Monday, November 14, 2011

Tamsin L. Silver: Author Of The Living Dead Girl Series

Tamsin L. Silver lives in New York City with her Border Collie/Lab mix, Keziah, but is originally from Michigan. She holds a BA in Theatre and Secondary Education with a minor in Creative Writing and Shakespeare from Winthrop University in South Carolina and has taught both middle and high school drama. She works in Theatre as a freelance Director and Producer in NYC, where her writing has also been performed on stage. She is highly addicted to Twitter and rambling on her blog about her writing, her characters or just what’s on her mind.

IAN. Please tell us about The Betrayal.

TS. The Betrayal is the first book of a five part saga about a young woman, Atlanta, and her friends Jensine and Grayson. They stumble into a world they didn’t know existed, where magick and magickal creatures exist. Atlanta then discovers she’s part of that world. She’s a witch by birth. Then they discover that her existence plays a large part in the prophesied war between the two factions of the Clandestine World, The Great Order and the Superior Order.

Throughout the book, Atlanta ventures out on a journey to discover who she is, what she was born to do, and how to use her powers. It is obvious there is corruption within both of the Orders. Politics and old laws that have been in place for centuries divide the sects, creating moral issues to be dealt with. Much like the human world, the Clandestine World contains good and evil but nothing is ever just black and white. Lies, deceit and betrayal permeate this world and it is Atlanta’s job to find her way through the darkness of this new life so as to defend what she feels is right and protect the ones she loves from the danger that seeks them out.

And as with life, relationships build not only as friendships, but more than. Atlanta finds herself torn between two men who love her. Both of them are flawed but in different ways. She needs them both so as come to terms with who she is now, how that effects her life and the lives of her friends, and the consequences of being a part of this new world. It’s a war. There are casualties. Betrayal is at every turn. The question is, will she see the warnings in time to save her own life from those who look to destroy her and those she loves?

IAN. How long did it take to write the book?

TS. I started this book in the mid 1990’s and then put it down for ten years while I was in college, chasing/building my career in theatre, teaching, etc. In 2009 I decided I wanted this story out there. It was time to do it before someone else did. So I sat down to finish it over six months and then started to edit. I started to pitch it in December of 2009. I got picked up by Eirelander Publishing about 18 months later, shortly after starting to submit to e-publishers instead of agents.

IAN. What inspired you to write The Betrayal?

TS. Life, friendship, and extraordinary experiences/circumstances. I love the idea of using fantasy novels to look at the bigger issues in life. Kind of like when you watch the Lord of the Rings movies or read the books. You spend so much time thinking it’s about good vs. evil until you get into the third movie/book and you say, “Well hell, it’s about the friendship between Sam and Frodo and the lives they touch.” I wanted to do the same thing. I also wanted to use the book to stand up for things I believe in.

IAN. Talk about the writing process. Do you write at night or in the morning?

TS. I write all the time. If I have the chance, I write every day if I’m not in the editing process. I swear, editing sucks all the creative juices out of your soul. Ha! Anyhoo…my point is that I at least write five days a week. I tend to write at my office on lunch or after hours because I have a great boss who lets me AND a nice chair and keyboard there. Believe it or not, I’ll sometimes stay at the office till 9pm because I write best there. But I’ll write at home too, on my laptop in my bed, when I need to write and I don’t want to mosey down to my office in Midtown East (cause I live WAY uptown on the west side of the island).

IAN. Did you use an outline or do you just wing the first draft?

TS. Ha! Outline? What’s that? Kidding. Sorta. See, an outline is like a curse to my creativity. The minute I go to write out an outline for something my mind goes blank. I stare at the page and go, “What am I trying to do here?” I find that just writing and letting my imagination run wild as I write the first draft produces a much better story with twists and turns I’d not thought of with making an outline. Not that there’s anything wrong with having one. I know many writers who use them. They just don’t work for me.

IAN. How is The Betrayal different from others in your genre?

TS. I twisted the vampire/witch/werewolf/shape shifter lore a bit. For example, my vampires fall into two types. They were either born that way (and age differently than humans) or they were a human who was changed. Plus, instead of them being soulless spawns of evil they were created to protect the human race from themselves, basically. They’ve been around since the days of the Bible and their “condition” is a direct punishment from God for the immense sin of one of their ancestors. They are atoning for that sin with the curse of their gifts and long life. I’ve done something similar to all four factions; given them a Biblical history and a pure purpose. Of course, just like with humans, not everyone in this world believe in the same purpose, which is where our conflicts come into play.

IAN. Is The Betrayal published in print, e-book or both?

TS. Currently it is only an e-book, but I think we’re down to 16 more e-copies to be sold and you’ll be able to get it in print through Amazon’s Print on Demand feature.

IAN. What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?

TS. Three things, actually. First and foremost, a sense of being immersed in a different reality with characters they both relate to and care about. I’ve heard from some readers that the characters are so vivid to them that they find themselves thinking about them even when they’re not reading. I like that. I like books that make me think about them like they were real. Plus, these characters as flawed, like we all are. I think that adds to why you care about them. We’re all flawed. If we were perfect, we’d be boring.

Secondly, I want it to make them think. I play around with the question, who are the bad guys, really? I do this throughout the series. Because sometimes that line between good and evil is blurred and people will step over it to suit their needs. The question is, when is that step too far? When is a lie more than a lie? When is a betrayal something you can’t get past? When do you go so far over that line you can’t find it again? And most importantly, what are the consequences for that step in the wrong direction?

And third, I suppose I want people to come away with wondering what will happen next. I’ve left us on a bit of a cliff hanger. I pray people become invested enough to want to know how it turns out.

IAN. Where can we go to buy The Betrayal?

TS. You can go to my website. From the home page you can find all the links in order to purchase the book, from Amazon to B&N or from my publisher directly. The links on at the top left corner of the home page, above the book’s artwork.

IAN. Tell us about your next book or a work in progress. Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

TS. I’m a sequel junky. Both as a writer and a reader. So, it won’t surprise you to hear my answer. I am working on multiple books right now. First and foremost, the 2nd book in the Living Dead Girl Saga. It’s called Shattered. I finished it about two years ago and I’m working on its first string of edits, seeing as Eirelander has asked for it. Which makes me thrilled! To be honest, I’ve written book three (Stained Glass) and half of book four (Destiny)…as well as the ending of book five, the last one (Redemption). I’ve also written a sequel to the LDG Saga called Moon Over Manhattan and I’m using NaNoWriMo to finish the first book of The Cameron Chronicles, which is a prequel series to the LDG Saga about how Sean became the famous vampire hunter you meet in The Betrayal. All of these books fall within the Clandestine World I created for Living Dead Girl Saga. There are characters from The Cameron Chronicles that pop up in the LDG Saga and characters from the LDG Saga that’ll pop up in both Moon Over Manhattan and Black Sunshine, which is a different sequel series to the LDG Saga that takes place in the future, so it’s the same world but instead of being Urban Fantasy it’ll be Urban Sci-Fi/ Fantasy.

IAN. Any other links or info you'd like to share?

TS. Sure! I think one of the things that makes my work different should be shared. My background is in theatre as well as writing. I took my casting and producing experience and I did something most new writers don’t get to do. I cast my characters and did a photo-shoot of them. It was a blast! I started off with doing one for Moon Over Manhattan, as it was a smaller cast. Once that went over well, I took on doing the characters for the Living Dead Girl Saga.

So check out the pictures on my website here:

OR if you want some detailed characters bios go to the October entries on my blog here:

OR you can see videos of the photo-shoots here:

Also, a fun fact: The middle initial of my pen name is in honor of my dad, Larry.

The Betrayal (A Living Dead Girl Novel) by Tamsin L. Silver

452 pages
Urban Fantasy
Eirelander Publishing

A Sample:

Atlanta woke up with a start; the scream was still caught in her throat. She sat up in bed with wide eyes and sweat soaking her hairline.

“Well hell,” she muttered, rubbing her face and shoving her hair out of her eyes. “That nap wasn’t restful at all.” She glanced at the clock. “Shit, shit, shit, I’m late.”

Throwing the covers off, she streaked into the bathroom and snagged a quick shower. On the way back to her room in a towel she stopped at her roommate’s door and banged on it. “Stoltz! You’re so fired!”

The door opened and a tall young man appeared, hands up in defense. His sea green eyes were wide with fear, “I know. I know. I just saw the time. I’m sooo sorry, Atty!” Grayson said.

“Uh huh. I’ll be ready in thirty minutes, fifteen if you’ll drive while I put on make-up.”

He ran his hand through his blondish brown curls. “I can do that. I’ll be ready by then too.”

Atlanta pulled the shower cap off her long, straight, black hair and tossed it back into the bathroom. “Call Jen, make sure she’s awake. The less time we have to spend at her place the more time we get at the club.”

“On it!”

Atlanta rushed into her bedroom and shut the door, her mind going a hundred miles a minute. Jumping between what she should wear, to what her dream meant. With a frustrated grunt, she tossed the towel and pulled out her black corset, long black pencil skirt, heeled lace-up boots and started to work herself into the outfit.

Grayson’s voice came through her door, “I woke her up. She cussed me out in two languages.”

Atlanta smiled. “We’ll call her back as we head out the door. Come in here and help me with this, will you?”

Grayson came in, a lit cigarette in his mouth. Atlanta noted he’d opted for a simple pair of black leather pants and a see through black shirt with sparkles that showed off his well-defined chest and abs nicely. As he sauntered in, Gray attached his choker behind his neck. “Corset time?”

“Yep.” She yanked the cig from him and took a drag, then spun to hold onto the tall bedpost, “Pull, girlfriend, pull.”

Grayson was used to this. Working the laces like a pro, he pulled her already hourglass figure into a more severe version and tied it off. “Can you breathe?”

“A bit.”

“Then it’s not tight enough,” he joked and took his cig back.

“Ha ha. I’d like to breathe thank you very much. Passing out on the dance floor is so last season.”

“Breathing is overrated. You look hot though.”

Atlanta turned to inspect herself in the door size mirrors on the closet. Her already ample cleavage now heaved out the top of the corset. Tucking it back in just enough so they didn’t resemble chin rests, she noted her new boots had her normal five foot ten stature now over six foot, making her an inch or two taller than Grayson. “It works. You ready?”

“Yes ma’am,” he said, his face squinched up in the mirror as he inspected her face. “You okay?”

“Fine. Why didn’t you wake me?” She said, changing the topic. He opened his mouth but she cut him off. “Never mind, it doesn’t matter. Let’s go.”

Shifting past him, she grabbed her black leather duster from the coat rack, slipped it on, snatched her purse from the table, and they headed down to the car. Atlanta unlocked the car and tossed Grayson the keys, heading around to the passenger side. “When is your Jeep outta the shop?”

“Tomorrow,” he said, getting in and starting the car. Shutting the door, he put on his seatbelt. “Call Jen again.”

“Uh uh…you get that chore.”

“Fuck.” He hit re-dial on his cell. “Hey Jen, we’re…”

Atlanta was able to hear her other best friend say something like, “I’m up! I’m up for God’s sake!”

“Excellent. We’re on our way. Be there in fifteen minutes.”

As he hung up Atlanta pulled out her make-up bag. “She only yelled in one language, that’s a good sign.”

With at chuckle and shake of his head, Gray headed out of the complex their condo was in. Once clear of it and on open road Gray pushed again, “You had another dream.”

Atlanta heard the statement of it. She flubbed up her eyeliner and cursed. “What? No. Why would you say that?” She lied. She didn’t want to go into this and even more so, she didn’t want him worrying about her.

“The circles under your eyes give it away, you know. Want to talk about it?”

She blew it off, her tone light. “Nothing to talk about.”

“Uh-huh. Okay. Just tell me, is everyone safe?”

Grayson knew about her dreams. How they were prophetic in nature and often disturbing. She’d possessed the “gift” ever since she was a little girl and other than her adoptive parents, no one but Gray and Jensine knew.

“I’m fine, Gray.” Atlanta said. He stole a glance at her and she knew he wasn’t satisfied with her answer. She didn’t want to go into it, not now. So she put on a smile, took a cleansing breath, and said, “Really, everyone we know is fine Gray. I’m just agitated ‘cause I woke up late. The dream had nothing to do with you or Jen. Promise.”

He seemed to consider asking her more but nodded. “Okay. You can tell me later, if you want.”

“You got it.”

But as they drove and she applied her club make-up, Atlanta couldn’t help but think about the dream. At least she’d not lied to Grayson—Jensine and he weren’t in it—they weren’t in any danger. She was.

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