Friday, April 8, 2011

Around the Globe with TINA WHITTLE

Yeserday we had a day of rain, so today is cloudy and cool. Not only does my author for this week make me stand around waiting for her to get ready for her trip to be interviewed, she hadn't planned an iternary. Which means, she left it up to me to decide where we go.

So, I transport her to Washinghton, D.C., in the hope I might catch a glimpse of my parent who are vacationing in the area. Author Tina Whittle and I on the Capitol mall enjoying a nice stroll with cool drinks in hand.

1. Who is Tina Whittle and what makes you the most fascinating person in your city?

I’m a mystery novelist. Tis means I make my living making up imaginary happenings in the lives of pretend people. The fact that I’m still walking the streets and not in some quiet rest home is a remarkable testament to my fascinating personality.

2. Without revealing a deep dark secret (unless you want to), what one thing would people be surprised to learn about you?

That I’m a lousy golfer and a very good tarot reader.

3. What interested you to be become a writer rather than something else such as becoming an nuclear scientist?

I am an introvert who enjoys spending lots of time alone talking to made-up people. Being a writer was pretty much my only career choice.

4. Writers are readers. With which author(s) would you enjoy sharing dinner? Why?

Barbara Kingsolver, David Sedaris, and Oscar Wilde. Barbara shares my love of local home-prepared fare, and my concerns about the environment. Oscar and David would make sure the conversation didn’t get too serious. Good food requires good conversation & these would make it happen,

5. If I were stranded on a deserted island (or suffering a four hour layover at the airport), why would your book(s) be great company?

I enjoy spending time with my characters talking to me, they’re smart, funny and a delight to hang out with. I think the main reason I write these books is a chance to hang out with these people. Plus, it’s a mystery, so you can engage your mental capabilities.

6. Share the Whittle process of writing in regards to: idea and character development, story outline, research (do you Google, visit places/people or make it up on the spot?), writing schedule, editing, and number of rewrites.

I don’t recommend the Whittle process. I tried my hardest to reinvent this process for Book Two, only to discover that there seems to be only one way I write a book. I write a big bloated chaotic mess two times as long as it needs to be, with every tidbit of weird research that intrigues me thrown in. Then I have to find the story in there, hone it, and do the research that matters. Which has to be in-person. I have to smell a place to understand it. And unfortunately, I have no imagination for creating setting. I have to see a place to be able to write about it. So yesterday I spent the day riding the MARTA train in Atlanta, touring the Fox Theater, walking the perimeter of the Westin Hotel’s observation walk, sitting in a Ferrari F430, then eating hot dogs and friend macaroni and cheese at Turner Field the night before the Braves take the field for the first time this season. In short, the Whittle process is exhausting.

7. “I think I have a good idea for a story, but I don‘t know where or how to begin. Your process may not work for me. Any advice?

Find the spine. It was advice from William Diehl, the author of Sharkey’s Machine. Figure out the heart of what you’re trying to say and be sure that everything you write connects to that heart, like ribs to a spine.

8. I saw an amusing T-shirt the other day which read ‘Every great idea I have gets me in trouble.” What is your philosophy of life?

Be kind. It works for the Dalai Lama, I sure as heck oughtta be able to make that work.

9. Please tell me you’re not going to stop writing? What’s next for you?

Oh no, no stopping for me. Some famous writer once said writing is the only profession that chooses you. Which is a really fancy way of saying that you know you’re a writer if you MUST write. I’m in that category. So now I’m working on Book Two, the second in the series that began with The Dangerous Edge of Things.

10. Where can people find more information on you and your projects?

www.tinawhittle.com is a good start. I have links to my blogs there, as well information about my schedule of appearances and contact information. There is also an excerpt from The Dangerous Edge of Things should anyone wish to test drive the book.

2 comments:

Tina said...

Thank you for sharing your virtual meeting space with me, Stephen. I happen to love DC -- I appreciate your putting an afternoon visit for us to chat (as it turns out, I'm not a morning person).

Melissa Bradley said...

Great interview. I loved getting to know about Tina and will definitely look for her work.