Interview with T.L. Bodine author of TAGESTRAUM.
Why are you taking part in the author blog challenge and what do you hope to achieve?
I always see other bloggers I follow taking part in challenges or prompts, and I always think, “That looks like fun. Why aren’t I doing that, too?” but always miss the opportunity. So I was very happy to find out about this one before it started. I think it’s a great way to connect with other writers and build a community, which is probably the single coolest thing about writing in the Internet age.
How long have you been writing for?
I wrote my very first story when I was 8, and I decided early on that I wanted to be serious about it, so I was researching markets and writing query letters by the time I was 12. I got really discouraged at that point, though, and stopped for several years. I’ve been publishing short stories since ’07, though.
What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?
Finishing the first draft. A lot of people can just fly through it and worry about problems during revision, but I can’t. I always reach a point where I realize the book isn’t really what I originally thought it would be; it’s usually something better, but it takes a lot of time to figure that out.
What genre do you generally write?
I write fantasy with a liberal dash of horror.
Do you have a favourite author and why?
I can never pick a favorite anything. Neil Gaiman is very high on the list, though, and he’s definitely been one of my biggest influences as a writer.
What is your book called and how did you choose this title?
The one I’m working on publishing now is called TAGESTRAUM, which is the name of the faerie world where the story mostly takes place. I came up with the name by plugging various keywords into Babelfish, trying them out in various languages, and putting something together that looked cool — very scientific, I know. Of course, I always assume that the title you start with probably won’t be the one the publisher keeps, so I never get too attached to titles.
TAGESTRAUM tells the story of a social worker, Adrian, whose 7-year-old client goes missing. His search for the boy leads him into a faerie world where dreams are alive and the lines between reality, nightmares and memories all begin to blur. Before he can find the child and escape, Adrian has to confront his worst nightmares — literally.
Has your book been published and how did you go about this?
I haven’t published a novel yet, although I’m searching for an agent for TAGESTRAUM right now. I have been in several small-press anthologies, though.
Approximately how long did it take you to finish your book?
I started TAGESTRAUM in 2009 for Nanowrimo. I didn’t finish that year, though, and I set down the half-finished manuscript for a long time. I finally came back through and finished it in 2011, then did all of the revisions in the first few months of this year.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Read a lot. Write a lot. But live a lot, too. All of the best inspiration comes from actually getting out and experiencing things. Everything you see and do will find a way into a story at some point. That’s what will really define your unique voice and make your books stand out and have a life of their own.
Do you use social media to promote your book, if yes then which social networks do you like the most?
I figure I should get used to social media before I have a publishing contract; that way I’ll have a better idea of what I’m actually doing when the time comes to use it for real. I’m a big Facebook addict, but I’ve recently started using Twitter and Pinterest and I’m pretty much obsessed with them.
If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently?
I would have forced myself not to take so long to get finished. My very first novel took me five years to write “the end” on because I kept walking away from it. Same sort of thing with TAGESTRAUM. If I had been writing every day for all those years, I would have a lot more to work with now that I’m looking for agents.
What books do you like to read in your spare time?
I guiltily admit that I don’t read as much as I should, and I tend to re-read books I love instead of taking a chance on something I’ve never read. I got a Kindle for Christmas, though, and that’s helping me expand my horizons a bit; having instant access to all the classics helps, and I can take a chance on unknown small-press and self-pub authors too. I read a really wide variety of books, so I rarely know what I’ll like until I get into it. I just finished THE HUNGER GAMES (I know, I’m so behind the times) and really liked it. I’m reading CATCHING FIRE right now.
What do you feel is the most important stage of writing a book?
Finishing the first draft. I don’t just say that because it’s the part I have the hardest time with. You can’t do anything until you’ve finished the whole thing from beginning to end. Once it’s finished, you can revise and rewrite and fix even the worst problems, but if you don’t finish, you can’t do anything. Even if you know the book is going to be be terrible and you’ll have to scrap the whole thing, finish it anyway. You learn a LOT more about finishing a bad book than you do from abandoning it halfway.
Are you writing or considering writing a follow-up to your book?
I rarely ever approach books expecting to write a series. But when I was revising TAGESTRAUM I realized that I have a lot of extra material to explore, and I realized how much sequel potential there is. If it finds a home with a publisher, a sequel may very well be in its cards. Until then, though, I’m working on other things. I like to diversity.
Do you have a day job (if so, what do you do?) or do you write full-time?
I’m a full-time freelance writer. I mostly write web content and blog posts for businesses, everything from car insurance to personal finance and dieting. It doesn’t pay spectacularly, but I get to set my own hours and I’m always learning new things, which is fun, and it forces me to write *something* every day so I’m always honing my craft in a sense.