Saturday, May 03, 2008

Interview with Tate Hallaway, author of ROMANCING THE DEAD

Please welcome Tate Hallaway, whose new book, ROMANCING THE DEAD, comes out Tuesday! Tate is one of my fellow authors on SF Novelists, which is where these questions hail from (as opposed to being part of my regular Author Interview series). After reading this interview, I'm dying to check out the Garney Lacey series myself.

I'll let Tate tell you the rest in her own words:

Tate's Bio:

Tate Hallaway is the best selling alias of the award-winning science fiction author Lyda Morehouse. Lyda wrote a four book trilogy about angels, computers and the end of the world all of which are currently out of print, though she still writes and publishes science fiction/fantasy/horror short stories. Tate’s books are all in print with more in the Garnet Lacey series in the works. You can find both Lyda and Tate all blogging all over the internet including places like LiveJournal, Blogspot, MySpace, Facebook, and even YouTube. “They” live in Saint Paul, Minnesota with five cats, a five year old son, and many, many fresh water fish.

Romancing the Dead

It’s been one heck of a week for Garnet Lacey. The Vatican witch hunters finally think she’s dead, the FBI has closed their file on her, she’s co-founding a new coven—and the gorgeous vampire she loves has just asked her to marry him. How lucky can one girl get?

Then, her fiancé goes missing and Garnet’s worried sick. Has he been kidnapped? Or could he have run off with that blonde from the coven? Now Garnet will have to seek the help of her future stepson—the same brat who turned her over to the witch hunters for a brand-new Jaguar. But there’s more bad news: the Goddess Lilith, who camps out in her body, has been making embarrassing appearances. And on top of that, some killer’s on her tail...


What was your inspiration for writing ROMANCING THE DEAD?

ROMANCING THE DEAD is the third book in my paranormal chick-lit Garnet Lacey series. People often ask me how I, as a writer, stay inspired when writing about the same characters. I think I could get pretty bored if I didn’t allow my characters not only to be human (and thus full of flaws), but also to change and grow.

A lot of the romance I read when I first started reading romances were “first blush,” as in the main point of the story was the excitement of meeting someone new. At the end of these novels, things faded very quickly into the nebulous (and unrealistic) happily, ever after. One of the things I’m trying to do in the Garnet Lacey series is promote the romance that can be found in a long-term relationship. I mean, Garnet is in love with a vampire, for goodness sake. You don’t get more “ever after” than that. I, myself, have been together with my partner for more than twenty years, and I don’t think those kinds of relationships get a lot of glory in romance novels, you know?

Plus, in every novel I like to take on one of the tropes in urban fantasy and do my own thing with it. In this book, I have Garnet meet someone who may or may not be a werewolf.

Who are your favorite authors and books now and when you were growing up?

Currently my favorite authors are writing graphic novels. I’m in to Brian Michael Bendis’ NEW AVENGERS. I just finished reading NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI in preparation of the up-coming Secret Invasion. I’m also a huge fan of Ed Brubaker’s CAPTAIN AMERICA, particularly his WINTER SOLDIER stuff. Comic books haven’t been this fresh for me since I first picked up Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s FANTASTIC FOUR when I was a kid.

For more traditional fare, my favorites are Rachel Caine, who writes the Weather Warden series, and Kristin Katheryn Rusch who writes the Disappeared series, which is a kind of futuristic a police procedural set on Mars. When I was growing up my favorite authors were Katherine Kurtz and Anne McCaffrey.

What is it about fantasy/science fiction that attracts you?

The explosions.

Seriously, I was talking to a friend about this at a bar the other night, and I confessed that one of my favorite things about writing paranormal romances/urban fantasy is that you get to have all the relationship/girly stuff married to the high-octane adventure/boy stuff. That’s pretty near perfect for me.

Why did you decide to make Garnet a Witch?

Because I am.

And it can be very difficult to find realistic portrayals of Wiccan religion in novels. One of the things that drives me crazy in movies and TV shows like “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer” is when a complete novice reads a spell they find in a dusty book and they conjure a demon without breaking a sweat.

Of course, because the Garnet Lacey series is fantasy, I take liberties, too. Real-life witchcraft can be pretty dull. The scope of Garnet’s power is a lot stronger than anything I’ve experienced in real life, but I try to show ritual as part of her daily practice as well. In other words, she doesn’t just cast spells, but she also prays to a Goddess and observes the cycle of the seasons, like the real witches I know.

What (besides writing) do you do for fun?

I’m an aquarist. I have four fresh water fish tanks in my house and have had over the course of a year: powder blue dwarf gourami, neon tetra, bettas (a spawning pair), a white cloud minnow, yellow tuxedo guppies, and several goldfish (comet and shubunkin). I’m so into it I read fish magazines and occasionally write long, boring blogs about my fish triumphs and woes on my livejournal. My betta Johnny/Giant-Girl is even a YouTube star.

What sort of research did you do to write this book?

Well, because I’d decided to play around with the urban fantasy trope of werewolves and the story takes place in Madison, Wisconsin, I did a little research and discovered that Wisconsin has its own werewolf myth: “the Beast of Bray Road.” There’s a book about it by Linda S. Godfrey called BEAST OF BRAY ROAD: TAILING WISCONSIN'S WEREWOLF.

Garnet loves astrology. Is that your favorite thing too?

One of them. Just like Garnet I’m an amateur astrologer. Yeah, we’re talking about predictions and horoscopes and stuff. No, I don’t think the stars rule my destiny, but, yeah, I think it’s all a very fascinating and entertaining way to look at life and relationships.

I love astronomy, too. My friend Rachel takes me and my four-year old out star-gazing on clear nights. The science fiction fan in me loves seeing the rings of Saturn and such.

What are you writing now?

There’s more Garnet Lacey in the works. I’m currently putting the wraps on book four, DEAD IF I DO, which I like to describe as “The Wedding Planner” meets “Night of the Living Dead.”

Did you always want to write? Or did you stumble into it? How did you get where you are now?

It took boredom to turn me into a writer.

True, I was an English major in college, but other than dabbling a little in fanfic as a teen I didn’t really do a lot of creative writing. After college, I had a series of dead-end secretarial jobs and really didn’t require a whole lot of my brain power. One of these jobs didn’t even come with a computer, but when I incessantly bugged my boss for work she taught me the art of the slack. She said, “Sometimes it’s important to LOOK busy.” So, I started typing letters home to friends. The letters turned into little silly stories, limericks, and finally, the beginning of my first novel, Sidhe Promised, which has never been sold.

Someone either a friend or my partner talked me into taking a science fiction writing class at the Loft. I had an awesome teacher who taught us the art of critique and encouraged us to form writers’ critique groups outside of class. The one I formed from that class with my friend and fellow writer H. Courrage LeBlanc, Wyrdsmiths is still going strong today, nearly twelve years later. If you want to check out the "life" of a writers' group, we have a blog.

Eventually, through a friend of a friend I got my second novel, Archangel Protocol, under the nose of an agent. The rest, as they say, is history.

What does a typical writing day look like for you? How long do you write, that sort of thing?

Well, I’m in crunch time now, so I write close to four hours a night, from about 8:00 pm to midnight. Normally, however, I tend to clock closer to only a couple of hours, if that. I have a full-time job as a mom, so my writing time doesn’t start until everyone is fed and tucked in their beds. When not writing under a deadline, I also take weekends off.

Hm, which may explain why I'm in crunch time now, eh?

Where do you write??

Wherever my laptop is. I tend to write propped up in bed or on the couch in the TV room.

What is easiest/hardest for you as a writer?

I’ve always found dialogue the easiest to write. That’s probably because it’s the part I practice the most. Not only do I love to talk, but also when I’m falling asleep at night it’s the fictional conversations that I play with in my head.

As for hard, that would be plot. If I had my druthers, no one would do anything. They’d all sit around in a coffee shop and argue.

This isn't your first book; tell us a little bit about what else is out there?

Though all of them are meant to stand more-or-less on their own, there are two previous Garnet Lacey books: TALL, DARK & DEAD and DEAD SEXY. Both follow the exploits of Garnet Lacey, a Witch who accidentally drew in the dark and murderous Goddess Lilith to protect her coven from attack by Vatican witch hunters. When the stories start, she’s on the run and trying desperately to give up witchcraft, which Lilith (and, consequentially, she) crave like a drug. Tall, dark and dead Sebastian Von Traum comes into the bookstore the Garnet manages and, as they say, hilarity ensues.

And explosions…or at least zombies.

There’s an excerpt of the first chapters of all three books available on my website. links to Tate's books:
Romancing the Dead
Dead Sexy (Garnet Lacey #2)
Tall, Dark & Dead (Garnet Lacey #1)

Places to find Tate on the Web:
Wyrdsmiths group blog
Fangs, Fur & Fey (group blog for urban fantasy/paranormal romance writers)

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I love that cover - very cute. Sounds like an interesting series.

Posted by: Blogger Liviania at 5/03/2008 9:52 PM

Terrific interview! I especially liked hearing about how Tate incorporates her Wiccan belief system into her books. I don't know much about it, but it seems like that would really make the magic system ring true. And I never knew about Wisconsin's werewolf legend. Very interesting stuff!

Posted by: Blogger Kimberly B. at 5/05/2008 11:39 AM

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