Take A Peek Into My Author World…

Standard

Happy Thursday, everyone! I just wanted to share a little bit of author-ness with you this morning, and bring you into the really cool world of what I am so fortunate to do for a living. I just wrapped an incredible and in-depth interview with Dr. Joyce T. Strand on her blog, and I had such a good time doing it! Check out this Q&A as I talk about author-ness things ranging from my books to the impact YA fiction has on the reading world.

 frabz-WRITER-What-my-friends-think-I-do-What-my-mom-thinks-I-do-What-s-24d512

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Author, Tabitha “T.R.” Freeman

Q: You have written and published the young adult Ghost Story trilogy, Princess series, and young adult contemporary fiction books. What makes your books more relevant to young adults? Why did you choose to write for young adults? Or would you say that your books are about young adults but applicable to readers of all ages?

Tabitha Freeman: My books are picked up by readers of all ages, which I think has become a general norm for the YA genre today. I always knew the YA fiction genre was what I wanted to focus on because that’s when the true bibliophile blooms. At that teenage/young adult age, you’re shaping into who you’ll become and trying to figure out what that means—and it’s the time in our lives when we read books that one day will be something we look back on and remember…not only for the story itself, but those books also tie us to certain moments in that really important stage of our lives. There is no better memory trigger! The magic of it is infinite, especially because when we pick up the same book we loved when we were 15, we have a completely different experience reading it when we are 30 or 40 or 70.

 

As far as my books being more relevant for young adults, I try to take myself back to when I was reading at that age and what books shaped me. I try to cover subjects that are pretty standard of life (i.e. heartbreak, grief, prejudice, faith, etc.) but in a way that isn’t standard—a way that will reach out to a younger reader. A way that says “Hey, you might go through something like this—just like the character in the story—but it’ll all be okay in the end. Life moves on and you will, too.” Hope is the reoccurring theme in everything I write, which is something I believe we all need to see in any stage of life.

 

Q: Reviewers praise your character development across all your books. How do you create engaging and memorable characters?

TRF: I write what I know—or who I know, rather. The human character is so fascinating and complex, and as a writer, that provides an infinite canvas for stories. I try to include several pieces of relatable personalities in my characters—traits and situations that make readers go, “Ah hah! That’s what I would do!” And I also try to create characters that teach readers a little something about themselves in an almost inner-combative kind of way…a character that initially pisses the reader off with a decision that doesn’t seem right, only to have the reader change his/her mind and say, “Wait, this mistake is relevant. I might have reacted this way, too.”

Q:  What makes COYOTE CREEK “not your usual love story” and “a fresh new love story?”

TRF: COYOTE CREEK is centered on two people who are in seemingly inescapable, heartbreaking situations that make them hate life. You would think that misery loves company, right? Not in this case. This love story is unique in that it uses the raw definition of real love. Real love brings out the best in two people. The love story in COYOTE CREEK evolves because these two people both look for sunshine in the dark together. That’s not a tale we see very often.

 

Q: Why did you decide to use “interview format” for BECOMING A PRINCESS?

TRF: I released BECOMING A PRINCESS after GHOST STORY and BROKEN GLASS, which are really heavy reads. I wanted to give my readers something easier and a little more light-hearted and fun. I chose the “interview format” for B.A.P. for a couple of reasons. The first was to draw in more self-proclaimed “non-readers” and I truly believe the easier readability of the format really achieved that. The fan base for the PRINCESS series is completely different from the fan base for my other novels and I find that incredibly neat. The second reason I chose the unique format was because I wanted to write a story that developed characters, setting, and theme all within just a dialogue. This was a challenge for me as a writer and I had so much fun doing it, and I think—and hope—that this resonates with the reader.

Q: The Ghost Story trilogy books are set in Scotland. Does this setting enhance the Ghost Story plots? How do you use setting to tell your stories?

TRF: Setting is everything! Scotland—the Orkney Islands, specifically—was a character in itself for the GHOST STORY trilogy. Scotland is not only beautiful and full of rich history and culture, but it’s also a place of mystery and enchantment. This was a setting that allowed me to help the reader smell the sea and taste this new air as the main character, Eleanor, is catapulted blindly into an unknown world. This is what setting should always be—one of the main characters.

Q:  You explore the darker side of life in BROKEN GLASS, a book many reviewers site as “well worth the read.” What inspired you to write about an attempted suicide and experience in an institution?

TRF: Life is “normal” until it’s not. That’s the reality for all of us. That is Ava Darton’s story in BROKEN GLASS. Her life is much like most of our lives and in a second, she is absolutely shattered beyond recognition. How or where can you find hope in a hopeless situation like Ava’s?

 

Inspiration for the suicide attempts in Ava’s story and her new life in an institution came from the fear I think we all have inside of us—the fear in knowing that Ava’s reality can happen to any of us. That fear that there is no end to the depths we can fall.

 

It’s a dark subject and it’s a tough emotional experience to read, but I believe it offers something to readers of all ages. And I truly believe the YA age group can handle this darker kind of subject matter, and in some cases, are much less fragile than much older readers who have experienced more of life. I couldn’t be prouder of BROKEN GLASS, and its continuous success and growing fan base never ceases to shock and humble me. I can’t even put into words how incredibly grateful I am that this story reaches out in such a positive way to so many readers of all ages.

 Q: You have written your books from multiple points of view. Do you have a favorite? Why?

TRF: I prefer to write in first person because that’s when the most intimate story comes out. I appreciate writing from a third person POV because it allows me to write from all angles and the reader gets to see everything going on, opposed to just one view. However, with that said, first person, to me, is not only more intimate, but it is also more relatable to the reader. The reader gets to plop his/herself into the story directly and immediately become “I, me, myself”. The reader becomes the character and is finding things out as they go along, much like with real life. This also allows me as the writer to surprise even myself with where the story goes sometimes.

Q: Do you write purely to entertain your readers, or do you also strive to educate or deliver a message?

TRF: It’s a mixture of both. I always have a bigger message to deliver—but I’m going to entertain the heck out of you while doing it!

Q: What’s next?

TRF: I’m currently doing a lot more blogging, and this is so my readers can get to know me on a more personal level. We live in an age when authors and writers are no longer mysterious because readers desire to know who’s behind the typewriter now. So I’m trying to give in a little to that. I’m also working on three projects: the third installment in the PRINCESS series, a Kieran Bruce Highlander spin-off of the GHOST STORY trilogy, and a darker, post-apocalyptic novel geared towards the older YA crowd of readers.

Q: Tell us about Tabitha Freeman. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

TRF: I’m a loud, dramatic Southerner who married a loud, dramatic Romanian railroader. So, when I’m not writing or reading, I’m soaking up all the hilarious real-life shenanigans going on around me in my Big-Fat-Greek-Wedding-Meets-Moonshining-Smokey-and-the-Bandit-on-Red Bull reality. It’s tons of fun and provides never ending writing material. 

Check out the full article here!

The Night St. Paddy’s Day was Over by 10:56 p.m.

Standard

First of all, let’s go ahead and praise Jesus that I’m still alive and not yet the victim of my mailman.

Moving on…

Today is St. Patrick’s Day—a Monday. Which means those of us that have stupid jobs that won’t count St. Paddy’s as a national “Let’s-Be-Off-Work-Today-and-Tomorrow-to-Nurse-the-Green-Beer-and/or-Whiskey-Hangover” holiday, we had to celebrate this past weekend.

My hubs and I celebrated on Saturday night with some of our dearest friends and I think we all had a reality check when we realized just how different the celebration of our favorite saint becomes when we have to play grown-up. We were home before 11 p.m.

Which, while a tad bit embarrassing to admit, you still get a fun list!

12 Ways St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans Change When Adulthood Takes Over

1.)    If St. Paddy’s is on a weekday, shenanigans no longer consist of boozing it up in your green glitter face paint until 4 a.m., taking an hour nap, and managing to get to (and easily survive off 2 red bulls) your 6-hour workday at Pac Sun. Now, Boondock Saints on Netflix, Longjohn Silvers, two Bud Lights full of green food coloring, and a 10:00 bedtime is what jigs your inner Irishman.

irish3

2.)    You are so exhausted after work, that you jump on ancestory.com just to see if you have any Irish in you that warrants you to have to surpass an early bedtime in order to have at least one green beer.

irish1

3.)    Wearing green eyeshadow or green socks is enough to make you feel like you satisfactorily celebrated this year…unless you’re a ginger, which means you win at St. Paddy’s Day with absolutely NO effort.

irish4

4.)    Irish car bombs are traded in for Irish coffee or Bailey’s on ice. Or maybe a Shamrock Shake from McDonalds.

irish8

5.)    There is no way in hell you are paying $40 for a full leprechaun get up. Suck it, Party City. I’m on a grown-up, bill-paying budget now.

irish6

No. Just….no.

6.)    Unless you live in Florida, the entire “Let’s Dress Like A Slutty Irish Bar Maid” has lost all appeal. It’s winter time which means you’re wearing pants to avoid pneumonia.

irish5

Now THIS is more like it.

7.)    You order at least a couple drinks that involve a “wake-me-up” mixture (i.e. red bull and vodka, coffee and whiskey…) Why? Because frankly, you can’t remember the last time you weren’t tired, and St. Paddy’s Day is no exception.

irish9

8.)    You have an excuse to eat the shit out of those green-frosted sugar cookies that are excluded from your “My metabolism stopped working once I got a mortgage” diet…

9.)    …which leads us into #9—you give up Lent for St. Patrick’s Day. Nice.

10.)  You skip the tanning bed/spray tan just for today. How honorable.

irish2

11.)  You retire your old “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” college t-shirt, knowing that your health insurance won’t cover the medical bills you’ll rack up after that drunk guy with herpes plants one on you at the pub.

irish7

12.) Drinking starts early, which means you’ll be in bed before midnight and that 8 hour sleep time makes you the winner of no hangover for two days this year. BOOM!

Yay, SLEEP!!!!!

Happy St. Paddy’s everyone! I envy those who can still do the 24-hour pub crawls in their green body paint without the promise of back pain and migraines later!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to plop a spoonful of green food coloring into my glass of Pinot Grig and do some laundry while listening to Mumford and Sons. Oy oy!

I’m Pretty Sure the Mailman is Trying to Kill Me….

Standard

Listen, it’s not that I’m a paranoid person.

funny-paranoid-Nanny-kid

I’m just a cautious, realistic, and very careful person.

I watch a lot of Investigation Discovery and I read a lot of True Crime books. I’m also a writer, so my imagination is a little more tweaked out than the average person.

In short, I don’t have the desire to be friends with my neighbors. It heightens the chances that I’ll end up on “Swamp Murders”, and that’s just not in my life plan.

paranoia

Our mailman lives fourteen houses down from us. How do I know this? Because he told me. I’m not kidding. Are you already beginning to see the sketchiness?

Maybe his behavior is weird because my husband accidentally drew a Crocodile Dundee knife on him at our annual Christmas party last year. The mailman rang the doorbell—I’m pretty sure he only did this because he saw strange cars in our driveway, as he only had junk Walmart ads to deliver. My hubs thought it was a couple of our friends, so he threw open the door with a wildman yell and the blade reared in his hand. (Yes, we have this kind of relationship with our friends, is that not normal??)

knife

My hubs and his getup when he accidentally greeted the mailman. (Christmas party theme was “Camo-Reindeer”. I guess I’m not the only one with the heightened imagination….

We moved into our rental house five months ago and the Mailman’s (I really have no idea what his name is) behavior started out only sort of weird. Our mailbox is a little metal flip box to the right of our front door, attached to the house. So Mailman has to come up to the front step to deliver the mail in that little box. But Mailman would come to the door and knock, even when he didn’t have mail. I figured this was just to get to know us maybe, since we were new to the neighborhood, but here’s the thing—Mailman is not really friendly or conversational. He just stands there and stares at me with his fat Hitler mustache and thick Jeffrey Dahmer glasses, waiting for me to continue friendly chatter. Which I happen to be good at, but hey, I don’t want to make it a daily routine. I am a dirty writer who lives in sweatpants, no bra, and unbrushed hair for three days at a time. I don’t want to see you, man.

 

So, after about three months of this, I turned into a crazy person, dropping to the floor and army-crawling out of site every time Mailman would knock on the door. And it worked! Eventually, he stopped knocking. Instead, he reverted to coming up to the box and just standing there for a good thirty seconds. Just. Standing. There.

But then, Mailman got smart. I have packages delivered to our house on average about two days a week, and I have to usually sign for them. I’d open the door and get my packages and two seconds after I’d shut the door, there would be a loud knock. Guess who?!

1729

Mailman is standing there with this look on his face that says “GOTCHA!” and he’s got my stamped bills to be sent out in his hand. He begins to thumb through these envelopes and looks back at me.

“The owner doesn’t pay these bills?” Mailman asks me.

“Wh-what?” I’m completely taken off guard by his nosey-ass question.

“He’s making you pay these bills?”  Mailman continues to intrude. My defensive invisible laser wall shoots up in front of me and my inner Robocop quickly scans the front porch for a stick or rock.

“Uh, of course,” is all I can think to say because I’m distracted by the thought of wondering if the attached-to-the-house-mailbox will rip off easily in case I need to use it as a makeshift weapon. Mailman just looks at me with this weird gaze like he knows something I don’t, or that he wants this to turn into a conversation that speaks ill of the owner of the house.

“HAVE A GOOD DAY!” I suddenly blurt out with a too-loud, obvious nervous giggle and shut the door. I can see Mailman’s silhouette (Our front door is frosted glass) and he just stands there for another moment before slowly retreating.

freakedout

I’m freaking out, but Mailman steers clear of being visibly creepy for the next couple of weeks. Regardless, I resort to what I do when delivery men come to the house—keep my boots on with a hunting knife hidden in the side of them. You know, just in case. I don’t want to rip the mailbox off the house if I don’t have to, right?

I think I’m in the clear—but then! There is a coat closet right beside the front door. The other day, I walk over to the coat closet and I gasp when I notice movement outside the frosted glass of the front door. It’s Mailman—and he is again just standing there. Like we’re at a face off without actually being able to see each other’s faces. This lasts for about twenty seconds. A looooong time. He finally and abruptly leaves. I wait five minutes. I open the door and lift the mailbox lid.

There is no mail.

Clearly, a Post Office box is in order…and a terrifying book about a mass murdering mailman.

Yes. This is a real movie. Oh. Mah. Gah.

Yes. This is a real movie. Oh. Mah. Gah.