T.K. Hatfield is a senior officer in the US Coast Guard and a national technical expert in its marine safety program. She joined in 1987, and after one enlisted tour, she spent the next few years working in the real estate industry. In 1998 she joined the Coast Guard Reserves, and in August 2001 she received a Reserve Officer Commission. When the attacks of 9/11 occurred, she was recalled to active duty, and her work since then has encompassed port security, planning, marine inspections, and investigations. She is a graduate of the University of West Florida with a degree in environmental studies; the Naval War College; and is currently working on her master’s thesis in environmental planning and management. Born in Homestead, Florida, she is currently stationed in Louisiana, and she and her husband divide their time between there and Florida. They have five children between them, and have four adopted dogs of various sizes and shapes. Tumbling in the Downdrift is her debut novel.
What inspires you to write?
My muse seems to be the beach. For years, before I ever got up the nerve to actually put anything down on paper, I noticed that after a couple of days at the beach my mind would just open up and all of these ideas would come pouring out. Now that I have completed my first novel, I have learned to let that happen and just keep something close by to write with!
Tell us about your writing process.
I don’t know that I have a process per se, as I am still on active duty and my time for writing is always dependent on my work load. What I have noticed is that once I allow the story to get started, it seems to come faster and faster as I go. I will often wake up in the morning with a scene in my head that I have to run and get down on paper before I forget about it! Sometimes it isn’t a whole scene, but a vision for the way a scene should go, or a piece of dialogue. And oddly, sometimes those scenes or visions are not even for the book I am currently writing, so I actually have pieces and parts of several. I don’t really outline, but I will use a whiteboard to work out my timeline of events, which is critical when writing mysteries.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I actually become my protagonist in my mind. I can visualize what she is seeing, think about what she is going to do next or how she is going to respond to a question or a situation. The only drawback to this I have found is that I actually write in third person, so I have to be on the lookout for “I” and “my” where it should be “she” and “her”.
What advice would you give other writers?
You have to find what works for you, and that may take trying a few different methods, such as the whiteboard outline, or index cards, or just free-flow writing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
Self-publishing has come such a long way in recent years, and with all of the social media outlets so easily accessible, I decided to try self-publishing. The beauty of it is that I have been in complete control of the entire process from start to finish. There was no pressure from anyone to finish by a certain time, or to change something a certain way. I did receive some excellent editing assistance from two different sources, and I could pick and choose which ideas I wanted to use and those I didn’t.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I believe more and more people will lean toward self-publishing, and the traditional publishing houses will need to make changes in the way they do business in order to stay in business.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Mystery, Beach Mystery
What formats are your books in?
Both eBook and Print
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