Today's TAG features the fantastic T.K. Richardson. She's a fabulous writer and such a sweetie. You can find her on her website, her blog, at the Writers Resource Directory, Twitter, and Goodreads. Her list of books can be found here.
1. When did you start writing?
I started writing several years ago when a story idea and character sparked my imagination. Prior to this I did write poetry and short stories when I was young. I can still recite one of my first poems. (I still think it’s good. J)
2. What made you want to write?
Well, when the idea for the character and the story came to mind and I sat down to write it out, I did so with the thought of my children. I wanted them to have a story written just for them. I wrote the first draft in 6 weeks and was so excited to let them read it.
3. When did you decide you wanted to write to be published? (As opposed to writing just to write)
Well, naturally, I wanted other people to read my story, too, so I decided to learn more about that. What ensued was typical: rewriting, editing, rewriting again, editing 10 more rounds of the manuscript, and finally querying agents. Like I said… typical. But during that time I learned so much about publishing, skilled writing, and I met some other wonderful writers in the process. Even though those years were some of the very hardest, I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I learned so much!
4. What genre(s) do you write?
I mainly write for the young adult audience, but I do have a poetry book aimed at mothers and grandmothers out, too. It’s titled Imagine: Short Stories and Poems.
5. Why that(those) genre(s)?
Well, since I originally started writing for my own children, it just seemed natural to continue writing in this genre. In addition, I feel like a huge part of me never fully grew up. J So writing for the YA audience is what I really enjoy doing.
6. Do you have any particular ritual when you write? (A specific way things are done during the process)
Not really, I just sit down to write when a saying or a scene comes to me. I’d like to be more organized about it, but I feel like if I did try to structure my creative time, I’d lose that creative spark. After all, I can’t turn it on or turn it off at will. And, yes, I’ve tried. It just didn’t work for me.
7. Do you use an outline, or do you just start writing?
No, I’m definitely a ‘panster’ and just write by the seat of my pants. Again, it goes back to that ‘structure’ issue I have.
8. Is there something you MUST have when you're writing? (Aside from the typical writer tools-computer, pen, paper, etc)
Not really. Ideally, I’d like it to be quiet, but that’s a rarity, so I just try to go with it.
9. Do you write out your story on paper and then transfer to a computer, or straight to the computer?
Oh, definitely not on paper first - I go straight to the computer. I did, however, write my cookbook, Simmer: Recipes for the Teen Palate, on paper first, but that was not by choice. My daughter had events every night for quite some time, and I would go over to the nearby McDonalds and write out my recipes, edit the book, etc. So, looking back I think it’s rather funny that a cookbook for teens was actually written at a McDonalds.
10. How many books/short stories have you written? (Published or not, even those you wrote and then thought-what the hell?)
I think it totals around 15. They range from full length novels, novellas, novelettes, a poetry book, an anthology, and several other pieces that have yet to be released.
11. Is there, or has there been, anyone in your life (real or online) who thought you being a writer is/was just another hobby? Or that you are/were wasting your time as a writer?
Yes, of course. Before 2 of my books hit the bestseller’s list, there were some people who called it a hobby. They probably still do. I don’t mind though. I know writing is an art, a creative process, so whether it is a hobby to some people’s definition or not – I avoid labels. I simply write books. Period. No label needed.
12. Do you do Social Media sites? If so, which ones? If not, why don't you?
Yes, I’m on twitter, facebook, a blog, the Writers Resource Directory, Partners In Print, Goodreads, Compass eBooks on Facebook, and a few writers forums. I’d love for more company, so if you want to friend, like, or follow me please do!
13. Any advice for writers that makes you cringe every time you hear it? (I know there is some cringe-worthy advice still worth following, so only advice you don't follow.)
Yes, in fact there is. I know there are many strong opinions on every aspect of publishing. And it just makes me cringe when people make blanket statements that they think should apply to each of us. I feel we each have our own paths in life and in writing/publishing. There is not one size fits all in anything. So I think we all need to follow our hearts, research what’s out there, and be bold – do what’s right for you.
14. Where did you get the idea to write about a girl who has the power to see people’s deepest secrets?
That is such a good question. But the truth is I have no idea. The character just ‘appeared’ one day and the plot followed close behind. The rest is history.
15. Would you want to have that power?
No, if I could have a special power I’d love to be invisible. I know it sounds funny, but think about all you’d be able to do if no one could actually see you! (Yes, I’ve actually thought long and hard about this!)
16. When and why did you get interested in Russian History and Literature?
It was maybe 14 years ago, or more. I was reading tons of history books and I happened to pick up War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy one day while I was at Barnes and Noble. After reading it I was hooked. I do like a variety of other subjects, though. In fact, prior to Russian Lit I really enjoyed learning about Italy, their history, and culture. And even before that it was China. So I guess I’m all over the map in my interests. But my love of Russian lit sparked the idea for my trilogy.
17. What inspired you to get involved with charities and other helpful organizations for children?
Well, my husband and I have always been involved with helping children. We were foster parents for many years and cared for over 100 children. I am the Director for Children’s Ministries at my church, and we have many other organizations we are fond of and help out, too. For us, it just comes naturally. Giving back and helping those who are less fortunate is just how we live.
18. When (and why) did you get the idea for the Writers Resource Directory?
This came about a few years ago. I love staying up to date on everything publishing, writing, and book related and I had tons of bookmarked pages in my browser. In fact, I had bookmarked so many interesting or helpful articles that I could no longer find what I was looking for. So The Writer’s Resource Directory was born. I figured if I had a hard to finding the information I needed or wanted, than other writers probably did, too. I started the site over a year ago, and it has become quite useful for writers in all phases of the writing and publishing process. I’m pleased to do it, and I’m so glad others are finding it helpful, too.
19. What do you do when you aren't writing?
I love to cook, garden, travel, read, research, and I’m continually adding new places to see on my ‘bucket list’. I’d love to travel the world someday!
20. Any words of wisdom for anyone who is thinking of becoming a writer, or just something you think all writers should know?
Yes, I think there is such a demand for writers to perform and to continually produce new works. My advice would be to write what’s in your heart. We all have these little ideas and thoughts that continually float around in our writer’s brains - the muse strikes at any time. But the stories that should be written – that need to be written – are the ones that travel from your head to your heart. Write those stories. They’re the ones that mean something.