Thursday, August 11, 2011

Author Interview: Tara Woolpy

Publications:
Releasing Gillian's Wolves

Other Links:
Book Review: Releasing Gillian's Wolves
Bats in the Boathouse Press
Giveaway: Releasing Gillian's Wolves (ends 31 Aug 2011)
Hi Tara! I have to say, Releasing Gillian's Wolves actually set my tummy rumbling what with all the descriptions of food. In your book, Gillian spends a significant amount of time detailing gardening and cooking. Is this reflective of your own interests? Any other hobbies in which you indulge?

I do garden, although I’ll admit that Gillian’s giant vegetable garden was pure fantasy. I farm a 10’ x 20’ plot in the local community garden. And I don’t really cook. Survive Anything Brownies is my own recipe but the others come from my terrific chef husband. There doesn’t seem to be much time for hobbies but I do try to stay physically active and we travel as much as possible (although it has been years since I was in London, Amsterdam or Crete, so I was fantasizing there as well).

Seems like a good blend of fantasy and reality. Along those lines, characterization seems to play a huge part in your writing. Do you fashion your characters after real people? How do you go about creating the different personalities?

Thank you, I think having a strong character is integral to good storytelling. My characters are not representations of real people, although some of my own traits bleed through into most of them. I can’t tell you where the characters come from because I don’t know myself. It feels like they appear fully formed in my mind, already chattering away, but I shouldn’t admit that, should I? After all, one isn’t supposed to hear voices.

I'm sure many an author would agree that characters can run away with you. Speaking of other authors, which ones have been most influential in your development as a writer?

I recently heard that we all bring joy into each other’s lives, some when we arrive and some when we go. It’s the same with writers. I’ve always read widely and have learned by example what to embrace and what to avoid. As a young woman I was drawn to lyric prose artists like Virginia Woolf and Joseph Conrad. Lately I find myself captured by a good story told in straightforward prose. Stephen King, Jennifer Crusie and Josh Lanyon come to mind. I also learned a lot about plotting by watching movies. Movies condense the story into simple plot points that you can identify and they teach pacing, which is so important for moving a story along.

Absolutely. Getting back to your story, Gillian focuses a great deal on her experiences as a congressman's wife. Do you have any fun memories from your own mother's campaigning years?

Mom didn’t run for office herself until after I left home. As I was growing up she worked on other people’s campaigns. It was very much a family business. I fondly remember stuffing envelopes with my grandfather and delivering yard signs with my father. When I was in about third grade my mom helped organize a float in the “kiddie’s parade”, a children’s event linked to the 4th of July. I got to dress up as a suffragette and pull younger kids in a wagon as we marched in favor of a school funding referendum. We had a great time.

That definitely sounds like something children would enjoy. What about as a grown-up? What are your favorite summertime activities?

I love being on and in the water, whether it’s doing yoga on a dock or rowing or kayaking or swimming. In fact, as soon as I finish this interview I’m heading for the lake.

That makes me jealous. On that note, if you could be any character from any book for a day, who would it be, and why?

I could be classy and say Elizabeth Bennet or Jane Eyre but really, any romance heroine for one day at the end of her book. Who wouldn’t want to swoon into the arms of a sensitive, handsome, sexy beefcake of a man? Isn’t that why we read them?

Agreed, though I could do without corsets and hoop skirts, I think. They interfere with unladylike endeavors like running.

Well, that wraps up this interview. Thank you so much for participating, and best of luck to you with your book launch.

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