Hello lovelies! Today on my blog I have a fantastic Q&A with Tina O’Hailey as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources but first a little about Tina’s new book:
Title: When Darkness Begins by Tina O’Hailey
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: 28th May 2020
Genre: YA/ Sci-fi/ fantasy
If you could change time to save your first love—even if it meant turning your back on the universe—would you?
It is time for the Vechey youth to earn their place as time-guardians. The near-immortal Vechey protect the universe from the devastating Manipulators—devourers of souls, mindless seekers of chaos. First, the youth must survive a mysterious and deadly ritual created by the all-powerful clan leader Eterili. Having regenerated thousands of times with the birth of each universe, Eterili is taking this one as hers and bending all in it to her grand designs.
Catha’s time-slipping skills are underdeveloped. She is time-blind—unable to see through time, unable to protect herself from the ritual. The Vechey shun her for being different. Her parents ignore her as if she were already dead.
Aithagg loves Catha unconditionally and will do anything to save her. He tries desperately to unlock the ritual’s mysteries and find a way to help Catha survive with him. Or will saving Catha enable the Manipulators to destroy the universe?
You can buy your copy here:
US PAPERBACK: https://tinyurl.com/skcnw8j
US KINDLE: https://tinyurl.com/ych2kb7r
UK Paperback: https://tinyurl.com/y9yjgx8b
UK KINDLE: https://tinyurl.com/y8824kbb
Q&A with Tina O’Hailey
Can you tell me a little bit about your book?
This book is a coming of age vampire tale. But, not like anything you just pictured in your head. Firstly, Aithagg and Catha are average teens – living in a cave – 40,000 years ago. They are maturing as their people, the Vechey, do and getting ready to go through a ritual that pushes them into their nearly eternal lives as time-guardians. Aithagg and Catha are promised to one another, much to the chagrin of their parents. They will go through the ritual together and if all goes well become untangled from time itself. But all isn’t going well. Catha is not able to see through time like all of her peers. She can only ear grown food like a child, or a Linear (mortals). Her parents treat her like she is already dead—killed by the ritual—like most of her siblings. Aithagg tries to find a way to help Catha survive the ritual. Their people’s matriarch, Eterili, who is as old as dirt and smells like it, sees all and manipulates all. Aithagg and Catha are unsuspectingly part of her grand-design.
Where did the inspiration for your book come from?
I became very interested in Alexander in the previous book Absolute Darkness. His world, where he came from, all of his secrets—I didn’t know what they were yet. My editor from that book had written a one sentence idea in the margins—“wouldn’t it be neat if…” and she gave me a glimmer of an evolution of Alexander’s people. That one sentence compelled me to look into Alexander’s origin story and that became When Darkness Begins. It turned out to be YA, which isn’t even something I read as a teen. So, I wrote a book for 16 year old nerd me who would have liked Alexander’s time-traveling ability and the ill-fated, strong-willed girl that he falls in love with. Alexander is 10,000 years old. His people are older than that. He’s had many names in his life. In his youth he was called Aithagg. What intrigues me now is what was he doing for those 10,000 years. I know he’s seen the world. Wonder what he saw? I want to write more in this area of the series but have a thriller slated next. I’ll come back to Alexander again soon.
If you could describe your book in one sentence what would it be?
Destined to protect time, Aithagg risks the universe to save his first true love.
What is a typical writing day like for you?
It depends on the day really. For 22 weeks out of the year I work as a part-time professor or I am on the holiday break. It is during this time that I do the bulk of my writing. During the other weeks I work as a complete FULL time professor where there is little to no room for writing. But there are, at times, moments for editing, making marketing material, doing virtual blog-tour interviews, etc. Though, I’m always thinking about writing and what’s next when I’m not thinking about grading, lectures, or University events.
I’ve found that I think about the setting, world, basic outline, and characters during the early summer while on motorcycle rides; research and read books in the genre in the fall during my commute to work, finalize the outline by October; then blurt out the rough draft in Novel November (4-8 hours a day); write more at a slower pace in December (1-3 hours a day); then edit gently from January–June (5 hours a week); edit harshly the following summer, and turn it into the publisher by September. That said, I MAY slow down just slightly this next year to write in a new genre.
If you could recommend just one book to read what would it be and why?
Good heavens. That is a tough one but maybe not so tough: The dictionary. It doesn’t get read enough, but maybe an older version with solid, old words. The kind of words you can mortar bricks with.
Who are your favourite authors?
Cormac McCarthy for his ability to describe a mountain sunset 5,000 ways. Koontz for his snappy dialogue. Chelsea Quinn Yarboro for her amazing research and cross-referencing in her books.
Is writing your only job? If not, what is your other job?
I wish I was able to say I am a full time author and I can gracefully ignore this question. My day job isn’t bad though. I teach animation and that keeps a whole other part of my brain happy. I was in academic administration for 9 years, and I did write while there but wanted a predictable writing schedule. It worked out a little while ago that an animation professor position opened up and I could step right into it, thus, opening up 22 weeks a year to part-time and holidays for writing. It was a frightening leap. I can’t believe I waited so long to do it. There are so many supportive people around me who helped me in making that leap. Luckily, it worked and I have more time to write.
Tell me something interesting about yourself (that’s not in your author bio!)
All of the interesting things about me are in that bio. Let me go read what it says there. Ah – here you go: I’ve been on motorcycles since I was 12, maybe even younger. My current ride is a BMW R1200C (the James Bond bike). It’s an odd looking thing but the most comfortable ride ever. I’ve had it for years and if the weather is good—I’ll be riding tomorrow.
What are you currently working on?
Up next is a thriller. I truly enjoyed the characters, Brandy and Susan, in Absolute Darkness. That book was a love letter to my fondness for caving and my fear of drowning. I think the cave-diving scenes were gripping and enjoy making people sweat. A new character has appeared in my life, Jude. She also enjoys caving (but not cave-diving) and this next book, A Dark Drink, is a love letter to Tennessee and all of the places I enjoy, while also being absolutely gruesome.
Jude rides motorcycles and works for the presidential motorcycle motorcade. Good gal. Jude wants a simple, introverted, quiet life: caving and motorcycles—safe from dead psychopaths & a past she wants to forget. Sudden internet fame, stalkers, and a severed finger in the mail rudely threatens everything she loves.
The interesting thing about this Darkness Universe, to me anyway, is that all of these books cross together slightly somewhere. Jude knows Alexander, Brandy, and Susan. There will probably be some call back from Dark Drink to When Darkness Begins even though they are different genres completely and Dark Drink will have no awareness of the fantasy/sci-fi realm that Alexander actually lives in. There’s something in dualities (if not more layers than that) that I love.
About The Author:
Tina O’Hailey is a professor in animation and game programming, caver and occasional mapper of grim, wet, twisty caves (if she owes a friend a favor or loses a bet), whose passion is to be secluded on a mountain and to write whilst surrounded by small, furry dogs and hot coffee. Tina was once struck by lightning.
She has served as an artistic trainer for Walt Disney Feature Animation, Dreamworks and Electronic Arts. Any movie credit she has is minimal and usually found in the special thanks section. The meager credits do not account for the great honor it was to teach talented artists who worked on numerous feature films and games.
She has authored animation textbooks “Rig it Right” and “Hybrid Animation” published by Focal Press and the Darkness Universe novels “Absolute Darkness” and “When Darkness Begins” published by Black Rose Writing.
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