Sunday, January 29, 2012

Interview with Tina Boscha

Tell us about you.
Here's my short and friendly bio: Tina Boscha lives in Oregon's Willamette Valley with her husband and stepdaughters along with two nutty boxers and one silly black cat. She has an MFA in fiction, is an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship recipient, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She teaches composition and technical writing, and for her next novel, she is working on a good old-fashioned ghost story. In her spare time (ha!) she sews and knits.

Tell us about your book.
This is the official blurb, but I really like it, so here goes:

At 15, Leen De Graaf likes everything she shouldn't: smoking cigarettes, wearing red lipstick, driving illegally, and working in the fields. It seems the only thing she shares with her fellow Dutchmen is a fear of the German soldiers stationed nearby and a frantic wish for the war to end. When a soldier's dog runs in front of Leen's truck, her split-second reaction sets off a storm of events that pitches her family against the German forces when they are most desperate, and fierce. Leen tries to hold her family together, but despite her efforts, bit by bit everything falls apart, and just when Leen experiences a horrific loss, she must make a decision that could forever brand her a traitor, yet finally allow her to live as her heart desires. Inspired by the life of the author's mother, River in the Sea is a powerful and moving account of one girl reaching adulthood when everything she believes about family, friendship, and loyalty is questioned by war.

What inspired you to write this particular story?
I grew up listening to my parents and my aunt & uncle telling stories about the war, even laughing it.  They told me and my siblings about hiding out in potato heaps, raids, brothers and fathers sleeping in secret places to avoid German soldiers. It fascinated me, not only because these were my parents, after all, but because it seemed so extraordinary that they lived through events such as these.

What can readers expect when they open your book? Give us something that isn't on the book blurb. 
Readers can expect to be transported to another time, one that is both familiar because we study it (WWII) but yet unfamiliar because most of us have no conception of what it's like to live during a war of such scale.  They can also be taken to a place they have likely not heard of - Friesland, Netherlands - where the people are Frisian first and Dutch second.  They even have their own language, currently only spoken by about 400,000 people, yet the closest related language to English! Readers can also expect to become immersed in the characters and wonder what happens to Leen especially after the book's end.

How old were you when you started writing?
Seven! I was inspired by the Laura Ingalls books and thought I could write my own story. As you can imagine, I didn't get very far!

Do you stick with one genre, or have you branched out to others? Which ones?
Right now I am writing paranormal YA, so you can definitely say that I am branching out.  The paranormal element to my novel-in-progress is light, but I hope enough to captivate the reader.  Even though River in the Sea is historical, the protagonist is fifteen years old, so it's not such a leap to go to YA. I love all types of books and would love to write in several genres.

Do you think you would ever branch out into another genre? If so which one(s). 
As I've mentioned, YA, paranormal YA, paranormal romance, contemporary women's fiction, nonfiction.... Who knows? I want to go where the ideas take me.

Where do you get your ideas?
From real life, from dreams, from that random idea that pops up while walking my dog, from conversations my kids have, from brainstorming.... I have learned to trust the power of the subconscious!

Who is your greatest inspiration?
Julia Child! I have always been fascinated by her, by the fact that she was tall (I'm 6'), that she found her inspiration later in life, that so fully immersed herself in her passion and became crazy-successful, yet always seemed absolutely herself. Wish I could've met her.

What are you reading right now?
My Memories of a Future Life by Roz Morris. Extremely well-written and impossible to categorize, which to me is a huge plus. I love the originality of the plot.

Who are your favorite authors?
Ursula Hegi, Edith Wharton, Charlaine Harris (I have diverse tastes), Jeanette Walls, Markus Zusak What is your current project? : A paranormal YA that I'm intending to be answer, of sort, to Twilight. That's all I'm going to say about that! No vampires, though, just a very charming and enigmatic 17-year-old ghost and a 16 year-old daughter of a minister.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
Making the decision to publish River in the Sea on my own. I love that book - I loved writing it, I loved revising 10,000 times, I loved getting it ready for the world. There was no way I could shelve it, and I am so pleased and proud that it's making its way to reader's hands.

Have you experienced any setbacks for your writing along the way? If so, will you share with us.
Of course! The biggest hurdle was myself - self-doubt, questioning the merits of pursuing an artistic life when practical pursuits are so much more, well, practical. (On that end, I have more than one day job!)  Beyond that, rejection from publishers, anything from "Um, no" to "we love it but we're passing."

How did you overcome these setbacks?
Realizing that no matter how much I try to sublimate my creative energy into other activities (crafting), my desire to write has been with me ever since I can remember. I finally gave myself permission to believe that I am meant to write - after all, if that's my earliest memory, then why fight it?  I also overcame rejection by self-publishing. It's no longer a stigmatized option but one that holds great possibilities for any writer willing to work, and work HARD.

Do you believe in writer's block?
Not really. I believe that if you just write - even crap - that the words will come. I definitely subscribe to the idea of "sh*tty first drafts" that Anne Lamott wrote about in Bird by Bird. And besides that, writing is revision. That's where, for me anyway, the magic happens.

What is the best writing advice you've ever received?
Revise and revise some more. Then again! And, don't be afraid to go indie. There are powerful reasons in support of that decision.

What is the best advice you have for other writers?
Write the BEST book you can. Publishing comes afterwards. Write, get feedback, revise, try something new, revise again. It's so basic but yet it's so fundamental. It's easy to be seduced by the idea of publishing - believe me, I know - but unless you put in the time, publishing won't happen (even if you choose to do it yourself... readers just won't buy).

What is more important to you, plot or character?
To me, they are inextricably linked.  I can't read a book where nothing happens, but I also can't love a book where so much happens but the characters are wooden or stale. I believe starting with character but then immediately putting them in hot water.

Are you a panster or a plotter?
Plotter.

Preferred POV to write.
Third person close or first person - very similar in some respects.

Preferred POV to read.
The same!

Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author
1. : I can wiggle my eyes - it looks like they are vibrating.
2. : My legs are longer than my husband's by over three inches, yet he's taller.
3. : I have very flexible arms but my hips and knees pop constantly.
4. : I type crazy fast.
5. : I talk to my pets.

Where to connect online

What format does your book(s) come in?
Ebook and paperback 


Where to buy your book