Tell us about your latest work.
There are 2, currently. I recently finished the first draft of Hunting the Dragon, book 8 in the Waves of Darkness series and first book in the second story arc for the series. The first 7 books comprised the Sisters of Power arc. While they have been out of publication since I broke with my publisher, Gypsy Shadow Publishing, the rights were immediately reverted to me. I'm in the process of revising and reformatting them for self publication.
As for book 8: it picks up with the final events of book 7, Maelstrom of Fate, and starts the Daughters of the Dragon arc, which will also take place over 7 books.
The other recent work is artistic in nature. I was commissioned to do the face card portraits for a 5 suit Dragon Poker game. This is a companion game for an authorized Dragonriders of Pern LARP available from Antiquarian Boardgames.
What happened in your life to prompt you to become a writer?
It was a natural offshoot of my need to be creative. I love to read, and, like so many others, loved to create my own fanfic in my head ...decades before the internet existed. While my original career choice was to become a journalist, I eventually decided to become an honest liar instead and write fiction. The tools and access afforded by the internet led me to finally go for it.
I find story ideas and inspiration in various places. Sometimes it's a news article. Sometimes a stray odd bit in magazines like National Geographic or Smithsonian find their way into my writing. Sometimes TV shows trigger an idea. Often my husband tosses out an idea. Mostly though, it's because I'm that special kind of not-right-in-the-head person who HAS to write. I truly enjoy writing. Luckily, having to wear a face mask at work keeps my coworkers from being disturbed by my evil grin when a particularly wicked story idea occurs to me.
What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your works?
Adventure, horror, sex and sexuality, and the fact that all sorts of side issues keep cropping up and interrupting my main characters' efforts to complete their Important Task or to find out what it even is.
What would be your dream project?
I haven't got a clue. Wait ...yes I do. I would love to get a story accepted for an anthology I've been invited to and have it actually see publication IN MY LIFETIME. So far, something has halted publication of every anthology I've submitted to.
Anne McCaffrey, definitely. I wish I could be even half as good at world building and characterization as she was. Several authors I've encountered over the past decade or so at conventions have provided guidance and advice, either directly or on writing track panels. I also have tried to make my own unique voice in my writing, and I've noticed the development changes over the course of my book series.
If you have any former project to do over and make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do?
Well, I'm already revamping the first 7 books of Waves of Darkness for re-release; revising to fix a few stylistic issues I've become aware of during my growth as awriter, reformatting for a different print size, and commissioning new cover art. I would like to redo season 1 of The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe with new, art and professional covers. I also plan to up my marketing game on all my projects. 2020 kind of did a number on my creativity and energy levels.
Where would you rank writing on the "is it an art or is it a science" continuum? Why?
I think it depends on what type of writing. Both really apply to fiction, because you not only need a flair for good storytelling, but you need to research what your readers want, and you definitely need a good grasp of grammar and vocabulary. One of the few stories I DNF'd had good bones, but the author was too busy showing off his vocabulary of obscure, rarely used words. You don't want to dumb down your writing, but you don't want your readers having to go through several Google searches per paragraph just to understand WHAT they're reading.
Keeping track of story ideas when I come up with them at work, when I don't have access to scrap paper or my phone and have to stay conscious of my surroundings and the task at hand for safety purposes.
How do your writer friends help you become a better writer? Or do they not?
I'm fortunate and privileged to know or follow a wide variety of writers, both in person and online. Granted, conventions are about the only times I get to interact in person, since my work schedule pretty much rules out attending local writing group meetings. Still, I get good advice at cons, and I learn quite a lot from news letters, blogs, and videos put out by other writers sharing their journey. I pick up various tips about style, current tropes, publishing processes (both traditional and indie), and what pitfalls and mistakes to avoid. I see what does and doesn't work for them, and I figure out my own methods from these. I never ever allow myself to be so arrogant as to think I have learned everything useful I can.
What does literary success look like to you?
Hitting a best seller list would be nice, but it is not my definition of success. THAT is getting confirmation that people enjoy reading what I write as much as I enjoy writing it. I hit that mark when I encountered a fan online through a mutual friend during a Fandom discussion of Girl Genius. I made a mention in the thread about the book I was working on at the time, and she started fangirling on my series. She's up in Oregon, the opposite corner of the country from me, and had been introduced to my books by a friend of hers. I recently made her my alpha reader.
I really want to get my Waves of Darkness books into audio books. I've had interest expressed to me about this for a few years now. I still have some research to do on my options (besides ACX and Audible). But, I eventually WILL get this done.
For more information, visit:
https://talowery.wordpress.com for my blog, character profiles, book list, excerpts and deleted scenes, and a pretty nifty virtual convention dealers' room under the Pirates Cove & Hucksters Haven heading.