Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Interview with J.R. Tate

Tell us about you.
I am a senior psychology/exercise sports sciences major at Texas Tech University.  I will be graduating in May of 2012 with a Bachelor's of Science.  I have been writing since I was about eight years old and I started fanfiction for the show, Homicide: Life on the Street. I started writing original fiction about three years ago.  

Tell us about your book.
Through Smoke is a romance/suspense novel about Firefighter Michael McGinnis, a veteran to FDNY's Ladder 21 company in Hell's Kitchen.  He has a younger brother, Casey, who is fighting with a drug and gambling addiction.  He has tough love for him, and his life is completely derailed when Casey shows up on his doorstep in desperate need of help from a violent bookie he owes a lot of money to.  Michael is also a recovering alcoholic and fights with his inner demons.  An unsuspected romance blossoms with a fellow paramedic with FDNY.  Eva has always been a close friend and the romance between them makes them both skeptical from the beginning - with neither one of them wanting to get too close to ruin things.

Blazing infernos, high rise saves - Even with these as an everyday thing for Michael, nothing can prepare him for the violence and tribulations he will face in his attempt to save his kid brother.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
I have always been a fan of firefighters.  My father was a firefighter and is now a paramedic, so I've grown up around emergency personnel. The bookie/addiction spin on the story is from thing I have studied in school. I am fascinated with addictions and redemption, so I just searched for a way to stick both of these things together. 

What can readers expect when they open your book? Give us something that isn’t on the book blurb.

You can expect some typical firehouse interaction between the men who serve for the bravest fire department in the world.  There are a few mentions of 9/11, but not many. This book does not focus on that subject.  You can also expect some action pertaining to intense rescues and nail biting fires. 

How old were you when you started writing?
 I was around eight years old when I began writing.

Do you stick with one genre, or have you branched out to others? Which ones?
 I first started writing just strictly romance stuff, but now I have branched out into the suspense department.  I still have some romantic aspects in my writing, but I'm trying to add more depth. 

Do you think you would ever branch out into another genre? If so which one(s).

I am trying out suspense right now. Through Smoke is categorized as romance/suspense. 

Where do you get your ideas?
 Music helps a lot.  I get lost in it and a lot of my thoughts come when I've got music going. Also, I dream about things a lot and write them down. 

What are you reading right now?
 School books! Right now all I have time for is my text books. I long for the days when I can get back to leisurely reading again.

Who are your favorite authors?
 Greg Iles, Lavyrle Spencer, Nicholas Sparks, Harlan Coben

What is your current project?
 I have another novel complete that is going through editing. It is called "Dance With The Devil" about a Baltimore homicide detective.  He is married with a son, and his life takes a drastic turn when he comes across a witness to serial murders that have been happening all over the city. 

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
 Actually finishing writing a book! When I was younger, I worried about writing a novel in fear of never finishing it.  It was an unknown dimension to write a story that progressed as long as a novel does.  With fanfiction, it was usually a short story and you were done.  You don't have to develop a complex plot like you do in a novel.

Have you experienced any setbacks for your writing along the way? If so, will you share with us.
A major setback to my writing would have to be school.  With papers and reading to get done, when I actually take a few hours to write, I always have in the back of my mind that I should be getting school work done instead.  There's a lot of guilt that comes with it. 

How did you overcome these setbacks?
 I still have these setbacks and will until I graduate.

Do you believe in writer’s block?
 Yes, but music usually pulls me out of it.

What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
 Keep going. Don't quit.  One day you will be rewarded.

What is the best advice you have for other writers?
 Keep going and don't quit. The more you write, the better you'll get.

What is more important to you, plot or character?
 I'm all about character development.  I feel that if the character isn't developing, the plot can't go anywhere either.  The character is what makes a person decide if they like it or not. To me, if a character is progressing and developing, and I can obtain a liking for them, the plot is background for me.

Are you a panster or a plotter?

Preferred POV to write.
Third person

Preferred POV to read.
I like third and first person

Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author
1.  I am a long distance runner
2.  I have been playing basketball since I was a little kid
3.  I am extremely cranky in the morning - people know to give me about thirty minutes to wake up before they speak to me.
4.  My family comes before anything.
5.  I was an extra on the TV show, "Friday Night Lights"

Where to connect online

What format does your book(s) come in?
kindle, nook, most e-readers

Where to buy your book(s)
Amazon