It really depends on how tedious writing them is. Some stories flow smoothly out of me, others I have to fight to get them out. The ones I struggle with are easier to let go of. Do you work on more than one novel at a time? Yes. I work on several things at a time. I usually have three or four things on a go at any given time. Two novels and two short stories, one novel and three shorts. It’s always a different combination.
Bare is another change of pace. Tell us a little more about it? Bare is a young adult contemporary piece about eighteen year old Harlee Draker who moves to a new school for her final year of High School. The only difference is that Harlee has a condition called Alopecia Universalis, which means she doesn’t have any hair. Her very strict mother makes her wear wigs to keep her condition hidden. When Harlee starts to be bullied by a girl in her new school things start to unravel and she finds herself with a very unlikely friend, a boy named Springsteen Walker, who has a few secrets of his own. What else do you have in progress at the moment? Currently, I am working on a vigilante, dysatopian novel for Young Adults. A girl named Falcon is trying to save her brother and help the ‘good citizens’ of Hell-A regain control of their city. It’s a fun project, but has been a lot of work. Where do you see yourself professionally and personally in 2011? I see myself towing the line, trying to keep my head above water and working away. The dream to be published with always be aflame, but I know that will take a lot of hard work and time. Luckily, I have both time and the ability to work hard on my side. Music in all its forms is another passion with you, when did that develop? Who knows? I’ve been addicted to music since before I can remember. For as far back as I can think I’ve had a song on my lips. Music accompanies me throughout my life. There is a song for every mood and moment. Do you have a favorite style of music or are you eclectic in your likes and dislikes? I love pretty much anything. There is a strong admiration for music from the fifties and sixties, but I really do love all genres. For dislikes, there is little I hate. I don’t listen to trance music or new country because there isn’t much I can enjoy in those two areas. You have two adorable pets…tell us about them.
Etnie is a magpie cat with a bad attitude and a strong dislike of people. He was a rescue kitten and I’ve had him for over ten years. He loves guacamole, tempura and sleeping by the fire. He dislikes people, being barked at and when you try to make him wear a collar.
As for my dog, Oliver, he’s a unique blend of French Bulldog and Pekingese. He’s a little garbage compactor and will eat anything you put in front of him. They say cats sleep most of their lives away, but that’s not true in my house, Etnie is usually awake and Oliver is always sleeping. He’s lazy. Do you have a schedule that you stick to with your writing, or do you write when the muse grabs you by the throat? Since I work during the day I write by night, by default. I would love to write all the time, but unfortunately I need to pay the bills. If you had one wish to make in relationship to your writing what would it be? To be able to do it all the time. If I could make just enough money to survive off of that would be my one and only goal. I want to focus on my writing all the time. How important is the social media in promoting your work and building a platform? It’s very important in developing readers and a semi-sort-of fan base. I use social media for staying in touch with other writers and keeping my finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the literary world. You entered the world of Short Story writing and flash fiction during 2010 and very successfully, did you find it challenging? Up until this last year I hadn’t wrote a single short story. It certainly is a craft all in its own, but once you find your groove it is a really fulfilling area. I feel writing short stories and flash fiction is harder than writing a novel in a lot of respects. You have a very limited amount of time and space to tell your reader the story, beginning, middle and end. It’s a gift to be able to write something and tie it all together in a nice neat package. You post a vlog every Friday, please tell my readers how that came about and how much time it takes to prepare? I decided to jump into the vlogging world for entertainment. It was something I did on a whim that I never expected to grow, but it seems to be doing just that. I have a fair amount of subscribers now and receive views each week. It takes me about three days to complete record, edit and upload a vlog. What is your favorite novel of the three you have written and why? Actually, I have written seven novels. The Reign Of Billie Blackwater is by far the one closest to my heart because it is a subject which I love. On the other hand, I have a novel for adults called In Wolf’s Clothing and it is a Boston-Gangster love story. I adore this novel because it is heartbreakingly beautiful under the layer of sadness and brutality. You travelled to Ireland in 2010, do you have plans for more travel in 2011? I am thinking about taking a trip down to Florida and going to Disney World. I would also like to take a trip over to England, but we’ll have to see how funds are. The publishing industry is going through major changes with the introduction of Ebooks, do you ever envisage a time when the much loved paperback can be seen only in libraries? I think there will always be the printed word. People love to have own books. They love the smell of books. If they never exist, I will be saddened because there is something great about holding a book in my hands and being able to turn the page. I love the sound, smell and feel of books. As a special feature Tee has permitted me to upload CHAPTER 2 of "The Reign Of Billie Blackwater" for your enjoyment... Chapter Two The flags fly at half mast. They ruffle, billowing in the wind and waving to the clouds flecking the sky. The fabric snaps together one minute and slows to an intoxicating waltz the next. They seem to be mourning. Death is not new for me. It is not unheard of in my world. And yet today my heart is broken by it. Is it the suddenness? Or simply the way in which death closed its hand around our family’s throat? Beside Mother I stand, with my chin raised high, my shoulders straight and nary a tear in my eye. I will not cry in front of these men and wenches. I will not let them see the hurt flowing through my veins like a rushing river, or the hurt causing my heart to rip apart at its seams. A clanging of a bell in the distance breaks the silence of the evening. The sky is red from the setting sun and the sunset shimmers on the water as I look out at the immeasurable ocean. To myself, I whisper, “Red sky at night, sailors delight.” At the foot of the shore there is a boat bobbing on the water, dipping and bowing with the waves. There is nothing I want more than to board this vessel and sail away from my grief. From the crowd surrounding me, a man cries, “William Blackwater is dead.” The men brushing arms with me bow their heads and silence once more fills the air, threatening to break my stony expression. I’m unaware of which men are praying for William Blackwater’s soul and which are thanking God he is dead. The truth is: I care not what thoughts plague the people who’ve gathered here today. There is only one question I am consumed by—what will I do without my father? The evening is warm. A soft breeze caressed my hair, tickling my ear. I stare straight ahead, unmoving. I watch four men pick up the cloth swaddled stretcher holding my father and carry it to the small boat docked on the shore. They place him inside and set the boat adrift. Two men jump in at the last minute and, even from the distance I am standing, I can tell it is Thomas Crow and Charlie Trove who are accompanying Father on his last voyage. My heart skips a beat at the sight of Thomas. I haven’t laid eyes on him in years. The skip is promptly replaced by jealousy. I’m resentful Mother wouldn’t let me go with the men. She insisted I stand by her side, if not forever than at least on this day. What Mother wants I must obey, for that was Father’s last wish. Crow and Charlie Trove start paddling the little boat with the wooden oars. I remain watching until they are but tiny specks on the horizon. No one is to leave until the blast of a musket rings out across the ocean. This gunshot will signify to us that William Blackwater, my father, has been laid to rest with the fish. His final resting place is perfect; it is the way a pirate should go; a burial at sea. A shiver runs through me. Nothing seems more peaceful to me than to rest for eternity in the black abyss of the ocean. Some of the men are starting to fidget. They play with their hats, twisting them in their hands as if trying to ring water from the fabric. My eyes pick up everything, every adjustment of a collar or shirt, every tightening of a belt about a waist. They have little discipline, unlike me who could stand motionless for hours without blinking an eye. My gaze flicks over the crowd of men and women. The faces of Father’s crew are unmoving and grim. They do not twitch—not a muscle—and they do not adjust a thing. Like Mother and I, they have lost their leader, they have lost their Captain. It is the members of the other crews who are impatient to leave, eager to let the ale flow and commence the singing. Most notably restless are the Bollywog Gang and Captain Marlow’s crew. Some of them have started to clear their throats and others have begun whispering to one another. Have you ever heard pirates whisper? They are about as soft as feet being dragged through gravel. I send a particularly rough looking man a sharp glare and he ceases talking, averting his eyes to the ground in an effort to hide from my gaze. I will store his face in my memory until the day I can punish him for being disrespectful. The Bollywogs are by far the worst. They are rude and vulgar and scummy looking. They simply do not care. They steal from women and would take a child’s pacifier if they so pleased. There is no line they would not cross. They are only here to honour the alliance Father created with them. They are only here to save face. They are praying the Blackwater crew will hold up their end of the bargain and will remain in alliance with them once this day is over. They make me sick. Shrugging off the rudeness of the men, I search the crowd for a friendly face. At the far end of the crowd the Greevy family stands; Howl and Davey at their mother’s side. Davey is staring ahead with a sombre expression, but Howl’s eyes are riveted to me, watching my every move. Both boys are older than I, but my youth was spent running the streets with them, giving them a challenge or two. They are my family, they are my friends. In the last year, Howl has shot up to the sky while his brother remained short and stout. My eyes meet his, he nods, and I note the grief in the frown on his face. The Greevy boys admired my father. They wanted to be like him, nearly as much as I did. A loud shot echoes out over the ocean, piercing straight through the remnants of my heart. It amazes me that my heart can still beat when it is in pieces. Mother slips her hand into mine and squeezes once before dropping it away. She knows there is no point in showing these spectators the sorrow we are carrying around inside us. The men start to sing a sea-shanty. I know the words because Father taught them to me long ago, though it is told only pirates know them. “We live to sail the seven seas Live to be unchained and free Land does nothing for the likes of us For we drink and loot and cuss And when life is taken from me Bury me out at the sea Into the arms of my one true love Send me away with a musket shot and a hearty shove” Everyone waits until Mother and I begin to leave. It is customary to head back to a pub to have a stiff drink and tell stories of their fallen comrade. They follow us through the streets back to Swag & Ale, the tavern Mother runs. Their boot heels click on the cobblestone roadways, the sound is nearly deafening as they march in unison behind us. The whole time it takes to walk back to the pub I wish they would leave us alone. I need solitude for my misery, but I know I will not be alone for another few hours. It is well past the ninth hour of the night by the time Thomas Crow and Charlie Trove enter the bar, Charlie morose and Crow strong and surefooted. I’m standing in the doorway by the stairs that lead up to our living quarters above. When they walk through the door the crowd lets out a raucous cheer. Both men seem slightly put off by the condition of some of the men. Crow’s eyes narrow at one man whose head rests upon the bar top. The man works to sit up when he notices he is being glared at. People clear out so Crow can take a seat at the counter. The barman, Harvey, slams two foaming pints of ale down in front of them. Charlie takes his and swigs it back, drinking it down in one manly gulp, but Thomas pushes his away. His black eyes scan the crowd. If I wasn’t filled with misery my heart would be fluttering all over the place and my stomach would be a knot of nerves. Ever since I was a little girl I have been completely enamoured with Thomas Crow. He is ten years older than I, tall and brawny, yet graceful and strong. His eyes are coal black and rest under a brooding brow. His hair is dark as night and his mouth is wide and thin, often set in a stern line. With a straight nose, strong jaw and stubborn jaw line, he looks cruel and harsh, but there’s a softness in his eyes that makes women weak in the knees. Tonight he is clean shaven, save for the tiny patch of hair under his lower lip, and I know his wardrobe has been selected to show respect to my father. Crow is now, and always has been, cloaked in mystery. Swallowing my sadness for but a moment, I admit to myself that tonight Thomas Crow is stunning. He is wearing dark pants, tucked into boots laced to his knee, and a white shirt that is rolled to his elbows. Over the crisp shirt he has a leather waistcoat tied in the front. Across my chest I brace my arms to keep my heart from beating from my chest. I stare at Thomas, willing him to glance at me. I try to think of the last time I saw him and the memory is distant. I must have only been twelve—it is hard to believe it has been four years. His gaze moves around the room and when they come to rest on me, they flicker to life. Is that surprise on his face? The corner of his mouth twitches, as if he is suppressing a smile. I remember his smile, the cheeky smirk he used to flash when he teased me as a little girl. He remains seated on the stool but raises his right hand, crosses his index and middle finger, and salutes me. Then he raises his glass and takes a sip. The gesture he has given me is the secret salute of the Blackwater crew. No one but a member should know it and if a crewmate turns their back on them they cut the two fingers off so they cannot make it anymore, forever marked a traitor. By saluting me in this fashion, Thomas is giving his upmost respect. At first, it shocks me, but I bow my head slightly and let him know I approve of how everything has unfolded. Thomas Crow has taken over Father’s crew. He will now be Captain of the Willimeana and the men will answer to him alone. For the last two weeks, while my Father worked to fight against the infection in his lungs, Thomas Crow had been taking care of his boat. Now, with Father gone, I don’t see anyone who would treat the ship or crew better. It is general practice for the first in command to take over, but often there are other members of the crew who will challenge the leadership, sometimes they must fight to the death. I highly doubt anyone will challenge Thomas, for Crow is not one to be reckoned with. While Thomas drinks his ale, his eyes don’t stray from my face until two burly men distract him away. He shifts his attention and I take the moment to slip upstairs to check on Mother. I find her curled on her bed, bundled in one of Father’s shirts, her skirts and petticoat a pile by the bed. Even her corset has been thrown to the side. Her eyes are closed. Her rich auburn hair, threaded with gray, is a mess around her face. She doesn’t react when I enter and I wonder if she’s heard me. She does not move, but remains curled in a ball, her face buried in the copious fabric she’s wrapped about herself. It is as if she is in a cocoon. This is the first time I realize how small my mother is. Her tiny shoulders come in to a protruding collarbone and her bitty waist sits above slim legs. Mother is not tall, she barely clears my chest. I took after my father and stand at five foot seven. Regardless of her size, she is a sharp-tongued woman with a quick temper. She backs her mouth up with a pistol she keeps hidden under the bar counter. Anyone would be stupid to test her draw, for her hand is nearly as quick as her judgement. Once she has her mind made up there is no changing it. Granted, the men do not come into Swag & Ale looking for trouble; most of them don’t want to be on the bad side of the Blackwater crew. Without warning, Mother’s lids flick open and she stares at me with her jade irises. They don’t move, but I know she is thinking; the cogs in her brain are always turning. In the smallest voice I have ever heard her use, she says, “I wanted to be close to him.” She pulls the shirt tighter around her, shrinking into the fabric. Her words break my heart. I lock the door behind me, move over to the bed and crawl on top of the blankets. Shifting closer to her, she reaches out for me and takes me in her arms, holding me against her. Even though I am far larger than she, I still feel like a child in her embrace. Father’s scent still lingers on the shirt. It smells of the salty sea, fire, and danger. Its aroma is that of adventure and I have this overwhelming urge to eat it, to shove it in my mouth so it becomes a part of me. The sounds of the men becoming drunk below drift up through the floorboards; they yell, they cheer and break into song. To me this is not an appropriate way to grieve, and yet, it seems fitting. Suddenly, I wish I was drunk. The drink would numb the pain filtering through me. If only for an hour, it would still be appreciated, a moment of freedom away from my misery. When I’m not paying attention, sleep takes me by the hand and leads me away from my grief, but for only a moment and when I open my eyes the hurt is still thriving inside me. I want my father back. Lets plug your sites...Website Vlog Thanks for joining me here today T. I hope 2011 sees all your hopes and dreams come to fruition.


  1. Go Tee! Great interview. I see a lot of myself in the "writing addiction" portions.

  2. Tee is just awesome! Thank you for posting the interview.... SEVEN novels? Now even more awestruck.
    Hey, Tee - come to England!!!! WAY better than DisneyWorld... (well, mebbe). jx


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