Book Nerd Interview
He has a son, a lover, a mother, a father, sisters, brothers, good friends, a dog, and a foul mouth; therefore, he has all he needs. This is his first book, so he's not entirely sure what he's doing, but he gotsa liking for the story and the characters. His only hope is others do as well. If they don't, screw 'em. He never liked them anyway.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I loathe actually talking about myself. Despite being rather vocally opinionated and outspoken, I don't like talking about me. I avoid it at all costs. Writing my author bio or a query letter is more difficult than writing a novel.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
"Veil" is my first book, so I wrote my first book when I was 34.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
To listen for all the missing voices. That lesson was part-and-parcel of the lesson that school isn't about what to learn but how to learn, but the greatest lesson in that was to always listen for whose voices are missing from a narrative: Who is being ignored? Who is being marginalized? Who is being exploited? Whose story is not being told?
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Irreverent but insightful.
Did you learn anything from writing Veil and what was it?
I learned more from writing Veil than I'd be able to list. Although I've always considered myself to be a "writer," and I've always been writing, I truly learned what it means to write through writing Veil. The biggest lesson was how to listen to the story - to the characters. I suppose it's the old cliché: the story writes itself. I had some major preconceptions about how the story was going to unfold before I sat down to actually write it (I developed "Veil" in my head for about seven years before I actually started writing), but I quickly learned what would work and wouldn't work in terms of a compelling narrative. The more I listened to the characters, the more they told me what they would/wouldn't do and the more they told me what would grip the reader.
I also learned to write on my own terms. For instance, there's a huge backlash against "book saidisms" (using descriptive words other than "said" or "asked" in dialog). I prefer saidisms and that isn't going to change, no matter how strongly critics are against them. I don't think the typical reader gets as caught up on saidisms as we're led to believe. Sometimes my character wants to crow their lines, sometimes they want to squawk them, sometimes they even want to hiss them when there is no letter S in the line. I'm the writer; it's up to me (and my characters) how they want to deliver their dialog.
For those who are unfamiliar with Jin Tsay, how would you introduce him?
Jin is uptight, but that is a product of how exact and precise he must be in his work rather than some neurotic character flaw. Still, no matter how uptight, Jin's love for Suren radiates from every cell in his body and at all times defines who he is as a man.
What part of Suren did you enjoy writing the most?
I'll admit I loved writing Suren as the Great Widow Tsay. I loved it because, for the times she tapped into that persona and exploited it, I felt (for the most part) she was justified. More than that, I enjoyed writing Suren's redemption. I enjoyed bringing her back to the Suren she knew Jin loved. She needed to get back to that Suren to feel close to Jin.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I'd introduce Hunter to Annie Wilkes. I would love to see/hear Hunter's reaction to Annie's campy craziness. Then she'd probably kill him.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Make something or do something and put all of yourself into it. Don't merely entertain; find a way to give yourself to the world.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
Were you sleeping?
What's the worst summer job you've ever had?
I worked at a tire warehouse and had to load tires onto container trucks all day. It was hot, dirty, and hard. And not in a good way.
What scares you the most and why?
Grief scares me. I've lost people before, but I've never lost someone so a part of me that they are woven into the fabric of who I am as a person. Having someone ripped out of that fabric scares me. Although my mind tells me I'll always carry them with me, my heart tells me it will never stop bleeding for them when they are gone.
Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
Heartbreak every time.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
When was the last time you cried?
I recently reread the intro to Veil and I might've gotten a little worked up. Maybe. Perhaps. Possibly. Then again, I got all snot-city a bunch of times while writing "Veil."
Where can readers stalk you?
I suppose they can Google my name or "New Veil World." Or they can come to my house. Unless they are the bad kind of stalker. Stay away, bad stalker!
Veil proves to be the purest, deepest form of espionage and anti-terrorism by endowing humankind with the ability to experience life through another person. Dr. Tsay's technology offers submersion into another’s mind; Veil provides a direct perception of their immediate thoughts, emotions, memories, and the rush of their most intimate senses. If it ever escapes the military’s relentlessly selfish grip, Veil swears to permanently alter the psychosocial, sexual, political, economic, and religious landscapes of our lives. Veil promises to usher in our ultimately unifying evolution: the New Veil World.
Retribution for Dr. Jin Tsay’s assassination comes in the form of his widow, who races to deliver Veil unto the world and share it freely, before those who ordered her husband’s murder can exploit it. Wielding the inescapable force of Veil, Suren Tsay seeks to inflict justice upon all those responsible for her husband’s demise, culminating in an unforgiving, brutal, obsessive hunt for the elusive killer of the father of the New Veil World: the Great Jin Tsay.
Taking Veil beyond limits Jin himself could’ve imagined, the revered Widow Tsay vows to get her revenge at any cost. Suren Tsay soon realizes she too must inhabit the world created by her husband’s invention and her own bloodlust.
Suren must learn to live in the New Veil World.
She must also fight to liberate it.