I am a writer and avid reader of romances particularly historical romances. Please join me on my journey through time
Please welcome Tabitha Lord author of Horizon.
Tabitha Lord will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
by Tabitha Lord
GENRE: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Christine Young: What or who inspired you to start writing?
Tabitha Lord: For years my husband would encourage me to write. His encouragement sounded something like this: “Honey, write a book already!” I would think about it and answer that I just didn’t have an entire story in my head. I’d written content for websites and ads, some blog posts, a little poetry, and correspondence for work over the years, but nothing truly creative since my college days, and even then, not a full-length novel.
I think so much of my energy was taken up raising my kids, working, and running a household, there just wasn’t much left over for creativity. I am not implying you can’t have young children and write, but it was all I could do to string a sentence together! Then my children got older. And when the dynamics in my family shifted, I began to consider changing careers. While I pondered what was next for me professionally I took on a yearlong writing project at work thinking it would give me the change of pace I needed.
Turns out it was one of the most satisfying things I’d ever done in my career. Since I was in the habit of writing every day for work, I challenged myself to write creatively every day as well. Lo and behold, when the report was finished a year later, so was my first manuscript.
Christine Young: How did you come up with ideas for your books?
Tabitha Lord: I’ve always been a big sci-fi fan, so when I finally started writing fiction, I knew it would be sci-fi (at least for now). When I want to be inspired, to play with possibilities, to ask what if, and then create brand new worlds where I can explore the answers, my imagination goes straight to sci-fi. For me, this genre is also a place to consider serious, meaningful issues in a different context, slightly removed from the real world.
With Horizon, I had two distinct parts of a story floating in my head. The first was the crash sequence. It was more basic at the time of its inception – just a young man who crash-lands on a planet, and a young woman, in some kind of trouble, who saves his life. The second part was more complex. I was playing with the idea of what would happen if one segment of an already small isolated population evolved differently (either naturally or by design) from the other. What if some had gifts that enabled them to imagine a different kind of future for themselves and their world? What if they were empathic and could sense each other’s emotions and thoughts? What if some of them could heal with their mind? How would the unchanged people feel about their neighbors? It created such an interesting premise I knew I had to find a way to make it into a story.
Christine Young: What expertise did you bring to your writing?
Tabitha Lord: There’s a big chunk of survival fiction in the first part of Horizon. Caeli is living alone in the wilderness, fending for herself, and living off the land. I grew up in a rural neighborhood until I was twelve years old and spent most of my playtime outdoors, in the woods, exploring and climbing trees. I distinctly remember the smell of pine, the quiet in the forest after the first snow, the taste of wild blueberries. I tried to call on my own childhood memories to give Caeli’s experience authenticity. And as an adult, I’ve had a few adventures that influenced this particular aspect of the story! Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of accompanying students on several class trips. We’ve hiked the rain forests in Costa Rica, paddled dozens of nautical miles in the open ocean off the coast of Maine, and camped in the mountains of West Virginia. I have actually tended a cooking fire, carved utensils, found edible plants, bathed in the ocean, and slept outdoors.
I’m also a medical school dropout! But my experience in medical school, and for years as an EMT, I think gives Caeli some authority as a healer. And when I wasn’t sure about a particular treatment, I’d call my brother-in-law, who did finish medical school and is a practicing physician!
Christine Young: As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
Tabitha Lord: Horizon is intended to be the first in a trilogy. When I finish this series, I have the outline for a speculative thriller ready to go, and an idea for a historical fiction novel. There are also a few short stories rattling around in my head. I’ll be busy for quite a while!
Christine Young: Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?
Tabitha Lord: Yes! I’m currently drafting Horizon’s sequel. It’s about one third of the way finished, with the rest pretty well outlined. In Horizon, Caeli leaves her world just as it’s on the brink of another major uprising. In the second book, she’ll return and rejoin the resistance movement.
Christine Young: When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
Tabitha Lord: When I finished my first draft, I attended a writer’s conference that included a pitch slam. Essentially, this is like speed dating with agents. You get three minutes to pitch your manuscript, live and in-person! All the agents requested material, which told me I had a good concept. But, later, when the excitement died down, I realized my manuscript wasn’t ready and I hired a professional editor. Once we finished the re-write, I felt comfortable querying again.
Christine Young: What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)
Tabitha Lord: I’ve gotten quite a bit of really good advice. When I received my first contract offer for Horizon from a small press, the first thing I did was drink a bottle of champagne. But the next day, I had some reservations (about the contract, not the champagne!). The good advice was to go with my gut. A publishing contract was going to be a long-term relationship, and I should NOT enter into that relationship if something about it made me uncomfortable.
Another piece of really good advice was to make my publishing decisions project by project. In the industry today, there is no one right path to bringing a book to life, but there is the best path for each book.
And last, if I decided to publish independently, I would be running my own small business and I needed to treat it as such. I think there are compelling reasons to independently publish. But choosing this path means recognizing that it’s an investment. First and foremost the product has to be good. I had to be willing to invest the time, energy, and funds to make it so. I also had to build an audience, and then promote and market myself, and be willing to hire others to help with this. I have had to take ownership of it all. For some writer’s, like me, this is exciting. For others, it’s terrifying.
I can’t really think of any bad advice. Writers are a very supportive bunch. Mostly, they want to help each other. But what works for one person, whether it’s a daily word count quota, or the choice to publish independently, may not work for another, so all advice should go through the writer’s “gut instinct” meter, and everyone should do their own research.
Christine Young: Do you outline your books or just start writing?
Tabitha Lord: I would say I’m a loose outliner. I definitely have the bones of a story plotted out, but there’s plenty of wiggle room, and the story evolves both during the first draft, and in the subsequent edits.
Christine Young: Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
Tabitha Lord: There are a few really dark moments in my book, but when I’m doing a reading, I generally choose my favorite dark moment – chapter 18! I think it’s because so much hinged on me figuring out this little plot tangle. My female protagonist, Caeli, had to be alone and on the run when she met the male protagonist, Derek. Previously, she’d been part of a resistance movement, and she was very dedicated to this cause. She’d never leave just to save herself. I had to create a scenario where she felt backed into a corner, thinking she was putting everyone else in danger. It took me days to work it out, but once I did, the other pieces fell into place and I had the deliciously nasty scene in chapter 18!
Christine Young: Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like to write a series?
Tabitha Lord: Well, I’ll be able to tell you more when the series is finished! Right now in the thick of it, I’ll be honest and say I have moments of sheer panic. What if the following books don’t come together as well as I think? What if I can’t keep my self-imposed deadlines? How do I balance my time promoting Horizon and writing the new books? Sometimes I wish I could take a break and work on some of the other projects I have on the back burner, but I don’t want to break the flow with these characters and this storyline.
But really, I feel so lucky that my vocation is also my passion, and I never forget that.
Caeli Crys isn’t living—she’s surviving. On the run after the genocide of her empathic people, she witnesses a spaceship crash near her hidden camp. When she feels the injured pilot suffering from miles away, she can’t help but risk discovery to save his life.
Commander Derek Markham awakens stranded on an uncharted planet. His co-pilot is dead, his ship is in ruins, and he’s only alive because a beautiful young woman is healing him with her mind.
As Derek recovers, Caeli shares the horror of her past and her fear for the future. When Derek’s command ship, Horizon, sends rescue, Derek convinces Caeli to leave with him. But his world is as treacherous as hers—full of spies, interplanetary terrorist plots, and political intrigue. Soon the Horizon team is racing to defend an outlying planet from a deadly enemy, and Caeli’s unique skills may just give them the edge they need to save it.
She felt them before she heard them. The sudden wave of panic gripped Caeli so fiercely that she fell to her knees. Sweat beaded on her forehead and her body shook with another person’s cold fear. We’re losing altitude. I can’t keep her nose up. Time is running out. A voice echoed in her head, frantic. The words were strange and foreign, but she felt their intent.
A ship pierced the white clouds overhead. Frozen in place, Caeli tracked it streaking across the sky, her consciousness now fully merged with one of the desperate occupants onboard. Her breath came in short, gasping bursts. Seconds later a shattering pain exploded through her body and she screamed. The ground shook violently beneath her, and then nothing.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island, a few towns away from where she grew up. She is married, has four great kids, a spoiled Ragdoll cat, and lovable black lab. The house is noisy and the dinner table full! She holds a degree in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and taught Latin for years at a small, independent Waldorf school. She also worked in the admissions office there before turning her attention to full-time writing.
You can visit her blog at http://www.tabithalordauthor.com where she posts author interviews, hosts guest bloggers, and discusses some favorite topics including parenting and her writing journey. Horizon is her first novel.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Tabitha Lord will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.