1. What is your name and where do you call home?
My name is Red Tash and I'm from Southern Indiana, very near Louisville, Kentucky.
2. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or less words, what would you say?
Troll Or Derby:
Will Deb save her sister from a troll druglord, or remain in the arms of an evil fairy princess rollergirl?
(that was hard!)
3. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I do. I'm presently writing three series. The most popular book I have is Troll Or Derby, my most recent. I'm also penning a follow-up to a dark fantasy/sci fi story I published last year. I write about a mysterious wizard, as well, so that's series #3. I also have six other works in progress going on right now, some of which might spring into series (but hopefully not!) It's hard not being able to meet reader demand when they know a new book is coming. I feel awful saying "It'll just take a bit longer," but I really want the work to be solid before I publish it. It's a bit of a riot at my computer.
4. What or who inspired you to start writing? And how long have you been writing?
Like most professional writers, I've done it since I was a child. I have written professionally since the early 2000s, but only recently gave up journalism to pursue writing fiction full-time. As far as Troll Or Derby goes, I was inspired to write something about trolls because at the time I started, no one was writing about them (2007). I have always loved fairies, so that part of the story was a no-brainer. Then I joined roller derby and the next thing I knew, I could imagine fairies and trolls skating on the banked track, taking whips and flying, fighting each other with clubs and maces! Oh, man. That felt exciting! I wanted to write that! So that's where that part of the book came from. The rest of the story was based on a lot of experiences I personally had as a teenager, then as a young adult living in rural Indiana. It can be a lonely existence, being a brainy bookworm in the middle of farm country.
One reviewer noted that the protagonist cobbled together a "parent pie," finding nurture from several different adults instead of her family of origin. I hadn't realized I'd written the story that way, but, yep--that was my childhood. So I guess I wrote what I "know," just like the experts tell you to do. I could be wrong, but I believe most writers are compelled to pen lengthy works because we have these stories inside us, just dying to get out. Everyone has those stories, I believe--just not everyone feels compelled to sit down everyday and type and type until their truth comes out.
5. Do you gift books to readers for book reviews?
Absolutely! I like to look over the reader's blog and Goodreads profile first, of course, but I'm totally open to gifting books.
6. How did you come up with the cover? Who designed the cover of your book?
I actually saw a lovely fairy graphic on tumblr, where I blog, and contacted the artist. (http://www.facebook.com/Amaranth.Dreams) She did a digital painting for me, and after getting some reader feedback, I realized the cover needed a little bit more "layering" to it, so I added some background texture to the top and bottom and added the torn paper look. Fortunately page design was part of my journalism background! Otherwise, it would be tough to choose a good graphic designer. There are many talented ones at quite affordable prices. Right now I'm saving up to commission the next two book covers for Troll Or Park and Troll Or Trash.
7. How did you come up with the title for your book?
It's a play on the words "Roller Derby." In the book, the girl must choose whether to follow her desire to save her sister, with the help of a mysterious troll, or whether to stay lost in love with someone who's bad for her--but who shares her love of the addictive sport roller derby. Honestly, a fellow writer came up with the name and it stuck. I like puns. The sequel titles are hopefully punny, as well! (Troll Or Park = Trailer Park, Troll Or Trash = Trailer Trash, of course.) Deb is a trailer park girl, so these titles work great!
8. Is there anything you would change about your book? And why?
Well, I would love to see it sitting on the bookstore tables alongside Julie Kagawa, Melissa Marr, Holly Black, and other fairy teen book authors. I honestly believe it's every bit as good as Black & Marr's books--I haven't read Kagawa's yet, so I can't say. But I chose to take the indie route, because reader feedback really propels me to write and produce books much faster than the "query-go-round" game of finding an agent, when you take the traditional route. Hopefully at some point I'll still find a good match with a traditional publisher and get these hot little books onto those bookstore tables! In the meantime, I'm writing and submitting and selling, and loving those reviews--so, no, absolutely nothing I would change.
9. Do you have a book trailer? And what are your thoughts on book trailers?
I have a couple. I don't know if they help, honestly. I feel like you have to make one, because everyone has one, but does anyone ever really get excited from one? I'm not sure. It feels more like a celebration of a book we've already heard of, in 99% of the cases I've seen. Regardless, mine are on my Youtube channel:
Also, I do watch "booktubers," so if anyone reading this has video links, please feel free to post them as responses to my own book blog! I've only done one so far, but hope to do more.
10. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks?
11. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it?
Several, several books. Gone With the Wind, Lonesome Dove, The Stand (and lots of other Stephen King books), the Bible, The Language of Letting Go, allllllll the Harry Potter books so many times I can probably recite them, A Wrinkle in Time (and all the Time Quartet books)...I could go on and on!
12. Has the quality of the cover of a book ever put you off of reading it?
No. And I think that makes me the exception in today's world of SO many cheap/free books. Authors & publishers need to try harder, in general.
13. What is your favourite film based on a book?
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Although there are several things wrong with the film, to me it feels the most like the Wizarding World is supposed to feel, and I need to visit that world sometimes, so desperately.
14. What is your favourite book genre at the moment?
15. What books have made it onto your wishlist recently? And why?
Broken Piano for President, because of the author's accidental viral success. JL Bryan's fairy series, because of their total cuteness. The Iron Fey series.
16. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format?
I am presently reading about 14 books in a mix of formats. About half ebook and half paperback/hardcover. The biggest two that stand out in my mind are JL Bryan's Fairy Metal Thunder in ebook format, and The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1, The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood, in hardcover. I believe I have almost all of them on my Goodreads profile. Probably not the boring titles, like How to be a Better Parent type stuff.
17. Do you have any advice for other writers? And what’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing?
Take some classes, get lots of feedback on your work, start small and work your way up. Do not compare yourself to other writers. Be the best writer you can be.
The best advice I was ever given was "Go for it. If you fail, you can always go back to journalism." It's important to have supportive people in your life, when you're a creative. Creativity is so subjective!
18. Where can your readers follow you?
Facebook page: http://facebook.com/RedTashBooks
Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/RedTash
I am very interactive, have an email list, all that stuff--unlike some authors, I do not consider myself "above" readers--I am so grateful they read & enjoy my work, so of course I enjoy getting to know them. If they like my work, I hope they'll chat me up.
Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!