Friday, September 12, 2014

Interview with Tudor Robins, author of Appaloosa Summer

Tudor Robins is an Ottawa-based young adult author whose first novel, Objects in Mirror, was named a Best Book for Kids and Teens by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.
She gathered publishing-related experience in her roles as a magazine editor and publishing sales representative, as well as working in offset and digital printing. Tudor currently teaches writing workshops for adults and children, as well as developing writing contests and programming to motivate young writers. Tudor loves reading, writing, and horseback riding, and spending time with her husband and two sons. Appaloosa Summer is now available in paperback through Amazon (link), and can also be purchased in the Kindle store (link). Receiving messages from readers is one of Tudor’s favorite things, so please feel free to visit her website and connect with her on Facebook.

Connect with Tudor Robins:
Website:  www.tudorrobins.ca


About The Book

Sixteen-year-old Meg Traherne has never known loss. Until the beautiful, talented horse she trained herself, drops dead underneath her in the show ring. Jared Strickland has been living with loss ever since his father died in a tragic farming accident. Meg escapes from her grief by changing everything about her life; moving away from home to spend her summer living on an island in the St. Lawrence River, scrubbing toilets and waiting on guests at a B&B. Once there, she meets Jared; doing his best to keep anything else in his life from changing. When Jared offers Meg a scruffy appaloosa mare out of a friend’s back field, it’s the beginning of a journey that will change both of them by summer’s end.

Appaloosa Summer can be compared to Heartland TV show - http://www.cbc.ca/heartland/

For More Information:

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club on Goodreads.




Q: Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

There are two answers to this question: the reader answer, and the writer answer.

Ever since I was very young, the reader in me has always looked for books about the things I love: the countryside, horses, some romance. When I can find those books, I’m in heaven. When I can’t, I sit down to write them!

For Appaloosa Summer in particular, I think the writer in me took some of my childhood experiences – having two weeks every summer when I could run wild, and gallop horses bareback across the fields at our cottage – and applied the “what if?” question to them. What if a girl from the city got to spend an entire summer on a rural island? What if she met a great guy? I just let the words flow and this book was the result.


Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

For both my books, and everything I write, the first writing is usually quite easy. I’m a “pantser” – meaning I don’t heavily plan, or plot out my books first; instead I write as I wish, by the seat of my pants.

However, the hard work comes in the subsequent revisions. Being prepared to throw away my favourite bits. Being willing to go back to the beginning and change an entire story line to make it fit with essential changes later. Being able to let go of a complete character, if necessary.

My advice to developing writers would be to write initially in whatever way works best for you; “plotter”, “pantser” – there is no right or wrong way. Then, once you’re done, be open to constructive critique and making changes, because you really do want to make your book the strongest it can be so you’ll love it forever.


Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I had a publisher for my first book, and securing that contract was a very long process. I finished the first draft of that novel in 2007, and it was published in June 2013. I queried, and pitched, and rewrote, and revised, and re-submitted it multiple times. In the meantime, I also kept working on my second book – Appaloosa Summer – and I believe it was reading that second manuscript that finally convinced my publisher to go ahead and send me a contract for the first book.

It was gratifying to get that initial contract, and it had always been a dream of mine, however I’ve been watching the publishing world change so quickly, and I’ve learned more about myself – I’m more entrepreneurial than I thought, and I’m pretty motivated and like to get things done – so self-publishing seemed like a much better fit for me when it came time to make a decision about Appaloosa Summer.

I published Appaloosa Summer in June and, so far, I’m completely happy with that decision.


Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

Hmmm … great question! I don’t know if I was exactly surprised, because getting my traditional contract took so long, I was quite prepared, and I read up quite a bit before deciding to self-publish.

However, I would say I’ve been really impressed with the dedication, professionalism and creativity of everybody I’ve worked with on both books. Both my editors really treated my books almost like they were their own, and never took the easy way out. I’ve also been blessed to work with extremely skilled designers on both books, and am happy with the “look and feel” of both of them.


Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

Right now I’m working on the second book in the Island Trilogy – the follow-up to Appaloosa Summer. It’s with beta readers right now, so as soon as they send their manuscripts and comments back to me, I’ll have major re-writing to do before sending it to my editor. I’m aiming for a tentative launch date of March 2015.


Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out online?

I have to admit, I really love being at my cottage where I have no Internet connection at all – my writing output goes way, way up when I can’t do anything else but sit in front of Scrivener (the program I use for my novels) and type.

However, I am really loving Goodreads these days. I’ve had a great experience there with Appaloosa Summer. I think this is a beautiful period in publishing, when authors can really begin to understand how readers are impacted by their books, and I find Goodreads is a nice facilitator of that interaction.


Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Rather than a message, I would say I’m aiming for an experience. Working on my books always transports me – gives me a mini-vacation – and I wish the same for my readers. One reader told me she walked around in a dazed, dreamy state for a couple of hours after finishing my book and I was so gratified because that’s exactly the feeling I would hope to be able to pass along.


Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?

My main words are THANK YOU! Self-publishing has brought me a step closer to the everyday people who love books. Some are at-home / on-the-beach / on-the-bus readers. Some are book bloggers. Some have an interest in a certain aspect of publishing.

My experience so far has been that people take their reading very seriously, and put great thought and care into the analysis and reviews of the books they read. This is great for fellow readers, and amazing for authors so, as an author, I’d like to thank all of you!