Monday, 13 August 2012

Author Interview: Tara McCausland

Tara McCausland has written Capella Bright.

1. What is your name and where do you call home?
Tara McCausland, Saint George, Utah, USA

2. Do you have a pen name?
Nope. I’m not nearly cool enough for a pen name.

3. 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?
Capella Bright is a young adult novel laced with electric first-time teen moments, humor, and a light sci-fi twist; werewolves and vampires not included.

4. Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Yes. I have about 35 pages written of the sequel. I’ve been dragging my feet though. The next book is going to require a lot more creativity and brainpower than the first. Gearing up for it…

5. What or who inspired you to start writing?
I hate to admit it, but Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series got me thinking about writing. But it was really a conversation that I had with a dear cousin of mine that moved me from thinking mode to action mode. I wanted to do something unconventional so I decided to do something I’d never really considered – write a novel. I had no idea what I was getting myself into at the time, but it has been an exciting and overall rewarding journey.

6. And how long have you been writing?
I have been writing fiction for nearly 5 years now.

7. Do you gift books to readers for book reviews?
Sure. But my book is currently only $0.99 so it’s not much of an investment.

8. How did you come up with the cover?
I knew I wanted the constellation on the front cover with Maggie – my main character - in a dark, wooded area. The designers of Bookbaby, my e-publisher, chose the color scheme. I think they did a great job! I was very pleased with the end result.

9. How did you come up with the title for your book?
This book actually went through two titles before we arrived at Capella Bright. It started out as Surrender Hart, but I later decided that didn’t suit the story well – sounded way too cheesy. After a great deal of thought and even some story tweaking, the title was changed to Auriga’s Brightest. However, I discovered that people had a hard time pronouncing A-U-R-I-G-A. If you can’t pronounce it, you can’t remember it. That’s a big problem for a self-published author. So after much deliberation it eventually became Capella Bright.

10. Is there anything you would change about your book?
Yes. It’s hard to admit that something you’ve produced isn’t picture perfect. Every author has their strengths and weaknesses. But if there is anything that is really a challenge for me it is writing action sequences. The action scene at the very end could and should have been drawn out more for greater build-up and effect. Conflict with hasty resolution never feels quite as triumphant, but I couldn’t figure out how to expound much more on that part without having to majorly alter the scene. I think it is sufficient, but there is no question that there’s room for improvement in that and other parts of the story.

11. Do you have a book trailer?
No. I eventually want to make one. I personally haven’t seen too many book trailers and the few that I have seen haven’t been very good. I do, however, think that video is a powerful marketing tool and should be used whenever possible.

12. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hardcovers or audiobooks?
It depends on the book. For a fiction book, I still prefer hardcovers. Of course, I dig the price of an e-book which is why Capella Bright is in that format. But if I’m reading non-fiction, I’m okay to read an e-book. Audiobooks are of course best for long road trips.

13. Are you a self-published / Indie author?
Yes. I self-published my e-book through a company called Bookbaby. I love that run-of-the-mill folks like me without glowing writing credentials can now get their stuff out to the world because of self-publishing. Very cool!

14. Has the quality of the cover of a book ever put you off of reading it?
Most definitely! First impressions are huge! You may or may not be able to judge the merit of a book by its cover, but reality is that people do and will. It is worth spending time and money on the cover. Sales hinge on it.

15. What is your favourite film based on a book?
The BBC version of Pride and Prejudice hands down!!

16. What is your favourite book genre at the moment?
YA fantasy, self-improvement

17. What books have made it onto your wishlist recently?
Stephanie Nielson’s Heaven is Here and Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. I actually read more non-fiction than I do fiction. I like books to uplift and motivate me to live a better life, not simply entertain me. Besides that, it is easier to put down a non-fiction book. Great fiction absorbs me and I start neglecting my responsibilities. That’s not very conducive to good mothering.

18. What book are you reading at the moment?
I’ve been reading Brandon Mull’s Beyonders series in hardcover format. Fun books!

19. If you could invite any four celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why?
Hmmm, that’s tough. If I had to pick four, they would be Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln , Jane Austin, and C.S. Lewis. I am a devout Christian so learning at Christ’s feet would be remarkable. Abraham Lincoln was, in my opinion, one of the bravest, most effective leaders in history. He’d be a fine moral tutor as well. I would love to pick the brain of C.S. Lewis and Jane Austin on writing. They were very skilled at their craft. 

20. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Many people wait for those creative juices to start flowing before they are willing to sit and write. But from my experience those juices are rarely flowing when I have the time to hunker down in front of the computer. If you really want to be a writer, you must set a goal and discipline yourself to write at the time you said you would so you can hash out that 10 pages a week (or whatever your goal is). Even if what your write at that time is crap, better to write crap and go back later and revise then endlessly wait to be in “the zone”. If you wait for those magical moments of genius, you’ll never produce a book.

21. Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to reading & writing?
I’m a full-time mama of two fiery little boys (wouldn’t really call that a hobby) and a part-time life coach. I love helping people accomplish their goals and make a better life for themselves. I also enjoy traveling and public speaking.

22. Where can your readers follow you?

Goodreads author page:

Twitter: @myjoyquest

Thankyou so much for taking the time to do this interview and allowing us a glimpse into your writing world!

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