An Interview with Tasha Alexander (part 3)

The conclusion to my Interview with mystery writer, Tasha Alexander

Tasha Alexander, best sellers, mysteries,
Tasha and husband, author, Andrew Grant

Q. and the all important: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like?

A. The first part of “no book” land is a barren, hideous wasteland. You’re sure you’ll never have a book-worthy idea again. You’re sure you should have gone to law school. You wonder if it’s too late. Then, as you’re reading, doing research, a little idea comes to you and you start developing it, researching it, playing with it. Pretty soon it coalesces and then you enter into the everything-is-possible-and-beautiful stage. A stage that never lasts long enough. In this stage, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the book. It can be the best thing you’ve ever written. It has no flaws. It will change your life.

All this is possible, of course, because you have not yet written a single word. Once you start writing, the book immediately loses all its shiny goodness. Instead of the theoretical perfection it was in your head, it becomes what every writer recognizes—a first draft. From there comes revision (my favorite part), and finally, completion. I generally have my agent read before I turn in manuscripts to my editor, primarily because Anne has a fantastic editorial brain. After my editor reads, I revise, and then the book starts to take on a life of its own. It goes into production, where it is copyedited, typeset, and proofread. It gets a cover and jacket copy, a marketing plan, and advanced reading copies. When eventually, it is released, I will have finished writing another entire book that will leave my hands in time for me to go on tour. And it all starts again.

Tea at Harewood House, England.  Research trip for "Behind the Shattered Glass"
Tea at Harewood House, England. Research trip for “Behind the Shattered Glass”

Q. Where/when do you first discover your characters ? 

A. Emily, my protagonist, popped into my head entirely on her own. Out of the blue, I had an image of a young Victorian woman standing on the cliff path on the Greek island of Santorini. By asking myself questions about her (e.g., how on earth could a young Victorian woman find herself there?), I got to know her extremely well. Sometimes I’m motivated by real people of the era—Walburga, Lady Paget, for example, or the Impressionist painters. More often than not, however, characters come to me when I’m thinking about the time and place I’m planning to set a book.

Q. What inspired your story/stories ? 

A. Every single book I’ve read has inspired me in one way or another. Reading is a great motivator for writing, because there is a way in which writing is the ultimate form of reading. It’s the one time you can be guaranteed a novel turns out exactly the way you’d like it to. Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody series had an enormous impact on me. I would like to think Amelia wouldn’t totally disapprove of Emily—although Emily is not quite so radical as Amelia. Give her time, though. She’s still young.

Q. Have you? Or do you want to write in another genre`? 

Tasha Alexander, best sellers, Interview
High Tea at Harewood House

A. I haven’t written in another genre, although I did do one book, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, in a different time period. Every once in a while I flirt with the idea of writing something contemporary, but that is primarily on days when I am frustrated by the restrictions necessary to doing accurate historical fiction. At those times, I think it would be so, so lovely to be able to use any word in the language without having to consult the OED to make sure it was in use at the time the book is set. That said, I have always been passionate about historical fiction. It has always been my favorite thing to read, and I’m not sure I could ever abandon it.
COMING SOON!  October 15th ** The release of her new book, “Behind the Shattered Glass
     A series recommended by this blogger  **  Read my Review  click here

DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   “The Writer’s Corner”

I have had a wonderful response from other authors and will feature an interview with one once a month . These authors have already responded and you can read their interviews by clicking on their name: Ann Purser, Susan Elia MacNeal,  Karen Robards, Mark Childress, Rhys Bowen, Dean Koontz, Tasha Alexander, Patrick Taylor, Sheryl Woods, Jo-Ann Mapson, Jeffrey Deaver, Cathy Lamb, Elizabeth Gilbert, Amber Winckler, Raymond Benson, Andrew Grant, Heidi Jon Schmidt, Robert McCammon, Sue Grafton, Walter Mosley, Nora Roberts, and many others.

So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  September will feature Tasha Alexander. Jeffrey Deaver is October’s author and Patrick Taylor will join us in November.  Slick mystery writer, Andrew Grant will join us this winter. Loretta Chase will be featured later this year. Raymond Benson is my January author.

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