Interview with Tamara Lowery, author of HELL’S DODO

Hello Pat. Thank you for giving me this venue and opportunity to share a little bit about myself with fans and potential fans. I truly appreciate that you do things like this for fellow authors.

What is your book about?

Hell’s Dodo, book 5 in the Waves of Darkness series, recounts the adventures of the pirate Viktor Brandewyne aka Bloody Vik Brandee in his quest to find Auntie Clarissa, fifth of seven Sisters of Power. He must find the Sisters and perform seemingly impossible tasks or quests to gain their magical help towards breaking the curse that has made him a living vampire.

Clarissa sends him to find, among other things, a dragon’s egg and a dodo’s egg. His journey takes him from Colonial Savannah to Salem to the tip of South America as well as the Indian Ocean and Indonesia, with a side trip to New Orleans.

I do not have the cover from my publisher yet.

It is slated for a mid-November release by Gypsy Shadow Publishing (http://gypsyshadow.com)

Tell us about your main characters. Who is your favorite? Why?

Viktor, the main character, actually did an interview with you a few years ago (around the end of 2012 https://patbertram.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/viktor-brandewyne-main-character-of-the-waves-of-darkness-series-by-tamara-a-lowery/). He is a pirate-turned-vampire, and he is very good at what he does.

Belladonna is a man-eating siren (half-shark/half-human, but can take full human form). She accidentally bound herself to Viktor when she took a bite out of his shoulder. Her visions and weather magic aide Vik in finding the Sisters.

Hezekiah Grimm aka the Grimm Reaper is Vik’s first mate but has sailed as a pirate captain in his own right. He’s about six or seven years older than Vik and serves to balance out his captain’s intensity; however, he is just as ruthless as Viktor. He didn’t earn the moniker Reaper for nothing.

Lazarus most often appears as a large black tom cat and sometimes as a raven. He was once Vik’s erstwhile first mate, Jim Rigger. He was magically transformed shortly after he became Viktor’s second blood meal.

It is hard to pick a favorite; they’re all fun to write. Belladonna is probably the most interesting to write, however. She isn’t human; she’s ancient despite appearances (she frequently visited the library at Alexandria before the fire, to give you an idea of her age); she is a predator in the truest sense; these combine to make her a challenge to write. As a predatory creature, some human emotions can be a struggle for her.

How long did it take you to write your book?

Hell’s Dodo took me a little more than two years to write, nearly twice as long as it predecessors in the series. I made the mistake of juggling it with two other writing projects, both of which have been shelved for after the completion of this story arc in the series. (One is a stand-alone fantasy novel based on a dream I had. The other is a Steampunk serial adventure.)

What is your goal for this book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I want my readers to be entertained. I want them to feel they got their money’s worth in adventure and escapism. I want them hungry for the next book to find out what happens next (although I try to avoid cliff hanger endings). If any of my readers find some kind of “message,” “statement,” or political agenda in this series, it resides solely in their own minds, not mine. I loathe politics.

What’s your writing schedule like? Do you strive for a certain amount of words each day?

In this, I am definitely atypical from what I’ve seen of other authors’ answer to this type of question. I do not have a words-per-day quota. The majority of my writing is done by hand during work breaks. I very rarely write at home or on the weekends because of my work schedule and practical demands on my time during my time off from work. Plus, there are too many distractions at home to make getting in any writing mind set easy.

What are you working on right now?

I just finished writing the first draft of book six, The Daedalus Enigma, in September. I’m currently writing the first draft of the seventh book, Maelstrom of fate. I also have a short story of Lovecraftian horror to polish up and submit for the horror anthology The Nameless for Ironclad Press (http://ironcladpress.com). The deadline on that is fast approaching.

When were you first published? How were you discovered?

My first book, Blood Curse, was published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing in 2011. I contracted with them after four years of collecting rejection slips from agents and publishers alike. I found Gypsy Shadow through Facebook. Beth Wylde (the pen name of a published friend of mine; she primarily writes lesbian erotica) had liked their page. I investigated their website and saw that my book would fit in nicely with their catalogue. They were a new indie press, but had recently signed famed sci-fi/fantasy author Elizabeth Ann Scarborough to re-release her backlog titles she’d regained the rights to as ebooks. I figured if someone who’d been in the industry as long as she had trusted them, I’d give them a try. It paid off.

Have you written any other books?

Yes. Hell’s Dodo will be my fifth published novel. The first four, in order, are Blood Curse, Demon Bayou, Silent Fathoms, and Black Venom. I also have an ebook-only dark fantasy short story, In the Dead of Winter, with Gypsy Shadow. I have several other writing projects patiently awaiting my attention and time.

What has been your greatest internal struggle to overcome in relation to your writing career?

Anxiety over confrontation, even in situations that are really non-confrontational. It is entirely irrational, but something I deal with frequently. In the past, I’ve allowed it to delay me in doing things to further my writing career. I suppose mild self-doubt is at the core of it; and I’m a notorious procrastinator.

What genre are your books?

They are adventure/horror, but my other projects range across several genres: horror, Steampunk, fantasy, and dystopian. I may even foray back into space opera, my first love in my teen years. (I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I saw Episode 4 at the drive-in back in ’77, and I grew up on Star Trek and Lost In Space. Yes, I AM that old. I’ve got scars older than half my coworkers.)

Do your characters ever take on a life of their own?

Most definitely. They often reveal what they are going to do during the writing process; things that have no connection to ANY of my plot points or notes. They even defy me on what I want them to do, sometimes. For example, it wasn’t until the first chapter of book six that I learned WHY one of my antagonists made a pet out of a minor character rather than kill him in book 3. Her reasoning proved sound and will provide readers with some fan service regarding Viktor. So, I’ve learned to just roll with it when the characters take over. I can always edit it out later, if necessary.

If your book was made into a TV series or movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?

Two of the original actors I wanted have aged out of the roles now. In all honesty, they were aged out when I first picked them. It could still work if the film(s) were done CGI/motion-capture like Beowulf was done.

Viktor Brandewyne: Liam Neeson (even though Vik is half Cherokee)

Hezekiah Grimm: Willem Dafoe (I think he’d make a great pirate)

Belladonna: Avril Lavigne (provided she can act; I know she can sing)

Uncle Zeke (the wizard of Hell’s Breath Island): Morgan Freeman (he will NEVER age out)

I really don’t have any particular actors in mind for any of the other characters.

Where can people learn more about your books?

My website (which seems to be in a constant state of construction lately, as I add to and tweak it) is Tamara Lowery’s Scribblings (http://talowery.wordpress.com). I have all my books listed there along with purchase links for Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and Books-A-Million for each title. I have linked the various reviews they’ve received, as well. The site also hosts character profiles, a “Readers’ Refuge” for various excerpts and deleted scenes, and my weekly blog.

Gypsy Shadow Publishing has an author page for me. http://gypsyshadow.com/TamaraLowery.html#top

On Facebook, my page is http://facebook.com/Waves.of.Darkness and my discussion group, Waves of Darkness and Other Writings of Tamara Lowery is http://facebook.com/groups/1567756800150981

Thank you again for having me.

Thank you for letting me interview you!

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