Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island. She is married, has four great kids, two spoiled cats, and lovable lab mix. Her degree is in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and she taught Latin for years at an independent Waldorf school, where she now serves on the Board of Trustees. Tabitha’s debut novel, Horizon, won the Writer’s Digest Grand Prize for Self-Published Fiction in 2016, and was named finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and National Indie Excellence Awards. Infinity, the second book in the Horizon series, will be released in June 2017. Her short story “Homecoming” appears in the anthology Sirens, edited by Rhonda Parrish and published by World Weaver Press, and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is also a senior editor for www.BookClubBabble.com. Visit her blog at www.tabithalordauthor.com where she discusses favorite topics including parenting, teaching, and her writing journey.
Read her interview below:
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I loved to write stories as a child. In fact, when I was sorting through some of my grandma’s things after she passed, I came across a whole collection of poetry and stories I’d written. It was very sweet.
In my work life I’d written some ad copy, blog posts, and done some editing for school publications, but I had very little time or energy for creative writing. When the dynamics of my family shifted, as my children got older, I began to consider changing careers. While I pondered what was next for me professionally, I took on a yearlong writing project at work thinking it would give me the change of pace I needed. Turns out it was one of the most satisfying things I’d ever done in my career. Since I was in the habit of writing every day for work, I challenged myself to write creatively every day as well. Lo and behold, when the report was finished a year later, so was my first manuscript. I’ve been writing full time now for three years.
What is your most recent project?
I just released the second book in the HORIZON series, titled INFINTY, in June, and I’ll begin work on the third book this fall. In the meantime, I’ll have some new short fiction out with different publishers. The one I’m working on now is actually a horror story, something I’ve never done before but I’m enjoying quite a lot!
Who is your favorite author and why?
Wow. This is a tough one. I love genre fiction and my shelves are filled with everything from horror, to military thrillers, to historical romance. I also appreciate good literary fiction with characters I remember long after I turn the last page. I just enjoy a good story, no matter the genre or style!
Some of my all-time favorites include The Stand by Stephen King. To me this is the ultimate apocalypse story, full of disquieting horror. Harry Potter is at the top of the list. Such incredible world building and rich characters! Outlander is fabulous. Diana Gabaldon’s dialogue is so beautiful, and the relationship between Jamie and Claire is so complex and lovely. Recently I read, and loved, The Goldfinch. Literary fiction at its best! The Snow Child also really stayed with me after I finished reading. As I write this, I am staring at my library shelves and thinking, how can I leave off Barbara Kingsolver or Isabel Allende! Or my favorite Steinbeck novel East of Eden! I learn something different from each of these writers, but mostly I’m just incredibly grateful for the pleasure of reading their work. If someone asks me this question next week, I’ll probably have an entirely different list!
What advice can you give to other authors or writers?
Well first, finish something. A bad draft is better than no draft. Second, keep writing even when you feel stuck. Good habits will help you work through the blocks. But if I had to pick the most important thing for new writers it would be this: a first draft is nowhere near the finished product. This was shocking to me as a first time novelist - although it shouldn’t have been! I knew edits were going to happen, but I had no idea how much work they would be. If I had to estimate, I would say that writing the first draft was only about one-third of the work. Editing and working through the business side of publishing made up the other two-thirds. What's fun though, or at least what's satisfying about the post first-draft phase, is transforming the story from a rambling, exhaustive, stream of consciousness manuscript, to a work that has structure, flow, and even some artistry. I’ve learned so much about the craft of writing through editing.
Where can readers go to find out more about your work?
Readers can visit my website at www.tabithalordauthor.com. They’ll find links to all my social media on the site.