About Tabitha Barret:
Tabitha Barret is a paranormal romance author who lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, and three crazy dogs. She met her husband in Creative Writing classes in college, though it took a little convincing for him to ask her out. In her free time, of which she doesn’t have much, she reads books by other authors she has met, and writes a blog about tips and suggestions for future authors trying to publish their works. She is currently working on her “Third Throne” Series.
What inspires you to write?
The original characters I created years ago for my “Third Throne” series have a tendency to come out and play when my mind isn’t cluttered. All I have to do is think about them and the drama starts to unfold. When that happens, I sit down and try to write what I was thinking about, though as soon as I start typing, other sides of the story emerge. I am constantly surprised by what I write. I may start off with one idea, but then all of a sudden I write something I didn’t expect. When I start typing, my imagination takes over and inspiration spills out in ways that I hadn’t planned. It’s fun to see what twists and turns my mind comes up with.
Tell us about your writing process.
I am writing a twelve part series, so outlines are very important, as well as continuity. I have a basic plot outline for each book and a list of who the main characters and villains are. I have a location and a general idea of what will happen in each book. I keep my character lists in Excel so that I can remember which book a character appears in, is mentioned in, or dies in.
I am a very visual person, so I have “photos” of all my main characters in Powerpoint slides along with their descriptions. The photos are usually celebrities or models that I use for a starting point. I chose a photo that exemplifies the mood of the character. I then create detail bedrooms for the characters since their rooms are their sanctuary away from the craziness of their lives.
I have created general outlines for my characters so that I can understand them better. Ten of my characters are the embodiment of sin or temptation and they are suffering from the temptation they carry. They have back stories that explain how they first dealt with taking on their temptation and how they have changed over the centuries. I know who they get along with and how they get through the day. The more I write for them, the more I understand them and their motivations.
Lesser characters who play important rolls will also have photos, but they may also have ranks. I have large groups that I deal with, so I need to remember which side they are on. I use the Organizational Charts in Powerpoint to remember which Fallen Angel works in which Realm of Torture, which Celestial Warrior outranks another, and in the case of book 3, which undead “zombie” belongs to which gang. I find that using Microsoft OneNote helps when I need to move my characters around a fight sequence so that I know which have died in battle and where they are in relation to the other characters in play.
As far as writing the actual story, I may start with the opening, or I may start in the middle. I rarely have an ending, though I usually know how to introduce the next main character for the next book. Once I’m done with the parts that have come to me while in the car or in the shower, I sit down and write from the beginning and try to incorporate the things I have already written, which isn’t always easy. Sometimes when I feel that the pacing is off, so I will move sections of chapters, or whole chapters around. There always has to be a sense of timing when I’m reading it back to myself. If something feels off, then I might have to remove a section or a paragraph.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Typically, I speak as my characters when I’m brainstorming or writing the story. I think about the character and envision their traits. If they are sassy, my dialog will reflect that. If they are angry, I snarl a lot. Most of my characters are cold and calculating, so I take dramatic pauses when I read my writing. I try to get inside their head and become them briefly. I never talk to them as myself, but I will have whole conversations as two or three different characters at one time. I’m sure if anyone saw me doing it, they would think that I had lost my mind.
What advice would you give other writers?
Don’t give up! I know that everyone says that, but it’s true. I came up with the idea for “The Third Throne: Angel of Darkness” decades ago. In college I tried to write the story, but I had the wrong genre. I wrote it as a fantasy with strange creatures. It failed when my imagination couldn’t keep up. I tried again a few years later, but still couldn’t get past the first few chapters. Finally, many years later I discovered Paranormal Romance and it finally clicked that I needed to new genre. Once I placed my characters into this kind of environment, they wrote themselves. If it’s your dream to write a book, then do it. If you have the idea, but not the writing technique, then develop it with short stories and writing prompts until you get the hang of storytelling. Take a creative writing class to learn about character point of views and character development. It’s rare that a person sits down and writes a novel having never written any kind of story before. Everyone starts somewhere and learns as they go.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I chose to self-publish because I know the competition is stiff in the publishing world. I wanted to try to do it myself and establish myself so that I could, perhaps, submit my books to publishers once I had enough completed books under my belt. It’s more likely that they will notice someone who already has a foundation as a book selling author.
I have written many posts on my blog, “Holy Crap, I Wrote a Book, Now What?”, that have discussed my trials and successes as a self-published author. There are so many things that a self-published author has to do just to publish their book. The list is endless. I have discussed topics ranging from editing, to tackling social media sites, to press releases and, of course, how to publish on different publishing sites. It’s true what they say, you will spend more time promoting than writing. For example, I should be editing right now. 😉
The best advise I can give is do your homework. Loading your book on Kindle is the least of your worries. Learn what is needed to promote your book on different sites, and in different formats. Figure out the steps involved in getting your book seen. You will need reviewers interested in your genre. You will need to make friends with other authors on social media so that you can spread your book promotions. Most of all, you will need a lot of luck and fantastic book.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Publishing is no longer the world of large printing presses and selective publishing houses. Anyone and I mean ANYONE can publish a book. This is both good and bad. It’s great because you no longer have to be rejected by a publishing company to publish a book. The bad thing is that self-published authors have to do EVERYTHING themselves. They don’t have the power of the large companies to promote their book. They also have a bad reputation because of the dime story novels that get published. Not all books should be on the shelves and it gives reviewers and critics a bad perception of a self-published author. I have found that many reviewers won’t even look at your book without a publishing name behind you. It’s frustrating, but there are many reviewers who understand that there are plenty of great self-published books and are happy to promote them. I think this mentality will start to spread as the number of top rated books come from self-published authors.
What do you use?: Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Paranormal Romance
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print