Welcome to our stop on the Troll or Derby Blog Tour for author Red Tash. The blog tour is hosted by The Readiacs. The tour schedule can be seen HERE.
Red Tash Interview
I have always loved fairies! I did play roller derby, as well. The idea for a book about trolls and fairies was starting to get spicy when I added the drug-addicted fairy idea and the rock & roll troll, but once I joined a roller derby team in real life, I realized my main character was going to end up on a team, too. So what if she was a teenager and too young to technically join a team? This was fiction! Originally I had written her into a youth shelter situation, but the roller derby team provided a better setting.
The biggest part of my stories that is based on reality is that they're set in Indiana. Troll Or Derby and This Brilliant Darkness are both set in parts of Indiana where I have lived. Troll Or Derby, in particular, works with the reality of how much teens trapped in rural America grow to dread their hometowns. Everyone talks about escaping. We all make fun of our small town lives, but at the same time we don't realize how much we love them, and even love to hate them, until we're grown and gone. I don't think you have to be from Indiana to relate to that!
OUaT: What do you see as the influences on your writing?
I was a journalist for many years, so I came to look at writing as purely telling the facts. How do I get you from point A to point B with expediency and urgency, so that the story unfolds for you. It's not about me and my witty turn of phrase. I would rather the reader think of the characters are funny or smart or romantic or silly than think of me that way. To me, these characters are real. It's much like doing an interview, or writing a newspaper story, it's just a lot longer. AND, it's totally made up. ;)
Juggling the writing time with my family obligations is by far the biggest challenge right now. I have four kids and I home school them, so it's tough.
I'm still not a big fan of them. In my career as a writer, I suspect I've had less of them than most. My work is almost always accepted right away without exception, but on those rare occasions when someone does pass on my work, I understand that it's a matter of taste. Once I had someone try and tell me I had no idea what good writing was. I checked his credentials and he had very little. It's fine for writers or editors or agents or contest judges to tell themselves they're experts on writing—but given that the mechanics are there, it all comes down to taste, in the end. There's no accounting for it!
So, yeah. I pout, then I read my five star reviews. And I send gifts to my fans thanking them for being there for me!
OUaT: What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
It's really got to come from the heart. You've got to drop into the character and really put yourself into his/her shoes. I've found that the books that don't work for me spend too much time describing the scenery or the furniture or the clothes. Sometimes, all the characters sound just like the author's voice on her blog. That's not what I want. I want to meet someone new, take a new adventure, learn something, see life in a different way.
Editors can help you proof, give you advice, point out plot holes, but they can't do the storytelling for you. Only someone with a true desire to tell a gripping story and take a reader on a trip can and will do that. So many people want to write a book, but it's like they forget what they like about books in the first place.
Be daring, writers! Readers love that! There will always be someone who doesn't like your book—don't listen to them. Look for those who love your stories and keep making your work better and better for those people. They're the only ones who count.
Every project is different. So far each book has taken me a few years to complete! The longest was seven for This Brilliant Darkness. It only took four from start-to-finish of Troll Or Derby. That's including editing and proofing and all that jazz.
OUaT: What would you say in your interesting writing quirk?
People often call my work “quirky” in a positive way, but I couldn't begin to tell you why! I think every one's a different, so every one's work should sound different. Maybe mine's a little more different than most, I don't know. I read a lot and often feel like characters don't give enough from the get-go when I'm reading. So maybe my quirk is that my characters are very present and giving themselves to you from the very start of each book. Is that a quirk? Not being boring? LOL. Sounds like I'm bragging now, so I better stop!
OUaT: What do you think makes a good story?
High drama. Lots of cliffhangers. Someone you love in peril. Fairies, magic, wizards, dragons, oh, you name it. I like to lose myself in a world of surprises and dreams, in a place like Hogwarts, or a reality much like our own with hidden gems of beautiful weirdness sprinkled throughout. Most people, I believe, are more than capable of telling a good story. Writing it well is another matter, entirely!
About 18 books at once. Something I never realized about becoming a novelist is that you meet a lot of other novelists. Now, instead of just waiting for the next JK Rowling or Stephen King or Neil Gaiman novel, I have novels by people I actually like on a personal level that are competing for “next” in my To-Be-Read Queue! It's a bit overwhelming. I'm not sure how book bloggers, agents, and editors deal with it every day!
OUaT: What about the Young Adult genre interests you?
Wow, just so much potential with young protagonists. Kids have more time on their hands than working adults. They're also more trusting, adventurous, they often have never experienced a major wound to their person, so they can be reckless. What writer doesn't love a daredevil to work with? Who would rather read? The adventures of a boring fuddy-duddy accountant, or the tumultuous path of a teenage runaway?
When it comes down to it, I feel like kids and teens deserve great stories as much as adults, and the better stories we write for the under-18 set, the better-read they will be. Not to mention, there is nothing stopping adults from reading YA, either. It's a great genre for all ages, in my opinion.
It really depends on who you are and who you ask. I was cheerleader just so I could have an excuse to yell. I can BE. SO. LOUD. My “yeehaw” is infamous.
The flip side of all that pent-up yelling energy is that I'm actually quite an introvert. I will keep my mouth shut and listen to everyone around me, take a situation in completely before I ever let myself out. When I'm with my friend I can be pretty loud and obnoxious! There are people who swear I'm quiet as a mouse, though.
OUaT: Do you like to sing out loud too?
I LOVE singing in the car! My voice does this funny thing when others are around, though. Actually not funny-funny, just “sounds awful” funny.
OUaT: What’s your favorite word?
Troll or Derby
Author: Red Tash
Reading Level: YA
Released: June 14th 2014
Available: Amazon • Barnes & Noble • IndieBound
Summary: (from goodreads) In Troll Or Derby, fifteen-year-old Roller Deb is singled out by town bullies for both her skates, and for being different. When her popular homecoming queen of a sister is kidnapped by a scuzzy drug dealer, Deb must flee the trailer park in which she's grown up, and rescue her. Along the way, Deb becomes enmeshed in the magical realm of trolls and fairies, and the blood-thirsty version of roller derby at which these beings excel. But spending too much time among the fairies comes with a price. Will Deb choose to save her sister, with the aid of a mysterious troll? Or will she be lost to the lures of roller derby, and the blonde temptress April, forever?
You can download an excerpt of Troll or Derby HERE.