Happy Monday, good people of the blogosphere! Today, I bring you another interview with another of the lovely ladies who's planning to attend UtopYA Con in June of 2014. These authors will be a weekly feature on my blog until the con happens. If you don't have your tickets for the event yet, click the name to be taken to the purchase page. Tania Penn was so much fun to interview! I'm sure you'll love reading this as much as I loved writing it.
Go pour a cup of coffee, strap in, and let’s meet this lovely lady! We’ll wait…
Are you back yet?
How about now?
Awesome! Let’s get going! Ms. Penn will be featured on the blog for the next two weeks; today with her interview and next Monday with a guest post. Without further gabbing…
Jo: Hello, Tania! Welcome to the blog. Good to have you here.
Tania: Great to be here, Jo!
Jo: My readers are probably frothing at the mouth, dying to know what kind of questions I’ll ask you. I love to find that interesting bit of information about the authors visiting my blog that not many people know. Are ya nervous?
Tania: *Chewing fingers and biting off nails* Me, nervous? Naww!!!
Jo: You're so brave. That's an admirable trait. *evil grin* Well then, no fear Tania, let’s jump right in with both feet. Tell me about ninja-training and how many hours a day you spend on it. Does it get in the way of your writing schedule?
Tania: LOL. Well, I was training at a kickboxing studio, and we lovingly refer to ourselves as “ninjas.” Because we kick ass!! I do it for about an hour. I’ve been practicing martial arts and kickboxing, teaching and training, for about 25 years now. It doesn’t get in the way at all, in fact, it’s a great time to think of ideas whilst beating the crap out of a bag!! I love it so much that I’m currently looking/researching/trying to get funding to open my own iLoveKickboxing.com studio, which is a franchise here in So. Cal.
Jo: That sounds like an awesome venture! Good luck. I hope it all lines up for you. Now (loaded question time), tell me about your favorite book (not written by you) and why you love it.
Tania: Hmm…tough one!! I just finished reading City of Bones and I must say, the movie did not do the book justice at all. Cassandra Clare writes so descriptively, I could see the story in my mind. It inspired me to revisit The Morning Star and beef up a few things. :)
Jo: I don't do a lot of rewriting after the final book goes out. Not sure why but there's a point where I have to let it go or I'd go crazy. I noticed you’re on Twitter and Google+, but you aren’t super active on either one. Do you have a plan to change that or are they the “back burner” social media platforms for you? Why?
Tania: Well, when I was abducted by aliens, they didn’t allow me access to a computer… Kidding! I had some personal and health issues go on the past few months, as well as having to move from Washington back down to California. So, sadly, I haven’t been as active. As soon as we arrived in California, it was unpacking boxes, getting my son acclimated and ready for a new neighborhood and school, and just trying to get back into the swing of things with writing, which has been difficult, I’ll admit! I haven’t been as active yet, because I feel I don’t have much to offer or say, even though I know I should continue to make a presence regardless. I need to work on that!
Jo: Yeah, well, we all have things that happen in our lives. It's good to hear you're still trudging along though! Tell me about Penn Pal Productions. How did you come up with the idea? Please tell my readers what it is you do.
Tania: Well, I discovered I had a knack for making book trailers and covers, so I made a few free ones for some author friends to get my portfolio built up. Then I had the bright idea that I could make some money doing this. I researched what other companies charged, and thought I would go a little bit under with my prices. I made my website and thought that magically the requests would just roll in – umm, not quite what happened. (hint, hint!)
Jo: It does take a lot of work to get a business name out there. I'm sure things will pick up! I see you live in Seattle! What a great city. I visited there earlier this year and got the worst cold of my life (I think it was from lack of sunshine lol). What’s your favorite and least favorite part about living in Seattle?
Tania: Up until August 1st, I did live there *sniffle*. Yes, it’s an amazing city (Go 12th man!!). So much culture, nature and beauty. We still own our home up there, and I have a brother that lives up that way, so I will still visit from time to time. I love how close it is to so many wonderful things – Vancouver, Mt. Rainier, the Olympic mountains, Portland, etc. It was fun getting up and going on daytrips to those places. In the 5 years I lived there, there was so much to see and explore. My least favorite thing? Whoever designed the city wasn’t very bright when it came to putting in SB 5fwy onramps! That was always a pain in my keester, trying to find a way to get back on the freeway!
Jo: I have to give the city that much; terrible roads. A driver's nightmare! Ha! I read that your husband worked on the movie Turbo. That’s awesome. What is it he does and is he a huge supporter of your writing?
Tania: He’s been with Dreamworks Animation since 1996. He Art Directed Shrek 4, and while finishing that film, we moved up to Washington, where he was able to work from home. He worked on Turbo from his home office the past 4 years, doing Visual Development. But then, the studio wanted him back and offered him a promotion as Production Designer – having his own film, how could he turn that down? So upward and southward we went, back down to Los Angeles. He supports my writing, but he’s a busy man and doesn’t have much time for reading!
Jo: I understand that. My man is busy, too, and rarely has time to sit and read. You recently signed with Tiger Dynasty Publishing. How did you submit to them and have you read the information here? What are your expectations with them?
Tania: I’m very excited to be a part of the Tiger Dynasty family!! They are a new company run by authors Megan Parker and the Literary Dark Emperor himself, Nathan Squires. I feel that great things are going to come our way – the company as well as all of the authors. It’s exciting to be a part of something new and fresh, and up and coming. I was submitting The Morning Star to various agents and publishing companies, and they loved it! I feel like we are all simpatico, they get me lol. I can’t wait to meet them in person!
Jo: That's great! I hope it works out for you. Keep us posted, okay? Tell me a little about the Cincy Author Event and give folks some dates in case they want to come meet you.
Tania: As far as I know, the details are still being ironed out! I’m very excited about it though, especially to meet all the wonderful authors I’ve met on Facebook!
Jo: I love meeting other authors. They totally "get it." Tell me about your first two-star review. How did it make you feel?
Tania: Like I wanted to bury my head, all the ideas contained within my mind, and my book in the sand! I felt just awful! I thought, “I’m a crappy writer, why am I doing this?” Of course you want everyone to like something that you created, gave literary birth to. But then you realize that you can’t please everyone, we all have different tastes, likes and dislikes. So now, I don’t let it deter me. I love to write. Period! If you love it, it’s all you can do, right? If it’s a constructive critique of the book, that’s great, I can learn and grow from it, and hopefully improve with my next story. If it’s just some keyboard jockey knucklehead hiding behind the comfort of their computer screen to be a bully because they can, best to ignore it.
Jo: I agree. Bad reviews can hurt; but they can help, too. What’s your favorite genre of movie?
Tania: Definitely Action/Adventure and Sci-Fi. My all time favorite movies are Raiders of the Lost Ark, and original Star Wars trilogy (Young Harrison Ford – swoon!). My current favorite that I keep watching with my son is Star Trek Into Darkness – I’ve been a trekkie for years! I’ve never been a chick-flick/romance kind of girl.
Jo: Oh my. I'm a chick-flick/romance kind of girl when it comes to movies. Eek! *grin* How many books would you say you’ve read in your lifetime and what led to your love of reading?
Tania: Oh probably hundreds of them. My dad was a big reader – he had all kinds of factoid type books, encyclopedias of history and anatomy. But he especially loved salacious celebrity biographies! I remember as a young girl, sneaking into his cabinet and reading those books. Across the street from my elementary school was a small library, and back in my days, the Judy Blume books were all the rage, so I began devouring those, as well as all the V.C. Andrew’s Children in the Attic books. From there, my childhood best friend and I started to write our own stories and swap with each other. That was when I first started to write little novellas, when I was 10 years old. They were horror/mystery and thrillers back then :) I remember the title of the first book I wrote, The Mystery of Mayfield Mansion. I even drew my own cover design, haha!
Jo: I know of another author who loves Judy Blume *grin* and she'll be at UtopYA Con! I've read every V.C. Andrews book out there, I do believe. What a twisted mind she had! Do you use any kind of social media management tool? If yes, which one is your favorite and why?
Tania: Well, I’m semi, kinda, sorta active on Facebook – although I really should be a little more (Hides head under the blanket in shame….)
Jo: You'll figure it out, I'm sure. Check out Hootsuite or Buffer. Your life will never be the same. What’s your favorite alien abduction movie?
Tania: Oh definitely Close Encounters, that’s a classic! Who hasn’t tried to carve out the Devil’s Tower out of mashed potatoes after seeing that?
Jo: I haven't seen that one. I'll have to check it out! Now, tell us why you wrote the featured book for the week, The Morning Star. What spawned the idea?
Tania: I’ve had the idea for The Morning Star since about 2006. I wanted to write a love story that involved Lucifer as a loving father, who had a daughter that fell in love with an angel. But I couldn’t figure out what was his motivation, what would be hers, what would they be doing in our lifetime right now? Then Twilight came out, and I kind of put in the back of my mind. I needed a love triangle, but with who and how? I started to read passages from the bible, and realized that since Lucifer was once the most beautiful angel, there was technically good in him. So I thought, well, what would drive a man insane, but being rejected by the woman he loves? So I decided on a little back story/love triangle between Lucifer, Ramiel and Michaela, a lone female archangel. A fictionalized reason as for why he was banished from Heaven. I was worried that I might offend some really religious people, but so far, it seems to be that I haven’t. I started thinking about Romeo and Juliet, and added the aspect of Dawn falling in love with a boy, except she doesn’t yet realize he is the son of her father’s rival. Add in a little Cinderella element with the wicked stepmother, Lilith, and stepdaughter, Venus, and I had my story! I am now working on book 2 – Equinox with a third in mind, tentatively titled, Ascension. I may also do a novella on Lucifer, Michaela and Ramiel, and go more in depth into their relationship. When I originally self-published it in January of this year, it wasn’t very successful from a monetary point of view, but my ratings and reviews were good. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not a great salesperson/marketer, when it comes to getting my name out there! I just love to write. I really do love this story, and am excited that Tiger Dynasty Publishing is going to re-release it (and I’ve added about 10k new words to it), November 19th. My birthday, what a great present! I also can’t wait for readers to read book 2!
Jo: That’s all the time we have for today. Thanks for stopping by and visiting with us! Do you have anything to add?
Tania: It’s a cookbook and don’t feed them after midnight – wait did I just age myself with the Twilight Zone and Gremlins reference?
Jo: I look forward to meeting you at UtopYA Con in June!
Tania: Can’t wait!!
Here’s the information for Tania’s featured book of the week:
Title: The Morning Star
Author: Tania Penn
Genre: NA Paranormal
Being the daughter of
Lucifer keeps seventeen year old Dawn Belial busy. For almost her entire
lifetime, she has been trying to think of a way to free her Archangel
mother, Michaela, whom her father has held captive for centuries. She's
also attending high school - balancing trigonometry, history, and
recruiting souls for her father along with her wicked half-sister,
There has been no time for love until she meets mysterious
Gabriel, a British exchange student. As they fall in love against their
will, she discovers a startling secret about him, and a shocking
connection to her mother that changes everything.
You can't get a copy of this book until after it re-releases in November. So add it to your Goodreads shelf and keep an eye out.
Remember, next Monday will be Tania’s guest post, so be sure you come on back for that!
Give this lady a follow on social media!
Facebook: Tania Penn - Author
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Leave Tania some love or ask her your own questions in the comments!
Well, that’s all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!