Author Interview Special Edition – Judith Tarr, American Fantasy Writer

Welcome to another Author Interview Special Edition.  This one is to celebrate a new book by Judith Tarr.  It has been four years since Judith’s last novel and much of the world has been anxiously awaiting a new release.  It is also a special book, as it may not have been seen had it not been for a very successful Kickstarter campaign.

In Judith’s words:

Living in Threes, a brand-new YA fantasy/science fiction/historical, is coming from Book View Cafe on November 20th. It’s one of my projects that my agents loved but could not sell. Editors would want to buy it but marketing couldn’t figure out where to put it.

I ran a Kickstarter to finance the revision, which drew a round 256 backers and a lot of enthusiasm. It’s been extensively revised, edited, designed and formatted by the Book View crew, and we’re all excited to see it finally out in the world. Ebook only for now, but print edition eventually, we hope.

I am also celebrating by having one of the legends of fantasy agree to this interview:

What would be the best piece of advice you would offer a new author?

Write what’s in your heart to write. Don’t try to write to market, or let anyone else dictate what you write. Of course you will listen to input at the revision stage, but when you decide on a subject–that should be all you.

Is routine important to you?

I have a horse farm. Horses live and die by routine. So, yes. Sometimes I could do with a little less of it, and run away for a day or two, to reboot the system.

When you are coming up with an idea, do you look at the market for trends?  Or do you write for you?

I used to run ideas by my agent, who looked to the market for trends and told me what he could sell and what wasn’t going to get anywhere. Over time I found myself losing any desire to write, and hating what I wrote.

I had to stop, pull back, and try to reconstruct my old “write it and they will come” philosophy. Now, thanks to the ebook revolution and my membership in Book View Cafe, I can do that–and I’m trying all kinds of things. Some work, some don’t. And I’m getting my mojo back.

Do you see ebooks threatening traditional publishing?

Not at all. I think, over time, they may save it. They’ve come to replace the mass-market paperback, and major publishers are struggling severely to find ways to keep making money in a constantly shifting landscape, but there’s been a boom not just in slushpile-to-ebooks but in smaller publishers and niche imprints. It’s a wonderful time to be an author–though it’s a terrible one to be totally invested in the old hardcover/paperback/agent/publisher model.

What is it about fantasy that appeals to you?

Freedom. Flexibility. Magic and enchantment.

Do you have characters running around your head?  Do they dictate events and their histories to you?

Absolutely. Sometimes at great length and in exacting (and distracting) detail.

Judith can be found here:

Her blog is:

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