Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Interview With Tami Jackson, Author of Ravena & The Resurrected
Hi Natasha. Thank you so much for allowing me to be here in Huntsville, Alabama, USA, with you (virtually) and thanks for interviewing me.
NATASHA: You're certainly welcome. How long have you been writing?
TAMI: All my life. As a child growing up with seven kids in the family, I had to figure out a means to compete and gain undivided attention from my parents. It didn't take me long to realize my dad loved my stories, and he'd spend time alone with me just talking about what I wrote. So I created stories for him every chance I could.
NATASHA: When did you start writing your vampire series?
TAMI: At least a year before I published (started writing in November 2009 and finished Ravena & The Resurrected [ tinyurl.com/4zuew8m ] in October or November 2010)
NATASHA: Do you write about anything other than vampires?
TAMI: I have worked as a news correspondent and freelance magazine writer as well as a public relations writer and editor for many years. Most of what I've sold to the short story markets has been nonfiction. So, yes. I have written a great deal for the non-vampire market. Meanwhile, writing fiction is really where my passion lies.
NATASHA: Do you listen to music when you write? What kind?
TAMI: If I listen to music when I write, it's classical. Theme music from movies like Harry Potter and the Twilight series work great for back ground inspiration. Most often, though, my writing space is quiet. Music with lyrics would just be too distracting.
NATASHA: Where did you get the idea to blog as the main character from your book?
TAMI: (*Likes this questions. Looks to the ceiling and smiles as she wonders: "Where do ideas come from?"*) I guess, after writing the first book, I really felt like I wasn't finished telling Ravena's story. Her character feels very real to me, like I'm living vicariously through her and can feel everything she is showing me. It's very fun to make blog posts as Ravena at Vamchoir.blogspot.com. I can say things in character that I would never say in person. Three examples, for the kinds of Tweets that Ravena (@Vamchoir) posts on Twitter follow:
· @Vamchoir wrote: "Werewolves can shape-shift any second. You could be laughing your ass off and suddenly your blood is all over someone's hair."
· @Vamchoir wrote: "Exercising patience with zombies: NOT at all productive!"
· @Vamchoir wrote: Got pulled over by a cop last night who asked "Have you been drinking?" So I replied: "Why do ya ask? Is there blood on my chin?"
NATASHA: Who is your favorite vampire author?
TAMI: A new favorite is Richelle Mead, author of the Vampire Academy series (It is definitely not a children's book - even though it's marketed as "young adult" and can found in the children's section of the book store). I also love Charlaine Harris, her "Sookie Stackhouse Series," and Bram Stroker for "Dracula."
NATASHA: Why do you think readers are so obsessed with vampires?
Tami: Vampires suggest we can potentially raise from the casket, defeat the aging process, and be much stronger than ever before. It's also rather sexy (and good for a woman's ego) to think a brooding vampire, who gives everyone else the cold shoulder, might be hot-blooded, jealous, and yet very thoughtful toward her (or toward you and me, Natasha).
NATASHA: What made you decide to self-publish?
TAMI: The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Publisher's Weekly, all reliable media has been reporting that the brick and mortar publishing industry is crumbling. Editors are not accepting nearly as many submissions from agents or writers. If they're accepting work at all, it's most likely from prestigious writers with a heroic publishing history. I'm new to the book industry but I definitely had a book to write. I wrote it and the industry had not improved. So it just seemed like self publishing was the best way for me to get the book into reader's hands quickly. I don't think I would have ever attempted it if I had not had my professional writing background. Looking at the mountain, before publishing, just seemed so ominous.
NATASHA: Do you have any other writing projects in the works?
TAMI: Right now I'm working on marketing R&R, so I'm drawing cartoons and I'm networking with other bloggers and writers (like you Natasha!). I also love to read so I'm doing that and am writing book reviews at VampireReview.blogspot.com. Fact is, I love to work. I have recently started on book two in The Resurrected Series but my primary focus right now is just to let people know that R&R is available for purchase.
NATASHA: Have you seen the movie Vampires Suck, what did you think about it?
TAMI: This question made me laugh. (So thank you for asking.) I saw the previews and they made me want to see the movie, but everyone I knew who saw it at the theater said the movie is what sucked. All the funny parts were reportedly in the commercials. I attempted to download it from Netflix, but there's no instant download and with the movie had such low ratings I really didn't want to purchase the DVD or wait for it to be mailed to me.
NATASHA: What was your favorite book as a child?
TAMI: I went to a very restrictive Christian school and my access to books was very limited. So when I found "Hansi: The Girl Who Loved The Swastika" on the school's library shelves, it really stood out among the others. It wasn't the comic book version, but a regular text-heavy paperback. It was supposed to be a Christian story, but the book presented a personal view of all the violence surrounding World War II (with vivid rape scenes, where German soldiers violated women who were forced to work and sleep in internment camps). All of the other reading I did as a child was limited to light-hearted books like the Laurel Ingalls Wilder's "Little House Series." I am also glad to see my great nieces are now reading Beverly Cleary's "Ramona" (novel series) because I loved those books while I was in grade school as well.
NATASHA: What do you think of the vampire religion? Have you ever met a vampire?
TAMI: Spirituality is such a deeply personal thing, and yes, I have met individuals who practice the vampire religion. Before I say anything more, I need to clarify that I have eaten German sausage (aka "blood sausage") before, so I am definitely not someone who should be pointing fingers at people who consume blood for religious purposes. Christians drink blood, symbolically, during communion and most vampires use safe practices during ritual and many drink artificial blood as well.
I think it's healthy when someone finds his or her niche-community and feels kinship and support; a sense of tribe. I've never seen any human-vampire masquerading outside of their religious circle in a pompous or threatening manner (not like plenty of other religions do). So, from what I've seen, I think the vampire religion is probably a good thing, providing the members continue to use common sense and healthy practices and work together to do charitable acts for the rest of their community.
NATASHA: How can your readers contact you?
TAMI: Thank you for asking this question. Readers who want to follow me during the author tour can click here: SunTigerMOJO.com. Otherwise, they can search the Internet for "Vamchoir" (Ravena's virtual name).
NATASHA: Who is your favorite on screen vampire?
TAMI: Stuart Townsend, when he played Vampire Lestat (Anne Rice's creation) in "Queen of the Damned" was just (*gasps*) okay! So he's very hot in that role, where he played a rebellious and brooding rock star. Gary Oldman also did a superb rendition of "Dracula" in the film based off of Bram Stoker's novel. His character really made me just want to hug him, protect him, and make him feel "all better."
NATASHA: Last question, can you offer any advice for aspiring writers in the vampire genre?
TAMI: I consider myself an aspiring writer in the vampire genre. So, while I admit I don't have a lot of wisdom or experience to offer from a book publishing point of view, I would think, that while the vampire genre keeps changing (for example: in the old days vampires were always hideous-looking, and you could become one simply by eating meat from a sheep that was killed by a wolf, and vampires back then massacred whole villages in one swoop) the things that are most compelling about vampires, from way back when, are still fascinating today.
There must be some element of danger, in any vampire story, for it to be very interesting. At least, that's what I see, as a consumer of vampire movies and books. Soon as a writer takes away the vampire's predatory nature and removes his fangs - he's no longer exotic, or connected to the dark origins of VAMPYRE. He's more like a faerie then.
Thank you, again, Natasha for hosting today's interview! I look forward to the day when you release Darwin's Children. Maybe I'll get to interview you on my blog, VampireReview.blogspot.com, when your book is published!
Posted by Vamchoir at 10:45 AM