Tabitha Lord’s HORIZON series has won seven independent book awards. In addition to writing novels and short fiction, Tabitha is managing editor for the Inkitt Writer’s Blog, a partner and senior writer for Book Club Babble and Vice Present of the Association of Rhode Island Authors (ARIA).
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1. Tell me about yourself. What inspired you to write?
I once did a ‘five things about me’ type interview, focusing on fun, interesting personal facts different from the stuff listed in my bio, so I’ll share the answers with you here.
When a book is too suspenseful, I get stressed out and read the ending first. I always go back and read it through, but this takes the edge off so I can relax and enjoy the story without worrying about the end. I know it’s cheating!
I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for my 40th birthday. It was very, very hard. Not Everest hard, but still a huge physical and mental challenge.
Tattoos are awesome and I have a few. I love really artistic ink.
I’m a medical school dropout. Med school with small children was, for me, an impossible task. I always thought I’d return when the kids were older, but it never seemed to be the right time. It wasn’t until I started writing that I was able to let that particular aspiration go.
I taught middle school Latin for over a decade. I know, I’m a dinosaur!
As far as what inspired me to write, it was really a who! For years, my husband encouraged me. His encouragement sounded something like, “Honey, write a book already!” I’d think about it and answer that I just didn’t have an entire story in my head. So much of my energy was taken up raising my kids, working, and running a household, there just wasn’t much left over for creativity. I am not implying you can’t have young children and write. I know people who do it very successfully, but after my workday, their activities, homework, laundry, cooking, etc. I really wasn’t interested. It was all I could do to string a sentence together.
Then my children got older and started moving out. When the dynamics in my family shifted, I started to think about what could be next for me professionally. I took on a yearlong writing project at work thinking it would give me the change of pace I needed. Turns out, it also gave me the kick I needed to write fiction. Since I was in the habit of writing every day for work, I challenged myself to write creatively every night. Lo and behold, when the report was finished a year later, so was my first manuscript.
2. Describe your desk / writing space.
I don’t have one particular place I write. Sometimes, I’m camped out at the kitchen table if the house is quiet. If the weather cooperates, I love to work outside on my porch. I do have an office, and I suppose I will spend more time there when I can’t sit outside during the New England winter!
3. Do you have a writing routine, or do you write when inspired?
My routine varies week to week, depending on what I’m working on, but I’m just a little bit obsessive-compulsive around scheduling my work week. I’ll sit down on Sunday and look at the upcoming week to plan. In addition to my electronic calendar, I have notebooks with to-do lists for every project I’m working on.
Generally, I’m drafting one manuscript, editing another, reviewing books and interviewing authors, and I’m the managing editor of the Inkitt Writer’s Blog. It’s not a good idea to blow a deadline for projects other people pay me to do, so my routine of the week is partially driven by those projects.
If we’re talking specifically about writing my own books, I can’t wait for the muse to strike or I’d never finish! Even if I don’t add much to the word count on a particular day, I’ll at least open the document and re-read the previous pages. I need to keep my fingers in a new manuscript or I tend to lose my momentum.
4. How do you come up with the title to your books?
All the titles in the Horizon series are named after ships. When I began writing the first book, I knew a good portion of it was going to take place on a spaceship called Horizon. After that, there always seemed to be another important ship featured in each book, so it made sense to continue the trend.
5. What was the hardest scene for you to write? Which scene was your favorite to write?
No particular scene stands out as the hardest one to write but, in general, slow scenes are hard for me to write. A well-paced novel has to have some down time in the action, if only so the readers can breathe. Not every scene should be super-high intensity, but even those ‘quiet’ moments have to be relevant and move the story forward. I can get bogged down and feel a little uninspired when writing this stuff, so sometimes I’ll skip ahead and write a fun scene.
Needless to say, highly intense or highly emotional scenes are my favorite to write. I see them almost like movie clips. There’s one scene in Equinox that looks a lot like a WWII dogfight, but of course takes place in space! That one was fun to research and fun to write.
6. What inspired your book/series?
I’ve always been a big sci-fi fan, so when I finally started writing fiction, I knew I’d start with sci-fi. For the first book, Horizon, I had two distinct parts of a story floating in my head. The first was a crash sequence. It was pretty basic at the time of its inception – just a young man who crash-lands on a planet, and a young woman, in some kind of trouble, who saves his life.
The second part was more complex. I was playing with the idea of what would happen if one segment of an already small, isolated population evolved differently from the other. What if they were empathic and could sense each other’s emotions and thoughts? What if some of them could heal with their mind? How would the unchanged people feel about their neighbors? It created such an interesting premise I knew I had to find a way to make it into a story. When I combined those two pieces, the seed for the series was born.
7. What are you working on next?
I recently finished the draft of an urban-fantasy. It’s a rather dark story about a lady assassin who kills people in their dreams. She’s a Jessica Jones meets Dexter vigilante type character, and she only goes after men who’ve gotten away with terrible crimes. In the opening scene, she’s on a job but realizes the person she’s been hired to kill is actually an undercover FBI agent. His criminal history is a cover. She finds him in the waking world, and they attempt to discover who wants him dead. I’m working through the edits now with my agent.
8. What authors or books have influenced your writing?
Honestly, too many to count! I’ve always been an avid reader, and now, I have the pleasure of reading and reviewing some really good books for Book Club Babble, a blog site I own with a couple of writer pals. I feel like I learn something new about good story-telling from every book I love as a reader.
9. If you could live anywhere, in this world or fantasy, where would you live?
Yavin’s 4th moon.
10. What is your favorite meal?
A few years ago, I would have said eggplant parmesan, but since my husband started doing the cooking, I’m absolutely nuts over his chicken marsala.
11. Coffee or tea? Wine or beer?
Both coffee and tea. I drink one cup of coffee in the morning and then switch to herbal tea during the day. I prefer wine, but I love testing out different beers at local breweries, especially in the fall.
12. Describe yourself in three words.
Energetic. Organized. Kind.
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