I'm quite excited because today I'm posting my first author interview! And not only that, but I also have a guest post written by said guest author!!
HOW AMAZING IS THAT?
So without further adieu, may I present an author interview with E.M. Tippetts, followed by a very funny guest post!
1. Hey Emily! Thanks for doing this little interview of mine—my first author interview, actually. *high five* First up, can you please tell me a bit about yourself?
Very cool that I get to be the first! I hope I don't scare you away from having many, many more author interviews ;-) My name's Emily Mah Tippetts - though to be honest, I never go by all three names except to explain where my two pen names come from. I write science fiction and fantasy as Emily Mah, which was my maiden name, and then I write romance of several flavors as E.M. Tippetts. Writing has always been my dream job, but to pay the bills I went to law school and practiced law for six years, over the course of which I was very active in the writing community. In that way, I ended up with a lot of writer clients, and came to specialize in literary estate planning, meaning I drafted wills and trusts for authors that dealt with their copyrights.
I spent a decade going the traditional publishing route as Emily Mah, since I always thought I'd be a science fiction and fantasy writer, but I created E.M. Tippetts to experiment, first with selling a novel to a small press and then self publishing. Much to my surprise, E.M. Tippetts is the money maker, and the name I devote most of my writing time to.
2. NOBODY’S DAMSEL is a sequel to SOMEONE ELSE’S FAIRYTALE. Did you always know that there would be more in store for Chloe and Jason?
Not at all, which made NOBODY'S DAMSEL difficult to write for structural reasons. I wrote SOMEONE ELSE'S FAIRYTALE for fun, while pregnant and unable to sleep, and while I really loved Jason and Chloe, I told the story I wanted to tell about a down to earth woman accidentally landing the attention of a superstar. That isn't to say those two won't still have great, romantic moments, but one of the most important romantic choices any couple can make is behind them at the end of that novel.
But then FAIRYTALE took off, sales-wise, climbing up the ranks on Amazon.com, and I knew I had something I needed to follow up with. There were a few options. I could tell different stories about celebrities attracted to non-celebrities, or I could try to make a series out of FAIRYTALE. I chose the latter because I felt like there are enough falling-in-love stories out there and I wanted to try my hand at staying-in-love ones. In order to make a series out of their life together, though, I had to shift the plot structure away from romance, or else I'd end up with a really tedious set of books about a couple having major romantic issues one after another. That's why DAMSEL uses a mystery plotline, and later books will continue to follow Chloe and Jason's jobs, because crime and film are two industries in which it is normal to have crisis after crisis.
3. Putting Chloe in an emotionally charged occupation as a forensic scientist struck me as an unusual and engaging choice. It’s such a contrast from Jason’s acting career and certainly not a job one would think a celebrity’s spouse would choose. Can you describe your thoughts behind that decision?
Well, Jason's a very talented actor with somewhat limited life experience. He had a good childhood with a loving, supportive family, and aside from some wild partying in his late teens, he's pretty sheltered. He never even experimented with drugs. Chloe, on the other hand, drinks life experience through a fire hose. She's experienced and continues to experience things that send the rest of us into therapy, and she's not very good at dealing with emotions, hers or anyones.
Together, they make a good couple because, as is set up in NOBODY'S DAMSEL, Chloe experiences truckloads of raw emotion and Jason is the one able to process it and use it to inform his creative choices. He wouldn't be the actor he is without her, and she wouldn't be able to endure her job as effectively as she does without him.
And this setup also gives me the chance to explore what it is to be a hero. It's too easy to say that the real hero in the couple is Chloe with her lack of fame and recognition. There are a lot of ways to be a hero, and the two of them will take turns throughout the series.
4. And speaking of careers, you also make jewelry. Any plans for having a future character be a jewelry designer? Personally, I find the process fascinating.
Yes, I would like to do that sometime, if for no other reason than the fact that opening a scene with a woman holding a blow torch and tweezers is too good of an image to pass up. I think it'll make most readers pay attention and think, "Wait... what is she doing?"
5. Let’s be honest: lots of people like to hate on Chick Lit (I don’t get it either). What would you say to someone who poo-poos the genre?
Here's something that's always cracked me up. For as long as I've been writing, people have called my work "light" and "cute" and said there's a place for it, but it's not *serious* literature, whereas when I read *serious* literature, I'm often taken aback at how much it goes on and on about negative experiences and rejoices in dysfunction - though I'm generalizing, to be sure. My characters go through tons of awful, horrific experiences, yet because they find a way to deal and to piece together a happy ending, that's "cute" or "light"? I don't think so. People could learn a lot from the genres they dismiss.
But it isn't just chick lit that gets dismissed this way. Science fiction is usually thought of as schlock stories and pulp, and what I learned from the science fiction community is that this is not necessarily a bad thing. Being underestimated lets you fly under the radar. While critics mock us, movie studios spend more money on our genre than any other, use it as their main revenue stream, and by convincing the audience that they're just engaging in a silly fantasy, you can ask questions that a "serious" artist can't. You can call out a society as racist by, say, putting a woman of color on the bridge of a spaceship, or question what we as a society value in our entertainment by telling the story of a man raised inside a television sound stage, so that his life is constantly manipulated for ratings, just to name a few examples.
6. Aside from actually writing the books, what’s your favourite part of the publishing process? (Note: if you say writing synopses, I’m ending this interview right now, haha).
Uh, no. I'm terrible at synopses! I'm really getting into book design and teaching myself typography, which isn't to say I'm good at it, but my goal is to create books that are visually appealing. Some people refer to indie publishing as artisan publishing, and that's exactly how I feel about it. I want to use the control I have over the final product to produce books that are made with an attention to detail that a big publisher can't really afford.
7. A genie pops out of a lamp and grants you one wish. Aside from the ever-popular World Peace, what would you wish for?
To be the best mom possible. That's the most important job I have.
8. Thank you so much for answering my questions. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just a thank you for having me on your site! I appreciate the great questions.
Guest Post - If I Were a Rock Star: My List of Demands
While browsing the site, I ran across the hilarious post about Shawn Desman (though I realize it wasn’t funny at the time). To summarize, he was a small time recording artist brought in to Jennie’s university Student Union, back in the day, to perform some songs. He’d had one moderate success that couldn’t really be called a hit, and unlike all of the other artists who performed at the Student Union, he had a list of demands and an entourage. The list of demands included things like 12 pairs of tube socks, 6 white tank tops, various kinds of alcohol and snacks, and a whole other bunch of randomness that required two tables to lay it all out in the dressing room. Desman, when he showed up, snubbed everyone, went out to eat at an expensive restaurant with his entourage and tried to bill the SU for it, performed two songs of his set, walked off, and left. His crew cleaned out the dressing room, taking all the demanded supplies with them.
So this got me thinking, if I were a minor celebrity with an attitude, what obnoxious list of demands could I come up with? Assume I’m coming to a book signing, and I’m a total self centered jerk. Here’s what I’d want:
- A fountain pen, or a glass nibbed dip pen, because it looks distinguished. Also, if I’m signing autographs all day (which is such a likely occurrence for someone who makes nearly all her income from ebooks) I don’t want to get writer’s cramp. No ballpoint pen for me, and no Sharpie, because everyone uses Sharpies and I want to stand out.
- Visconti Ink. For the fountain pen, I want not just good ink, but ink in a really cool container. Visconti does gorgeous bottles that are stemmed like wineglasses. And none of this plain black or blue stuff. I want burgundy, unless someone thinks it looks like blood, at which point I IMMEDIATELY want the burgundy replaced with peacock blue, and don’t get after me about Visconti not doing peacock blue. This is not my problem.
- Virgil’s Root Beer, for when I get thirsty. I’m LDS (Mormon) so obviously I can’t order alcohol, but that doesn’t mean people should consider me a bargain to supply drinks for. I like root beer, and I want only the good stuff. In my book, that’s Virgil’s. It’s microbrewed and has won a slew of awards.
- Tap water. Okay… that’s what I usually drink. So, yeah, I want some of that too.
- Nylons, 12 pairs in black and wine red, varying shades of opacity. You see, I don’t know the exact crowd I’m signing for, because I have sooo many fans of different backgrounds. For the younger crowd I’ll wear the wine colored, for an older crowd, the black, and if a bunch of socially conservative, I’ll need more opaque nylons because I may or may not have body art on my legs. I’m a huge fan of temporary tattoos, but not everyone thinks it’s a good look.
- Chocolate Chip Cookies with Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips. I think that one speaks for itself.
- A basket of sopapillas, because that’s my cultural background. I grew up in New Mexico, and I need to feel a connection to my homeland. No complaining about how sopapillas require special dough that must be fried exactly right for it to puff out like a pillow. I consider any complaints to be a direct attack on the cultural history of the place my parents moved to from LA when I was one. People have to show some respect, all right?
- Peking Duck. Because my dad really likes that, and he might be the only person at my signing, and I want to make it worth his while. His family is from Shanghai, so this needs to be good quality Peking Duck, because he knows the difference.
- Homemade Lasagna. Because my mom might also be there, and her father’s family immigrated from Italy, so again, quality counts.
- A Big Bucket of Duplo Blocks for my older son. He likes to build things. I also expect someone to watch him for me.
- An iPad Loaded with Children’s Books and Games for my younger son. He’s used an iPad since he was a year old, so don’t try passing off a Nexus or a Kindle Fire or anything like that. He’ll call you on it.
- An Alienware Laptop with Linux Installed for my husband. Do I need to explain why he would want that? I think not. Anyone who doesn’t understand isn’t worthy to know.
All right, looking back over that list, I think I’d make a pretty darn good diva. In reality, though, if I were at a signing, I always bring something for the bookstore employees, like cookies or chocolates. I also set some kind of food item up on the signing table, and then I bring a friend so we can sit and talk and enjoy ourselves without hassling anyone to come buy a book. That’s the closest thing I have to an entourage.
If you haven’t read Jennie’s post on Shawn Desman, please do. It’s hilarious, and it’s awesome of her to share the experience. And awesome of her to let me guest post on her blog and act like a total diva. In reality, I’m not like that, I assure you. I’m a writer, and as one of my good friends once put it, “A writer spends most of their time performing a task called ‘submission’.” It’ll humble even the proudest person, which isn’t a bad thing at all. It teaches us to have gratitude for the readers and bloggers who do give us a platform. So thanks, Jennie, and if I ever do get to meet you in person, I’d be happy to take you out for a Virgil’s Root Beer or some sopapillas.
Bahaha!!! What a seriously a hysterical guest post, no? I legit giggled out loud when E.M. sent it. If you like what you read here, then you should pick up SOMEONE ELSE'S FAIRYTALE, and its sequel NOBODY'S DAMSEL!
Thanks so much to E.M. for stopping by my blog!
And if you're still not sure if you'd like to pick up NOBODY'S DAMSEL, then check back here on Friday for a special treat--an excerpt from the novel!