Wednesday Author Interview: Meet Stella Tarakson
It’s Author Interview day again, and today, I’d like to welcome Children’s Author, Stella Tarakson to Bookin’ It. Stella comes from a land down under, and it’s great to be able to connect with her today, via the marvels of technology.
BI: Tell us a bit about how you became a writer. When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?
ST: I’ve always wanted to write, but I approached it the long way round. I went to Law School, never dreaming I’d one day actually be able to pursue my dream. My wonderful husband encouraged me to ‘give up my day job’ and go for it. So far it’s worked. I’ve had about 35 non-fiction books published, but now I’m focusing on fiction, something I’ve wanted to do for ages.
BI: Long route or short, you’re finally doing what you dreamed of. Congratulations! Were you inspired by any particular authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you?
ST: I’m inspired by Aussie kids’ authors Morris Gleitzman, who appeals to my heart, and Garth Nix, who appeals to my head.
BI: I’m taking notes, as always. What genres do you read most often for pleasure…those books you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore?
ST: I love speculative fiction. Fantasy, horror, supernatural thrillers. Anything that blows my mind and makes a shiver run down my spine.
BI: We definitely have that in common, Stella. Shivers are always fun! Let’s talk about your actual writing process a bit. Do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day?
ST: I’m lucky enough to have a home office. I work pretty much all day while the kids are at school. It’s much harder when they’re on holidays, so I just squeeze it in when I can, around the inevitable interruptions.
BI: Nothing like having a spot set up just the way you like it. I find myself going into to “writing mode” as soon as I sit down. Do you use visual aids, like Inspiration Boards/Photos or maps of your book’s setting? What reference books or other material do you consult most frequently as you write?
ST: I find using photographs a big help. Photos of people who look the way I imagine my characters look, and photos of locations. It’s so much easier if I can describe what I see.
BI: I agree 100%. That’s something else we have in common. When you have an idea for a new book, do you sit down and start typing, or do you start with an outline, and figure out all the major plot points first? In other words, is your working style structured and organized, or more organic and free flowing?
ST: I’m definitely a planner. Although things change as I go, I need to have some idea of where I’m going or else I feel like I’m floundering.
BI: Do you prefer reading eBooks, or print? Why?
ST: Print. Reading is a sensual experience, and nothing beats the smell and feel of paper.
BI: So many authors say that, and I agree, but I’m in favor of anything that lets me buy and read more books, and eBooks are a wonderful addition to my own library. I love both, myself. Now to learn more about the books you have published, and where we can buy them.
ST: I’ve written all sorts of books, mostly for the education market. I’m excited that my first junior novel has just been released. It’s called Mike the Spike and it’s for readers ages 7 to 9. It’s available at various online bookstores and also direct through the publisher at New Frontier .
BI: I love the concept, and the cover art is very cute! Congratulations, Stella! Are you currently working on a new book? When do you expect it to be available?
ST: I’m working on kids’ fiction series, but it’s still in the early stages.
BI: I hope you’ll keep us posted on that, as well. In your opinion, what is the best thing about being a writer? The worst?
ST: The best thing is you get to write. The worst thing? Sometimes having to do other work to support your writing habit . 🙂
Stella, thank you so much for participating in Bookin’ It’s author interview feature. It’s a pleasure to meet you, and I’ve really enjoyed learning about your newest ventures and your writing process. Please keep in touch when you have news to share!
Stella is a lawyer-turned-author, who has written more than thirty books. She started off writing law books for adults before moving into the educational market. As a lifetime lover of novels, she has always wanted to write fiction. A few awards for her children’s stories gave her the courage to take the plunge. Mike the Spike is her first junior novel.