In my inaugural post in this series of writer interviews, which will be posted on Sundays, though not necessarily every Sunday,, I have the lovely T.J. Loveless. When I first joined Agent Query Connect (of all the forums I’m on, this is my “home base” and it is just so full of wonderful people willing to spare their time to help) I was overwhelmed by all that I didn’t know. T.J. is the first person I had contact with off the forum, and she’s been consistently wonderful and helpful and encouraging. Everyone needs a writing friend like her.
I’ve had the privilege of reading the beginning of her manuscript for Going Thru Hell, and it’s been fantastic! Even though I’ve received a spoiler, my enjoyment hasn’t been diminished, and I’m eager to receive more!
Pay close attention to T.J.’s grandmother’s last works. Re-read them. Take them to heart.
Without further adieu, I present to you T.J. Loveless!
What inspired you to start writing?
In 2009, we returned to Tulsa, OK. I began working as tech support, on the phones ten hours a day. When I’d get home, I needed a stress relief valve. Writing did it. I actually finished the first book, and haven’t been able to stop. Granted that story has been revised more than a dozen times, but I became addicted to writing, letting my imagination wander.
Who have been your biggest inspirations?
My grandmother and great aunt. I learned a lot about survival, making the best of a bad situation, and believing in myself from these two sisters. The week before my grandmother died from complications of fighting cancer for twenty years, we talked on the phone. Her last words to me? “Don’t let anyone tell you any different. You are a writer. For once, child, follow your dream.”
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
When I left my abusive ex-husband. I had the thought I wanted to talk about the things I learned, but no outlet. I’d written when I was younger, but it would be another ten years before I began to put fingers to keyboard.
Where do you do most of your creative imagining?
Staring at mountains or dreaming.
Which of your character creations have been your favorite, and why?
Oh, this is easy. Dakota. I love her strength and willingness to at least try. Despite the ups and downs, or the huge obstacles, she doesn’t give up – even when she’s bone tired and would rather someone else lead the way.
Which of your character creations has been your least favorite, and why?
Piper. I’m assuming you mean the lead people of various works, and not the bad guys. Piper is too manipulative, although, for her, it is necessary. She’s been the hardest to write.
Tell us about your first and most recent manuscripts.
The first true MS was The Earth Maiden. Dakota is the of nine for my series, The Maidens. She must overcome a great many things, and personal pain, in order to become the woman she hides inside. When she learns the lessons, she becomes one of the most powerful mortals to ever walk the earth and a real threat to immortals.
The one I’m working on now is Going Thru Hell. Kylie has a special power and the gods want to use her as a weapon in their ward. They are relentless, until they learn of her eight year old son and use him against her.
What have you learned that would have been helpful to know when you write your first manuscript?
Learn the difference between complexity and conflict, how to identify the various POV, and that it’s not the beautiful prose that will help your book forward – it’s the characters. I wrote some wonderful, beautiful scenes just to fill pages. Described every blade of grass, fluffy cloud and breeze. Yeah, they were cut.
And a final lesson – learn to love red ink. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. Love to learn. Nobody sits at their desk, and with quick taps on the keyboard suddenly becomes the world greatest novelist. It takes time, plenty of rejection, and a few other hard lessons. Do it for the love of writing, of being a storyteller
You can follow T.J. at: