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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ten Tantalizing Questions for Tate Hallaway, Author of Almost to Die For and Giveaway!

Have you ever wanted to learn more about your favorite authors? Ten Tantalizing Questions is designed not only to showcase exciting books on the horizon, but to also provide a glimpse into the personalities of the authors behind them.

"There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes. ~William Makepeace Thackeray

Almost to Die For is a story about Anastasija Parker, a girl who gets the shock of a lifetime on her sixteen birthday when she finds out her deadbeat dad is actually a vampire and her mom has the blood of a witch! Can you share with us a favorite line or scene from the book?

Hopefully, this isn’t too spoilery, but I really like this moment, when Ana is beginning the Initiation with her coven:

Once within the circle of trees, I saw that candles had been placed in a large circle. The coveners stood in single file around the inner edge, a circle within a circle within a circle. Everyone whose eyes met mine smiled warmly and encouragingly. Mom gave me a nod and a proud look. The person standing closest to me stepped aside, and I jumped over the candle barrier and made my way into my designated spot. A larger, unlit candle had been placed at each of the exact cardinal directions. I found the one in the east, and picked up the little book of matches with trembling hands. Diane stood in the center of the circle and gave me a broad wink.

My stomach twisted in knots. I concentrated on taking slow, deep breaths and going over the words I would say in my head. I hadn’t memorized anything specific—I wasn’t supposed to. But there was a sort of order to the ritual that involved welcoming the spirits of the air, and listing some of the qualities that I wanted to invoke for the purpose of the Initiation. But nothing stayed firmly in my head for very long, and I found myself shaking even harder by the time the others made their way along the wooded path to the glen.

Bea looked very poised and pleasantly aware of the eyes on her. Nikolai took his place with a subdued seriousness, while Shannon hopped on the balls of her feet with barely contained exuberance. I slapped at a mosquito that lit on my shirtsleeve, and tried not to barf.

Diane cleared her throat. “We are gathered here tonight on this full moon to bear witness to a momentous transformation.” Her voice was clear, and she turned slowly in place to address everyone in the circle. “Tonight novices will become one with the coven, and be True Witches in their own right. Tonight these novices will come into their power. So mote it be.”

“So mote it be,” replied the coven in unison.

Bea’s dad, who was acting the part of the high priest, picked up his broom from where it lay on the ground beside him and began symbolically sweeping the edges of the circle. He moved in a counterclockwise direction, and said, “I banish negative energy from this circle.” Occasionally, as he moved past someone, he’d take an extra moment to mime brushing them off. Bea’s dad could read auras and could tell when someone was carrying extra negativity. In his day job he was a computer programmer. Other than the thick glasses and bushy beard he wore, you couldn’t tell. He biked to work every day, and had a trim, athletic body, which was currently covered in a dark, hand-sewn tunic and jeans.

When Bea’s dad got to where I stood in the east, he batted furiously at the air, as though trying to chase off a hoard of bad energy. Very self-conscious that it was my bad attitude he was battling, I tried to help by clearing my mind and centering. Closing my eyes, I drew on my inner stillness until, finally, he continued around the circle. I noticed he stopped and worked furiously at each direction, though not nearly with such animation as he had by me.

All too soon he returned to his place and it was time to begin.

I took a steadying breath, and my eyes scanned the coven and the woods beyond. In the oak trees that lined the circle, I thought I saw movement. Yes, definitely. I saw it again, a flash, almost as if there was someone waving at me, trying to get my attention. I squinted until I was almost certain that someone squatted in the branches of the trees, watching the proceedings with penetrating, unearthly eyes. In fact, there seemed to be a number of someones lurking just outside the circle. I thought I could hear their panting breath, like wolves just beyond the fold.

Others seemed to sense it too. Nikolai suddenly twisted his neck to look over his shoulder, up into the branches. Someone in the circle stifled a gasp. Diane raised her hands as though to remind everyone to focus on the Initiation. “The circle is not yet cast,” she said with a note of urgency in her voice. Until the circle was complete, we weren’t safe from outside magical attack. I thought Diane must sense the others’ presence too. With a look to me, she said, “Let us begin.”

I shook out a match from the box. I struck the head, and the flame flared for a second, then blew out. I tried again. The next one went out a moment after it lit as well.

A dark chuckle echoed through the treetops.

Whatever was out there was mocking me. I tried again, and the light disappeared in a puff. My hands shook so hard, the matches spilled out of the box into the low grass, wet with dew. Now they’d never start!

I should probably just say the words and forget trying to get the candle going, but I knelt down and felt around until I found one. Everyone was watching me, even whatever hovered just outside the light of the circle in the trees.

“Welcome, east,” I croaked, my voice cracking with tension.

Just then, as though by my command, all the candles went out with a whoosh. The circle was plunged into darkness.

What three words do you think best describe Anastasijia?

Shy. Nerdy. Theatrical. (Yes, you can be all three at once. I was!)

If you had to attach a musical score to your novel, what songs do you imagine playing during prominent scenes?

This is such an awful question for me because I’m SUCH a music dork. I listen to a lot of music (and a lot of different kinds), but none of it is _cool_. When I write, I tend to need to concentrate so I either pick one song and put the iPod on repeat, or listen to silence.

So I didn’t really imagine music in the background of ALMOST. The book is a bit broodier than my adult series, so if there was any, I think it might have to be some kind of classical, instrumental score.

Up until now, all your novels have been in the adult genres of paranormal romance as well as science fiction and fantasy. What drew you to write a novel geared toward young adult readers instead? Has the transition been easier or more difficult than you originally thought?

More difficult. The last time I was a teenager Ronald Reagan was president. Also, I _hated_ high school. And, not only am I a music dork, I’m not terribly up on all that stuff you kids are into. Cell phones seem kind of like new fangled devices to me. But, luckily, I started my career in science fiction, so I’m used to writing about alien cultures. J

But, I think that the young adult market is really exciting right now; there’s a lot of innovation and boundary pushing. I just finished reading Scott Westerfeld’s UGLIES series, which has been out for some time now. I found it extremely awesome and very inspirational.

You’ve written numerous novels, including the popular Garnet Lacey series. What do you think separates your novels from the large of pool of paranormal offerings that are currently saturating the market?

Humor. A lot of the paranormal novels I’ve read tend to be very dark, and the Garnet Lacey series was much lighter, over-the-top occasionally, even. Also, I don’t believe in static characters. I find them unbelievable. So, Garnet learned something about herself in every book, and was changed by it. Ana will be the same. The vampire princess of St. Paul books are not quite as funny as Garnet, but they have their moments.

If you could inhabit the life of one literary character and dive into their world for just one day, who would you choose and why?

It’s a well known fact that I want to be Captain America from the Marvel Universe. Actually, I’m sort of surprised I haven’t gotten the casting call for the new movie. Something about my gender and only being 5’2”, I guess, I’m not sure…. ;-) The super soldier formula could come in really handy when I need to catch a bus is all I’m saying.

In Almost to Die For, Anastasija has to come to grips with a pretty frightening heritage. If you had to choose between being a vampire or a witch, which one do you think would be better and why?

Well, I’m already a witch, so I’d probably chose vampire just for something different.

But, in the spirit of the question, in ALMOST I’ve set vampires and witches up as both somewhat unlikable/frightening, which is why Ana is so torn about her heritage. The choice isn’t easy – though both have cool “superpowers.” Magic works in my books in a way it doesn’t in real life, and vampires have all that usual superhuman strength and speed. But the one thing vampires consistently have over witches is immortality. I’d love to try being bored by an eternity of life, so I’ll stick with my original vote after all.

If Almost to Die For was to be made into a movie, do you have certain actors you envision in the lead roles or do you think unknowns would be best suited to play them?

The model they got for the cover photo of Ana looks surprisingly like how I’d imagined her, so I’d be happy with whoever that is. As for the boys and the Scooby Gang, I’m not sure…. You know what I think would be even better? Anime.

What would you say is the best advice you’ve ever been given as an author?

Lois McMaster Bujold once told in me that when the first book is done, start the next one immediately. I was actually interviewing her for Science Fiction Chronicle, so the advice wasn’t for me, specifically, but it was still good. It was the smartest thing I ever did, because my first novel was really just a practice novel. I still love it, and I think it was a worthy effort, but when I go back to look at it, it totally reads like a first novel. My second novel was the first to sell.

Almost to Die For is the first book in a new YA series. Can you give us any insider scoop into what we can look forward to in the next installment? Are you currently working on any other projects?

Well, things heat up between Ana and bad boy/vampire hunter Nikolai Kirov in the next book, and the spring play turns into the social event of the season. I actually finally embraced my inner high school theatre nerd for this book, and that’s made writing it a lot of fun.

As for other projects, I’ve got a bunch on my plate, but I’m a serial writer. I tend to write one project at a time. But here’s what coming down the pike: in December my alter-ego, Lyda Morehouse, will be releasing a prequel to her science fiction series called RESURRECTION CODE from Mad Norwegian Press. Then after I deliver ALMOST FINAL CURTAIN, which is the second book in the vampire princess of St. Paul series, I’ll start on number three. After that, I’ve got a new adult book called DISTRICT 13 in the works, which is kind of a cross between CSI/crime lab/police procedural and urban fantasy.

So I’m pretty busy.

Adult Books

YA Books


A Scorpio with a Leo Rising, Tate Hallaway is an amateur astrologer and practicing Witch. Tate has been a fan of vampire fiction since she first read Poppy Z. Brite in high school. Her first short fiction acceptance was to a vampire 'zine called Nocturnal Ecstasy Vampire Coven. Tate lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with three black cats.

To learn more about Tate Hallaway, visit her Official Website and Blog.


Reading said...

Thanks for the giveaway.

misskallie2000 said...

Tate, I loved your interview. Your books sound so delightful and great reads. Thanks for stopping by to chat.

Kim, Thanks for hosting this great giveaway and the opportunity to enter.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Cara said...

Seriously, there are spammers on Blogger now? Goodness gracious...

Anyway thanks for the great giveaway, I really enjoyed that little teaser. :)

Eleni said...

What a great interview and giveaway! Thank you Tate & Kim...

Bidisha said...

Love this!

Jess (The Cozy Reader) said...

She's lucky to get such cute covers! Love them.

Fi-chan said...

thank you :D

Fi-chan said...

thank you :D

Tales of Whimsy said...

Great contest!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

All kinds of awesome, ladies! Thanks, Kim, for the e-mail. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Thank you!!

Darlyn said...

Thanks so much! I think i forget to leave a link that I posted on FB


hope it's ok.

Honey said...

Thank you!

Ladytink_534 said...

I love her adult series so I'm really curious to see her write YA. What a great giveaway!

latishajean said...

Great giveaway thank you for the chance!

Aleksandra said...

Great interview & thanks for the giveaway!!!

Ambar said...

thanks for make it international

brandileigh2003 said...


Audra said...

Just found this blog -- via the giveaway -- but I adored this interview -- both the author and the interviewer! Thank you for the giveaway and authorial insights -- I'm following now! :)

Pink Panther said...

Wow! Fab! :)