For some writers, writing is not the only art form where they express their creativity. Some are musicians, painters or actors. One author, Tiffany Apan, is one of those kinds. She is also a musician, singer and actress. However, writing is her main love, as she explains in her interview below:
MC: Tiffany, not only are you an author, but you are also a musician, singer, actress and producer! You’re a true artist! What drives your need to create?
TA: Well thanks! I’d say a very active imagination that began as far back as I can recall and never truly went away. My brain always seems to be active, which I do consider to be a good thing (better to have an overactive mind then one that gets absolutely no use, right?). But I’m also a great learner. I love learning, especially of history and other places. And when I learn something new, I automatically want to integrate it into an art form of some kind, be it writing, music, filming, or all of the above. 🙂
MC: Out of all of your artistic talents, which one do you enjoy the most?
TA: I would say writing. To me, writing can easily encompass music and film. Writing and plotting a story – be it for a novel, a song, or a screenplay – is at the root of a lot of creations and bringing a story to life.
MC: Your “The Birthrite Series” is filled with history, dark fantasy and romance. Where did the inspiration from this come from?
TA: Oh many, many, many things. Back in late 2011/early 2012, I had a rather vivid dream that pretty much stayed with me. The dream entailed me in deep conversation with a person that would go on to become a key character in The Birthrite Series. And it’s interesting, because what was originally supposed to be a more fun and adventerous time travel romance under the working title Through Time, eventually morphed into something completely different. In fact, none of the main characters from the first book in the series even appeared in the original draft and concept. But as I wrote Through Time, it just didn’t feel right. I mean, the general idea was there but something was missing. At the time, I was also reading through Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. In one passage, he compares writing a story to discovering a small fossil, and then continuing to dig until you uncover the entire dinosaur. And sometimes it will seem as though you are shoveling nothing but crap. But eventually you will make the great discovery. That is exactly how writing The Birthrite was, so I can totally relate!
As time went on, more characters seemed to literally just “walk on,” and characters I thought were just going to be minor ended up being major key characters. The story seemed to build upon itself as I did research and created the world in which the people of the story inhabit. And the story went from a fun adventurous romance one to one that was still fun, adventurous and romantic, but darker and having a lot more mystery. Add to that my passion for history and research of it.
The working title then had to change due to the story’s new direction. Bloodlines was the new working title (which I knew would eventually be changed since there already are so many projects out there with that title).
In early 2013 as I was fleshing out what would be the official first draft, I started posting chapters and excerpts of my unedited work onto what is now my official blog in order to gain a perspective of how much interest there might be in the story. Well, the interest definitely seemed to be there, so in the midst of that little experiment, I started revising and copyrighting it for print.
Finally in I believe that in early 2014 (or late 2013), I settled on the official series title, The Birthrite and decided to call book one Descent. Then I decided to release a spin off novelette with Descent titled Sacred Atonement: A Novelette (The Birthrite Series, #1.5). As of December 2014, the beginning of the series has been officially available both digitally and in paperback form. The next installments are set for release later this summer.
Recently, I started work for the Depreciation Lands Museum, a historical museum dedicated to bringing the 18th century to life. With all the intense research I did for Descent and Sacred Atonement, working for this museum has given me even more access to sources that allow for deeper research. Those running the museum also take care to immerse the workers in all things 18th century, including offering training in period tasks such as cooking over a campfire and hearth oven to drop spindle classes (I will be taking the latter this month). Since The Birthrite Series delves deeper into history as the series continues (half of the first book, Descent, takes place in the mid 1800s and the latter half in the year 1931), I feel this will add new layers to the story and my writing in general.
As I research more and more, I am fascinated with how distorted many events and eras have become over time. Combine that with my love for Tolkien, Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, the Brontes, and romantic stories, and you pretty much have my inspiration for the series.
MC: What are your plans for “The Birthrite Series”?
TA: Well as of now, the first installments, Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) and Sacred Atonement: A Novelette (The Birthrite Series, #1.5) and Made In Heaven: A Birthrite Series Short are available both digitally and in print. As for the next ones, Kindred (The Birthrite Series, #2) and Saturn Sun: A Novella (The Birthrite Series, #2.5) in late July and mid August. The 29th of this month (June) will bring the cover and synopsis reveal for Kindred and Saturn Sun. A few great blogs are involved, including Screamzine and the official blog of urban fantasy author, Susan Reid. Then in late August, I plan to send the series on a blog tour. So stay tuned for that. 🙂
Regarding writing the series as a whole, the plan is to have five novels with a couple novellas and shorts in between. However, I don’t believe in confining a story (and usually stories do not want to be). So if it has to go beyond the five novels, than so be it. There is also a lot of history and back story within the series. Meaning that even after the final book is written, there may be room for a prequel or a Birthrite-verse spinoff. So we shall see. 🙂
MC: Describe your writing process. For example, do you write with a laptop or by hand? Do you use a specific kind of pen, etc?
TA: When I am first getting a concept down, I do use the old fashioned method of writing by hand. For some reason, that actually allows me to more freely develop back story and make research notes. But when I sit down to do an actual draft, I’m all about the laptop.
I usually write at my desk in my office/creative space, either early in the morning or late at night when all is still and quiet. Though sometimes having on a piece music that reflects the mood of a particular character and/or scene definitely helps.
MC: What advice would you give to someone who dreams about writing and completing a novel?
TA: Be prepared to do a lot of leg work if you want to do it well. You might find yourself having to do much research and fleshing out of character backgrounds long before you can even begin to write the actual story. While there are some authors that can “get it right the first time”, those are usually the experienced writers who have been writing a really long time. And even they need at least one revision for typos and clunky sentences. Don’t be afraid of the revision and editing process, and get it out of your head that everything you write will be absolutely lovely and flawless. Because it won’t be. In other words, don’t be that guy who uploads his or her first draft loaded with errors to Amazon.
Also, the nice thing about publishing independently is that it does give you plenty of opportunity to periodically look through your manuscript and make corrections, even after it is published (because there will also be something you missed).
But all in all, when you see your story and characters come to life and the book is the best it can be, the feeling of accomplishment is tremendous. Especially when you know you are doing yourself and characters justice by putting all of you out in the best light possible.
To learn more about Tiffany, check out her many presences online:
Official Website: http://tiffanyapan.com
Official Blog: http://tiffanyapanwritingproject.blogspot.com
New online magazine: http://partingofveilswebzine.blogspot.com
Facebook Artist Page: http://facebook.com/tiffanyapanfanpage
Authorgraph (for digital autographs!): http://www.authorgraph.com/authors/TIFFANYAPAN