When did you first start writing?
I'm not sure when I wrote my first piece of original fiction. But, I'm certain did it out of boredom.
You see, I have this tendency to take on really, really boring day-jobs that only require about a tenth of my actual brain power to do. I know that I started writing my "trunk" novel (a practice novel that, while I love it, should rightfully never see the light of day) when I was working the Publicity department as a temporary, full-time employee of Pillsbury. I filed paper. I answered phones. They didn't even give me a computer terminal, just a desk and a typewriter and the occassional file that needed filing. At first, I typed a lot of letters to my friends who had moved away. Then, I started making up weird limmericks and crazy children short stories with titles like "Alfred the Slug." Then, suddenly, I was eighty pages into a really weird fantasy novel.
At this point, someone probably should have discouraged me. Or, I should have gotten a better job.
But, no. I went home to my Apple IIe and kept typing away. Pretty soon, I had a couple hundred pages. Then, several boring, dead-end jobs later, I showed a bit of the novel to someone who wasn't related to me. Granted, she was still a friend, but she was really very encouraging, and told me that I should, you know, finish it and try to get it published. Well, I didn't do anything about it, because I hadn't a clue how a person went about doing any of that stuff. I just keep twiddling away at it whenever I was bored out of my skull, which, frankly, happened pretty often at my job.
Then, I noticed a class in writing science fiction and fantasy at the Loft. I remember it was taught by John Hartnett, who, I'm convinced, is a space alien. According to the very exhaustive Locus List, he's published, maybe, three stories in his entire life. But HE WAS THE WORLD'S BEST TEACHER. I kid you not. If I could find this guy, I'd like to credit him for really putting me on the path to publication. But, he, like, totally disappeared. I'm telling ya: Space Aliens. Crop Circles. John Hartnett.
At any rate, John also taught me everything I know about critiquing fiction. He encouraged those of us in his class to start a writers group, which we did. Harry LeBlanc (writing name "H. Couregges LeBlanc" and I formed Wyrdsmiths, which will be celebrating 12 years together as of September 20, 2005.
Being in a critique group made me a professional writer. For one, I learned the discpline of deadline. Wyrdsmiths requires its members to turn in some insanely small amount of writing every month, but, when you're used to writing when you're bored... well, I suddenly learned to write every day, at least a little, so I could have something to turn in to group--which I really dug, I mean talk about a cure for boredom...Ain't nothin' cooler than hanging with a bunch of hipster skiffy writers at a coffeeshop every other Thursday night when you're a geek grrl like me.
But, seriously, Wyrdsmiths also provided me with marketing information. Together, we suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in the form of "alases" from GVG and Gardner Dozois. Eventually, I had a finished novel, which I started marketing the usual way. I found an agent. I joined the local Romance Writers of America chapter Midwest Fiction Writers, which was also an invaluable source of information about how to write and how to sell what you write.
I began to sell some short stories. Well, "sell" isn't exactly true. My first "sales" were really acceptances, which is to say that I did not get paid. The magazines were also the sort that were mimographed in someone's basement (or photocopied at Kinko's) and I usually recieved a couple of author's copies as payment if I was lucky. As one of those portent/prescience moments, the first places my writing appeared in print were vampire 'zines. As time allows, I may provide a link to these. Some of them are quite dreadful. Speaking of crappy fiction by me, I was also a member of a listserv (back before it was spelled with the "e" at the end) called VAMPYRE-L, where I wrote and shared a lot of fiction, which we called "fluff." And, since I know you'll go looking for it, the embarassment lives here, at RedOak.
Eventually, I sold a short story to a real, professional paying market-- a vampire magazine called Dreams of Decadence. Then, years later, my agent sold my novel.
The rest, as they say, is history.
I heard a rumor that Tate Hallaway is a psuedonym. Is that true?
Nasty people besmirching my character!
Of course it's true.
So... what *is* your real name?
It's not hard to find out. Do a little detective work. Then, if you think you know, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll let you know if you got it right (and maybe you'll win a prize!).
Why the secrecy?
I'm running away from my past. Duh.
I read your bio at the Vampire Vixens site. You say you're a Witch. Is that true?
It is. I'm a solitary, eclectic Wiccan, if you know what that means. Unlike my character Garnet, I hold no degrees in any specific tradition and I've never been involved with a coven of any sort -- well, once, I joined a local RCG (Reformed Covenent of the Goddess) group and... uh, well, my outspoken personality was not what you would call a "good match." So, I was asked to leave. Thus, if you're looking for good pagan contacts, I'm not your woman. I practice my magic at home, by myself. I learned all my practices from the various books out on the market.
If you're a Wiccan wondering why I got it all wrong in my book, there's your answer.
Do you believe magic works?
I do, though not the way I write about it. The bonus of fiction is that you can make things work out better than they often do in real life.
There's one scene in TD&D that is written not unlike magic has worked for me. That's the scene where the Vatican agents have William cornered in the storeroom and Garnet basically prays for a solution. One of the agents' cell phone rings. They all have to leave immediately. William, consequently, is saved. I've had things like that happen -- sometimes even that immediately. Okay, once.
Most of the time I believe that for magic to work you have to put into the universe what you want to get out of it. This is more often than not a long term investment. But, I do believe it works.
What about all this astrology stuff? You don't really think people's lives are determined by the stars, do you?
Determined, no. But, you know, even extreme skeptic Carl Sagan talked about how humans are made, in essence, of star stuff. I think of my astrology hobby as a holistic, humanistic approach to life.
Plus, it's fun.
Still not satisfied?
[New August 2010] I was on TV talking about my books! You can watch the segment in the archives of KARE-11's "Showcase Minnesota"
[New August 2010] A very nice article about my newest release and my life appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Check out "St. Paul author introduces her new series about a vampire princess."
My alter-ego and I did another podcast. This time for "Vampires, Witches and Geeks" with Morven Westfield, and you can here it here: Interview with Author Tate Hallaway
My alter-ego and I did a podcast for Adventures in SF Publishing with Shawn Ferrell that is available at http://adventuresinscifipublishing.blogspot.com/2007/07/aisfp-26-tate-hallaway-and-lou-anders.html.
A long, detailed interview about me by Lynne Jamneck appeared in the 24 July 2006 issue of Strange Horizons.
A very brief interview with me appeared on the Oshkosh Word Nerd blog: http://bkwriter.blogspot.com/2006/06/author-answers-with-tate-hallaway.html.
John Scalzi did a Wednesday interview with me on his By The Way site, which you can read here: http://journals.aol.com/johnmscalzi/bytheway.
A very detailed article by Mary Anne Grossmann appeared in the Pioneer Press about the appeal of vampire chick-lit and writing under a psuedonym. http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/entertainment/books/