Good day and welcome to this edition of Authors’ Mastermind and welcome to today’s contender. Could you please state your name and occupation?
Thea Atkinson, teacher and writer
Now, can you tell us your chosen subject?
…dogs. I love dogs.
Er, I was thinking more along the lines of literary works… Would you please answer the following questions on your chosen subject? You have a maximum number of 250 words on each question. The total number of passes will be counted and deducted against your final score.
Are you ready? Good then I’ll begin.
1. Ms Thea Atkinson, how do you describe yourself; as a writer and as a person?
I’d have to say I’m a discovery writer. I like to write to find something out: usually it’s how I feel about a subject, but sometimes it’s to see how characters evolve from a faint spectre to a fully clothed being that takes up head space. As a person, I’m probably way too selfish, way too lazy, and way too needy. I don’t sound so great, huh?
2. Do you do anything that would tell us you lead an interesting or indeed a crazy life?
Absolutely not. Not because I don’t, just because I have my reputation to uphold. I can’t possibly tell you any of those things.
3. Briefly, describe your journey into writing your first book and what or who inspired you.
My first book was so long ago. Teen romance. Ugh. My friends were asking me to finish a story and it turned into a novel. I passed it around. They liked it. I was hooked.
4. Are you working on anything right now?
Yes. I’m editing a novel I wrote a few years ago and I’m writing the first novel in a series to which Formed of Clay is the prequel.
5. What is your next book about, and where do you get your ideas from?
It’s about a girl with some really special powers. Lots of fun stuff ensues. Some really great writing, and some awesome plotline. I can’t tell you more than that. I wish the heck I knew where the ideas came from: I’d go pick them like fruit when I hit the writing wall.
6. How would you define your writing working day? Give us some indication of where you work, and the length of time you spend on your project.
I just try to get a scene done. That’s it. It could be anywhere and often is. Usually, it’s at my desk and it takes about a year to finish to my standard. Then the editing, and that’s to someone else’s standard.
7. Tell us about characterisation. How do you develop your characters? Do you feel they are important in the overall picture? Do you ever base them on real people?
Characters are everthing. Nuff said. If my brothers ever found out they were in every single one of my novels, they’d try to wring some money out of me, so no. they are not based on real people.
8. What about the editing and redrafting process? When do you do this?
I edit after the first draft is done. Only then. I rewrite and edit many times, but only after I’ve written the thing. This is because once upon a time I agonized over chapter one. For months. Writing, rewriting, critiquing, editing, cutting, writing, rewriting….you get the picture. Then when I was done the novel, I deleted it right out. Sigh. Wasted time.
9. How have you overcome any trials and tribulations of rejection?
Bah. I ignore rejections unless they offer me something useful. Sometimes they do.
10. If you were not writing, what would be your choice of employment?
Teacher. I love my job. Or philanthropist. Or photographer.
Thank you. Your score on your chosen subject is 10.
Now for the General Knowledge section.
1. Which book(s) are you reading at the moment?
Just finishing Sugar & Spice
2. Name your five favourite authors.
Only five? Hmm. Alice Munro. And some others. They all pale in comparison. (Ed -1 mark, I said name 5)
3. Who, out of your five favourite people would you like to invite to dinner at your house. You will be doing the catering. What is your ideal menu, you would provide? (You must be able to cook this!)
Curried mussels, Bruschetta, chocolate cake with boiled frosting. Yum. I’m drooling.(Ed -1 mark, I said name 5 people to invite not discuss the menu)
4. Do any authors inspire you? If so, which ones?
Alice Munro, Anita Shreve, Jane Urqhart, (because they are amazing writers) Amanda Hocking (because she’s managed to become a household name from self-publishing), Richard Lewis (who is a wonderful and imaginative writer), lots and lots of others.
5. What things in your life would you love to do that you haven’t yet achieved. Your answer should NOT be ‘become a rich and famous author’. If you fall back on this answer, then 3 marks will be deducted from your overall score.
Snap the ultimate picture and photoshop it to death.
Maintain a yoga routine for a year non-stop
Make a real difference to someone and never ever tell them that I was the one who sponsored them.
6. Describe your ideal day; working and leisure (only clean answers please).
Get up late, drink loads of tea, have the writing come like liquid, eat a scone or two, drink loads of tea, play with my dog, husband, and tease my eighteen year old daughter until she begs me to act normal, watch some television, read some great books, go to sleep without snoring. Sigh. The life. Oh, and I’d eat of course.
7. What has been the most memorable thing that has happened to you in a, your writing career and b, in your private life (again, only cleans answers will be accepted).
A: An agent called me to say she loved my writing. B: I can’t answer that because that has been very recently and it was not a positive experience.
8. Are you a disciplined person in everyday life? How would/does this reflect in your writing?
I’m a disciplined writer; not a disciplined person. It means I usually reach my goals in writing. Of course, sometimes my goals are small: why torture yourself?
9. Do you keep a dart-board handy with rejection letters from Publishing House editors’ photographs pinned to it? If so, what is your highest score?
Of course! Doesn’t everyone?
10. What are your five desert island books?
First four books in the Outlander series and a blank book to write in. Ha! Cheated.
Thank you. Your time is now up. You managed to complete all questions with no passes.Your overall score is 18, an excellent score. We shall see how you do against the other contenders.
Well done and thank you.
Thea Atkinson is a writer of character driven fiction; call it what you will: she prefers to describe her work as psychological thrillers with a distinct literary flavour. As in her bestselling novel, Anomaly, her characters often find themselves in the darker edges of their own spirits but manage to find the light they seek. She has been an editor, a freelancer, and a teacher, but fiction is her passion. She now blogs and writes and twitters. Not necessarily in that order.
Please visit her blog for ramblings, guest posts, giveaways, and morehttp://theaatkinson.wordpress.com/
or follow her on twitter http://twitter.com/#!/theaatkinson
or like her facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Theas-Writing-Page/122231651163413
You can find Thea’s books on Amazon.com http://amzn.to/qcrtOe