Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Interview with Tanith Davenport

Tanith Davenport lives in Yorkshire with her long-suffering husband and pampered cat. She loves to travel and dreams of one day taking a driving tour of the United States. She writes erotic romance and has just had her debut novel "The Hand He Dealt" published by Total-e-Bound Publishing. Tell us how you sold your first book, and if you had any rejections before getting that exciting call?

I started sending The Hand He Dealt out after a rewrite inspired by the critique I received under the New Writers’ Scheme. At the time I focussed solely on e-publishers; since the novel was erotic romance I thought e-publishing would be my best chance. After four rejections I answered a call from Total-e-Bound and, two days later, it was accepted – I was on my way out for dinner with my husband at the time, so we celebrated with several champagne cocktails!

To plot or not to plot? Are you a planner or do you just dive in?
I like to have four or five general plot points to work with, but then I’ll just start writing and see what develops. Frequently I’ll find that later points are no longer relevant by the time I reach them - I’ve been through over five story plans on the same book before now. A large amount of the story will be driven by the characters, which makes my work an endless source of fascination.

What is the hardest part of the writing process for you?
Getting started, especially after a break. I could sit and plan all day, but actually getting it down on paper can often leave me staring at a screen for hours on end. I’m thinking of trying out the Write Or Die software to see if that helps.

How do you develop your characters?
Usually I’ll begin with one specific, plot-driven point and build from there. For example, Astra in The Hand He Dealt was a member of a sorority and also an intern in a casino, so I pictured her as being a fun-loving party girl who enjoyed music and dancing - this then led to her ability to play the guitar, which was something that developed several chapters in. However, a lot of development will come about when I see how the characters react to the events in the story, which in turn may drive the plot in an unexpected direction.

How do you relax? What interests do you have other than writing?
I love to try new things; at the moment I’m looking into paragliding. On my less adventurous days I go to the cinema - I love seeing films on the big screen - and I like to visit at least one new restaurant a month. I also keep my local salon in business with their aromatherapy massages, which in my opinion is the best way to relax.

Do you enjoy writing sequels or series? If so, what is the special appeal for you?
Not so far, I have to admit. Once I’ve finished a story, I tend to feel as though I’ve finished with those characters and that they can go on without me. That said, one of the stories I’m working on at the moment has the possibility for a sequel, so never say never.

In what way has the RNA helped you or your career?
The NWS was an enormous help to me - I don’t think I could have succeeded without it. Besides the excellent critique I had from my reader, which led to my removing an unnecessary plot thread, joining the online forum introduced me to new people who have been very friendly and helpful. Of course, it was also where I learned about Total-e-Bound, which got me where I am now!

Do you enjoy research, and how do you set about it?
I find the research side of my work fascinating – it can take me to all manner of places. The Hand He Dealt was particularly interesting, as its setting on an American college campus meant learning all about US colleges to find an appropriate one to use as a basis. I needed one with the Greek system, a D1-A football team (which also required research into college football) and located in a state that had legalised gambling. Though I didn’t actually name the college in the book, I ended up loosely basing it on UNLV – I suppose with the casino background Las Vegas was the logical choice!

The internet is one of my favourite resources. It’s so easy to track down odd pieces of information, such as – for a novel I’m now working on – how long it would take an eight-berth yacht to travel between Italy and Spain. However, I like to experience things as fully as possible, and in a few months will be taking part in a paranormal investigation, also for literary purposes!

Tell us about your latest book, and how you got the idea for it.
The idea for The Hand He Dealt came to me in several stages. I tend to come up with settings first and had written down “sorority house” in my notebook some months previously. At other points I had noted down “casino” (probably after watching The Last Casino) and “threesome”, although not with any thought of putting the three together – no pun intended! It wasn’t until I came up with the character of Astra that the different sections began to pull together.

Astra is, at the start of the story, a fairly typical sorority girl and night owl who works as an intern at a local casino. Her life begins to turn upside down when her supposedly perfect boyfriend Harry admits to attending gay bars in his spare time. The easy answer would probably be to end the relationship, but instead Astra decides to explore the masculine side of her nature – which, along with the introduction of her best friend’s arrogant yet enticing boyfriend, Ash, leads the story in directions even I didn’t expect at first. Harry is the catalyst, and Astra plays the hand she’s dealt, or rather the hand he dealt, with plenty of heat, heartbreak and love along the way.

Can you tell us something of your work in progress?
I’m currently working on two novels, both erotic romances. The first, Photograph, has a heroine who hasn’t spoken to her twin sister in two years and is extremely controlling when it comes to men. This is all about to change as she is thrown together on a cruise ship with her sister and an attractive yet arrogant American named Ryan. The second, Hyperventilating, is still in its early stages but is set in the United States and is giving me a chance to indulge my weakness for rock stars!

If you want to know about Kathy under her pseudonym of Tanith Davenport, you can find her here: http://www.tanithdavenport.blogspot.com/

Interviews on the RNA Blog are conducted by Freda Lightfoot and Kate Jackson. If you would like an interview, please contact me at: mailto:freda@fredalightfoot.co.uk


Anonymous said...

Great interview Tanith...and there is nothing wrong with your pic! :)


Sal said...

You go girl!!

And I wish you every success, with this book and the others in the future.

Will you still go out for meals with us all when you're famous?


Tanith Davenport said...

First time I've been interviewed without hiding behind my book cover!

Sally - Thanks :) You can shield me if anyone recognises me in a restaurant!

Mina Dorian said...

Great interview Tanith. I always like to learn how my fellow writers work.
See you on my blog on the 13th!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Enjoyed your interesting interview, Tanith. All the best with the novel!

Unknown said...

Great interview, Tanith. Gorgeous cover for The Hand He Dealt too. Good luck with it!