Author Spotlight – Sidda Lee Tate

1) How long have you been writing for the purpose of publication?
I've always wanted to write for publication, as long as I can remember actually. But four years ago when my husband gave me a laptop for my birthday, I decided to go for it and write a book. It took several tries, but eventually I completed something I thought was worth submitting. After that, I began to look into the publishing process.

2) What's the shortest and/or longest amount of time it's ever taken you to complete a book?
I finished a three hundred page novel in a little under a year. The editing (self-editing) took another three months. It's still not complete, not really. I go back to it once in a while and make changes. The shortest amount of time it took me to write a book is around two months, which was Hijacked, and it comes out in March 2013.

3) What is your writing schedule like?
I work three twelve hour shifts at my full-time job, which ideally would give me four days a week to write but I'm called in a lot and shifts change so, yeah, my writing schedule is pretty sporadic.

4) Is there a certain time of the day that you tend to be more creative?
I am definitely most creative in the mornings, which is strange because I'm not a morning person at all. Especially before my coffee.

5) Where is your favorite place to write?
My living room. On my sofa. I've turned into quite the couch potato.

6) What type of environment do you prefer when you write? (ie complete silence, background music, etc)
I like to be alone with my laptop and my earphones. I can't seem to think without my music. Like right now, I'm listening to Strange Condition by Pete Yorn.

7) Are you plotter or a panser?
Hmm…that's a tough one. I try really hard to be a plotter, but my characters always take their own way. I've discovered I'm merely an outlet for the people in my head to tell their story. Yes, I may be a little crazy. I accept that whole-heartedly. Ha!

8) What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
No matter how hard I try, I can't force a scene. It's either there or it isn't.

9) What is the most difficult or challenging thing for you as a writer?
Editing my own work. I find mistakes in nearly everything else I read, but for some reason, and I guess it's because I've looked at my story a million times and I know how it's supposed to read and/or sound in my head, I just don't see certain things until they are pointed out to me. I love editors.

10) Is there a genre you enjoy reading, but would not write?
Nothing comes to mind. I write what I like to read.

11) Is there a genre you've never written, but you would like to try writing?
Right now, I like where I am. Though one never knows what the future holds.

12) What advice would you give to a new writer?
Quoting the famous Nike slogan, I say, "Just do it." Seriously, if you don't try, it will never happen. Also, push yourself to become better and don't give up. Find a genre that suits your writing style and your comfort level and go for it. Then submit, submit, submit. Before long, you'll find a perfect fit for your work. Take me for example, it took me several years to get published and here I am writing for Beachwalk Press, which in my opinion is one of the greatest publishing companies in the business.

13) What do you think makes a good story?
I enjoy a good love story that takes your breath away. A story that sucks you into the characters lives and is filled with such intensity that you can't help but feel their emotion at the major turning point of their relationship. One that weighs on your mind long after you've read the last page and you have no choice but to go back and read your favorite scenes again and again.

14) Have you ever had writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?
Writer's block is evil. Yes, it happens to me with every story I write. Everything is going well, the story is flowing and then…BAM! The single-minded characters want to do their own thing and I want them to do another. It's a battle of wills really. So, I have to step back for a few days, sometimes weeks until things settle. They always win. Why I don't just go ahead and let them have their way to begin with, I don't know. It would make things much easier on me.

15) Who are some of your favorite authors?
That's an extremely tough question for me. There are so many I love, and from all genres. Romance authors though, there's something about their wild imaginations and their ability to tell stories about love and loss and how to conquer it all that truly hold a special place in my heart.

16) What are you reading at the moment?
There are three. I read like I write…several books at a time. Right now, I'm trying to catch up on my Kindle purchases. Teaching Officer Lonesome by Kaylie Newell, Hollowland by Amanda Hocking, and Making Her Nights by Keri Ford. They're all good.

17) What do you do to relax?
The best way for me to relax is watching movies with my husband and son and a giant bowl of popcorn.

18) What's your favorite way to procrastinate?
Anything really. There is nothing specific. I am the biggest procrastinator ever. Plain and simple.

19) Chocolate or vanilla, coffee or tea, Coke or Pepsi, dogs or cats, sunrises or sunsets?
Chocolate all the way. I survive on coffee. I don't drink sodas. I have four dogs, sizes four pounds to one hundred sixty and no cats aside from the stray that shows up in my yard every once in a while, plus I'm allergic. Sunsets. I like to be asleep for the sunrise.

20) Are you a collector of anything?
This question made me immediately turn to my bookshelf. It's crammed full. The sides may burst at any moment, and there are plenty of books stacked on and around it, so books. I collect books.

21) If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Ah, easy breezy. Mind reading for sure. I love to people watch and knowing what's going through their heads while they do their everyday, mundane things would be pretty fun. Well, most of the time anyway. I wouldn't want to know everything. That seems a tad bit intrusive. And scary.

22) If you could be any animal, what would you be?
I'm not sure, I really like being human.

23) What's your biggest pet peeve?
When people use "seen" incorrectly, such as "I seen that before you did." Oh my Lord, it makes my skin crawl.

24) If you could time travel where would you go and why/what would you do?
Funny. Honestly, I would like to go back and relive the eighties. I know, I know, the music wasn't that great but I like it and the fashion was horrible (I would love to tear through those years with a pair of scissors and cut out all shoulder pads in women's clothing before they hit the shelves), not to mention the hair styles but still, it was a blast. Also, I would take my teenage son with me to prove to him there was actually civilization "way back then" (his words, not mine) even though cell phones were basically non-existent and the ones that you did see were in the movies and the size of large bricks.

25) Give us some links where we can find you, please.
www.siddaleetate.blogspot.com I'm also on twitter: @siddaleewrites and Facebook: Sidda Lee Tate

*Leave a comment on this post to be entered into a drawing to win an eBook copy of The First Night by Sidda Lee Tate. Winner will be chosen on January 18th.*

2 Responses to Author Spotlight – Sidda Lee Tate

  • Your writing schedule must be able to adapt to your life. For instance, when I was an English tutor, I would have a journal with me so that I could write during the 10 min bathroom break I would give my students. Also, if I arrived early to a student’s home, I would write while sitting in my parked car until the time had come to go to work. Writing is also something you can do on those nights when you can’t get a good night’s sleep: instead of being upset that you can’t go to sleep on time, just take out a pad and pencil and write until your writing lulls you to sleep.

  • Susan says:

    Nice interview. I enjoyed reading it.

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