Tabitha Lord will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
- Woohoo! You are a published author. Describe a strong character trait you possess, good or bad, and how it helped you become a published author.
I’m more than a little obsessive about my work. It’s funny, because when I’m not in the middle of a draft, I love to have a million things going on and I thrive on the variety. But when I’m focusing on a particular project, I shut everything else out and pretty much eat, sleep, and breathe my work in progress. This is both good and bad I think!
2. Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you?
I knew this one was going to be sci-fi! When I started thinking about Horizon, I had two distinct parts of a story floating in my head. The first was the opening crash sequence. It was more basic at the time of its inception – just a young man who crash lands on a planet, and a young woman, in some kind of trouble, who saves his life. The second part was more complex. I was playing with the idea of what would happen if one segment of an already small isolated population evolved differently, either naturally or by design, from the other. What if some had gifts that enabled them to imagine a different kind of future for themselves and their world? What if they were empathic and could sense each other’s emotions and thoughts? What if some of them could heal with their mind? How would the unchanged people feel about their neighbors? It created such an interesting premise I knew I had to find a way to make it into a story. And of course, it couldn’t really be anything but sci-fi!
3. The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter?
I’m a loose outliner or plotter. Generally, I have the concept for the book well worked out before I dive in, but I leave plenty of room for interesting plot twists.
- Fear 101: As writers it is our duty to make our characters face their fears. Have you ever included one of your own fears in a storyline?
I’m not sure my characters face any of my personal fears, but at a writing conference I once attended, the speaker suggested that we artist types, through our work, like to contend with themes that are important to us. This really resonated with me. Some of the questions I need my characters to struggle with include: What decisions do we make large and small that come to define us when it matters? What does a hero look like? Who stands and fights, and who turns away? What is redemption and who finds it? I think about these things in the context of current world events, and I want to encounter these kinds of questions as a reader. I think it makes sense that I would write about them too.
- Fear 102: Yes, deadlines are terrifying. Have you conquered the juggling act between writing and the rest of your life? What do you do when it feels like the balls are dropping all around you?
Absolutely not! I’ll be honest – I struggle to find balance. It feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to write creatively, promote my existing book, network, blog, edit, etc. And there is still a household to run! I have four kids, so a good bit of my world still involves baseball games, piano recitals, concerts, school plays, and feeding the masses.
I handle the madness by being an obsessive-compulsive planner. I have a daily to-do list, a monthly project list, and I live by my calendar. I’m a Board member at the Waldorf School where I used to work and teach, and I’m still on a few committees there, so I plan those things in as well. I try to hit four power yoga classes per week and I hike on Thursday mornings with some friends. I go out of my way to schedule my work around these two things, so I guess I may have found some measure of balance!
When I was working full-time outside my home, I made time to write and I protected that time fiercely. Now, other things weave their way into my day and cut into that valuable time. It requires real discipline, and a detailed calendar, for me to stay productive.
- Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention?
One of the first scenes in Horizon shows Caeli saving Derek’s life with her empathic/telepathic healing powers. I was an EMT for many years, and worked in the ER for several more. I’m actually a medical school dropout, but that’ a story for another day! It was important for me that Derek’s injuries, and Caeli’s approach to healing them, be accurate. BUT, if I had been out there in the middle of the wilderness instead of Caeli, well, that would have been pretty disastrous for Derek! I imbued Caeli with all the magical healing powers I always wished I had.
- Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without.
Right now I’m at the kitchen table. In the winter, sometimes, I’ll grab the beanbag chair from my son’s room and sit in front of the fire to write. And in the spring and summer, I love to drag my computer and notes onto the porch to write outside. I really would suffer greatly without chocolate in any season!
8. Writing inspirations?
Star Wars! I even wrote a blog post about it! I was seven years old when I saw the movie for the first time and it impacted me in countless ways – from my toy collection, to the books I chose to read, to my later love of astronomy. And of course it influenced my decision to begin my writing career with sci-fi. In my opinion, Star Wars is still the most epic space opera ever to grace book or film!
9. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them?
I really don’t have one favorite author. I like different writers for different reasons. But, I’d love to ask the great Stephen King how he could possibly have so many stories floating in his head! He is one of the most prolific writers of our time, and an absolute master storyteller. If someone asked me to write a horror story about a car possessed by an evil spirit, or a rabid dog, or a kitty that comes back from the dead, I’d laugh. But honestly, Pet Cemetery kept me up all night with the lights on! I’m in awe of that. Not necessarily the ability to scare someone, but to be so powerful with your words that you completely immerse them in your world – as unbelievable as that world may be.
- I’ve gone mad – why don’t you come with me? Some people just don’t understand us writers. Name a quirky, writer-thing you do that friends wish you didn’t.
Well, this is more a quirky Tabitha thing because I did it even when I worked in an office. I talk to myself. And sing under my breath. All the time. One of my colleagues used to throw things at me, but most of them ignored me. Now at home nobody pays any attention. My daughter actually said to me, “Mom, writers have to be weird or their writing wouldn’t be interesting.” Thanks, I think!
by Tabitha Lord
GENRE: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Caeli Crys isn’t living—she’s surviving. On the run after the genocide of her empathic people, she witnesses a spaceship crash near her hidden camp. When she feels the injured pilot suffering from miles away, she can’t help but risk discovery to save his life.
Commander Derek Markham awakens stranded on an uncharted planet. His co-pilot is dead, his ship is in ruins, and he’s only alive because a beautiful young woman is healing him with her mind.
As Derek recovers, Caeli shares the horror of her past and her fear for the future. When Derek’s command ship, Horizon, sends rescue, Derek convinces Caeli to leave with him. But his world is as treacherous as hers—full of spies, interplanetary terrorist plots, and political intrigue. Soon the Horizon team is racing to defend an outlying planet from a deadly enemy, and Caeli’s unique skills may just give them the edge they need to save it.
“Caeli, is everything okay?” he asked while they sat by the fire and she prepared their food.
She didn’t look at him but nodded. “It was a small group of Amathi soldiers. They were on the other side of the river coming through a pass, but heading in the opposite direction.”
“Do you think they might be looking for my ship?” Derek asked, a knot of dread forming.
“It’s possible,” Caeli acknowledged hesitantly.
“Shit,” he cursed under his breath.
“Or they could just be looking for ore deposits. Anyway, it would take some effort for them to get to this side of the river. It’s why I chose to make camp here. We’re okay. At least for a while.”
I don’t want to run anymore. Caeli didn’t speak out loud, but Derek heard her as clearly as if she did. Her face held a haunted look he hadn’t seen before, and despite her reassuring words, he knew she was more worried than she was letting on.
She passed him a bowl but didn’t take one for herself. Anxiety poured off her, and he didn’t have to be empathic to feel it.
Carefully, he put his bowl aside and turned to face her. “Caeli, how did you escape from Novalis?”
She looked in his eyes and then dropped her gaze to the ground. “I didn’t.”
Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island, a few towns away from where she grew up. She is married, has four great kids, a spoiled Ragdoll cat, and lovable black lab. The house is noisy and the dinner table full! She holds a degree in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and taught Latin for years at a small, independent Waldorf school. She also worked in the admissions office there before turning her attention to full-time writing.
You can visit her blog at www.tabithalordauthor.com where she posts author interviews, hosts guest bloggers, and discusses some favorite topics including parenting and her writing journey. Horizon is her first novel.