Our guest on the blog today is the lovely Tina K Burton. Tina writes short stories, articles, novels, and even the occasional haiku. Both her novels, Chapters of Life, and The Love Shack, are signed with Crooked Cat Publishing. She’s working on her third novel, a story about a girl who dies suddenly, and finds herself back in the thirties. When she’s not writing, Tina spends her time crafting, relaxing with friends, and taking her rescued greyhound for walks across the beautiful moorland in Devon, where she lives with her husband.
We got loads of questions we want to ask Tina, so we can’t wait to get started…
What’s the best bit of feedback you’ve had about Chapters of Life?
One reviewer who loved the book, described me as an English Maeve Binchy. I was so flattered by that.
How important was it for you to sign with a publisher as opposed to going down the route of being self-published?
I had initially self published it on Amazon and Smashwords, but because so many people liked it, I thought it deserved to be with a publisher. I do think there’s more kudos to having a publisher, and other people seem to take you a bit more seriously too.
How did it feel the first time you saw Chapter of Life available for sale?
It was the best feeling in the world. I don’t think I’ll ever get blasé about having a book published though. For me, it’s such an achievement.
What has surprised you most about being published and has it lived up to the dream?
Yes, it’s a wonderful feeling. The only thing that would top it, would be walking into a bookshop and seeing my novels. I’m surprised at how many people have read and liked the book. I thought it was a good story, but we all think that about our books. It’s fab when other people think so too J
Hmm. The feeling you get in the pit of your stomach, and your heart, when you think about or look at the person you love. Wanting to be with that person as much as possible, not being able to imagine life without them.
We love the name of your new novel, how did you come up with it?
I had the idea for a fun novel set around a dating agency, and was trying to think of names for it. That evening, I was running on my treadmill, while listening to my ipod, and the B52s song came on. I knew I’d found my title.
Can you tell us a bit about the plot for The Love Shack?
The main character, Daisy Dorson, stomps into The Love Shack, to complain about how useless their matchers are, and ends up getting a lot more than she bargained for. There’s plenty of fun, quirky characters, and of course lots of romance too.
What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done?
I’m not particularly romantic myself. I don’t like all that lovey dovey hearts and flowers stuff, but, I used to write little notes to my husband and tuck them into his lunchbox, so he’d find them when he opened his sandwiches at work. Nothing slushy, just things like, ‘Have a good day at work, see you later.’ I guess you could call that romantic.
I was in love with Donny Osmond when I was about twelve, ha ha. Apart from that, I’ve never had a hero really. I’m not that sort of person.
Do you think it’s true that you should ‘write what you know’ and, if so, to what extent have your experiences influenced your writing?
Yes I do. I like to read about ordinary people, and that’s what I write. I’ve worked as a youth counsellor, in a homeless centre, and in the funeral profession, and I think this has helped me to write characters with real emotions and feelings. It’s no good trying to write crime, if you’ve never read it or experienced it. Having said that, we can easily learn how to write a different genre by reading as much of it as we can and seeing how writers for that particular genre do it.
What are you working on at the moment?
A time-slip story about a girl, Emily, who dies suddenly, and finds herself back in the thirties. It’s a huge shock, but she’s looked after by her great aunt Clarissa, who explains she’s experienced Sudden Death Transition. You’ll have to wait to find out what that is. On the whole it’s a fun read, but it does have an underlying sadness to it.
Do you ever think about writing in a different genre, if so, what would you choose?
Well, I’ve written a couple of children’s stories, but haven’t plucked up the courage to send them off yet. It’s something I’d like to explore though as I’m a big kid myself most of the time.
What’s the hardest type of scene for you to write?
Sex scenes. In fact I don’t do them. I’d much rather just suggest what’s going to happen, with something like, ‘Jacob, grabbed Clara by the hand and with a meaningful look, led her into the bedroom.’ Readers have imaginations, I’d rather leave it up to them!
I actually started by writing articles and short stories, which I’ve sold to the women’s magazines. I still do, and have articles on the OapsChat website, short stories up with Alfiedog Fiction, and stories in several anthologies.
Do you ever get writer’s block and, if so, how do you deal with it?
Yes I do, far too often. I start a quilling project – I’m a quilling artist – and that usually helps clear my head.
If you could have three writing-related wishes, what would they be?
That my books were sold in bookshops, that I actually made enough money to pay the bills, and that I can continue coming up with enough ideas to write future books.
What piece of writing advice do wish you’d known when you started out?
That it isn’t as easy as you think, it’s a long hard slog, but, the sense of achievement when you’re finally published makes it all worthwhile. Thank you, Write Romantics, I enjoyed these questions xx
Thanks so much Tina for joining us on the blog and we wish you every success with The Love Shack, which you can buy here.
You can also find out more about Tina and her books at the links below: http://tinakburtons.blogspot.co.uk/