pegamoose_g (pegamoose_g) wrote,

20 Questions with Barbara G. Tarn

Q1: What is your name?
At this time I write under the pen name of Barbara G.Tarn. But things may change. I'm very prolific and have at least two more pseudonyms. I'm also known as Barb – that's how I blog and how I sign my artworks.

Q2: When did you decide to be a writer?
In my teens, but that was a long long time ago and things have changed a lot since. Both in me, my way of writing, the language I'm using (I'm Italian, I started writing in English at the beginning of the new millennium) and in the publishing world. There was no internet, no cell phones, no nothing when I started writing. And I used my mom's manual typewriter for my "best" stories. Then I did a typing course and got an electric typewriter. Yes, I'm THAT old! :)

Q3: What did you most recently publish (title and genre)?
"Amazon Spring" is a collection of stories set in the Queendom of Maadre, a.k.a. the Amazons Country. It's set in my fantasy world of Silvery Earth, and those Amazons were "invented" way back in 1985, although they have evolved to fit the "new" Silvery Earth (the original one being from the 1970s, with just one story written in 1980 or so – I know, showing my age again). The collection has reprints of two shorts and a novella + one new short story, but if you've never heard of Silvery Earth, you might want to check it out.

Q4: What is your next project?
I shall switch pen name and write a body switch. And I must translate "Male Lovers of Silvery Earth" in Italian, since the wonderful cover artist is Italian and would prefer reading the stories in our mother tongue! :)

Q5: Which path(s) have you taken: traditional publishing, self-publishing, or both?
I'm indie published, even if I can't set up a real business like in the US (as suggested by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch), but my books are all published by Unicorn Productions – a one woman operation since the 1990s, when I was selling photocopied fanzines at Italian comicons. POD versions even have the logo that used to grace those zines...

Q6: Why should people consider reading your work?
Well, if you're tired of traditional fantasy and are looking for something different, try me. Silvery Earth is adult unconventional fantasy, but I also have a science fantasy series, "Star Minds". I don't know how to label any of my stories, so I won't. Different stories for different people? Outlaws, Outsiders and Outcasts? If I don't sell much it's because I can't really put them in a box and find the appropriate tag, sigh.

Q7: How do you describe your writing style?
Very dry and journalistic. I write what I want to read, and I hate purple prose. I've written (and read) screenplays, comics and graphic novels as well, so I'm definitely not for literary prose. I'm also quite fast paced and my longest novel ("Books of the Immortals – Air") is "only" 90K (Star Minds – the complete series of 3 books is 110K). Not of epic length, no.

Q8: Where and when do you like to write?
Whenever, wherever. I write longhand, type or whatever is possible anywhere. I have a part-time DayJob and I like traveling, so I always carry a moleskin to jot down ideas and a notebook when I know I'll be away from home, just in case. I have no idea of what writer's block is, but I'm very good at procrastinating sometimes! :)

Q9: At what time, day or night, do you feel the most creative?
Anytime. Ideas come to me at all times. I write until my hand or back hurt, take a break and go back to it – when I'm in creative mode.

Q10: Which authors inspire you the most, and how?
I've been writing for 30+ years, and most of my inspiration for stories comes from visual media (TV or movies) or comics. I haven't read much prose until I started writing in English – it helped to grasp the language. And by then I already had a voice, so I wasn't really looking for someone to emulate... I started writing fantasy after reading the first Dragonlance trilogy in the 1990s (in spite of having read "The Sword of Shannara" in the early 1980s – and no LOTR, thank you), but this doesn't mean I tried to write like Weiss&Hickman! ;)

Q11: How do you overcome the writer’s demons: Procrastination and Self-Doubt?
Stick and carrot for Procrastination: I can watch a movie or draw IF I finish whatever I'm supposed to write (or do to publish the next title). What is Self-Doubt? I'm the creative Goddess of Silvery Earth! ;) Yes, I have my lows, but I always bounce back... writing the next story! :D

Q12: What aspect of your writing do you feel is strongest, and what needs the most improvement?
I'm good at dialog and I forget the setting, since it's usually either very clear or not important in the movie that plays in my head. The director in me keeps zooming in on my character's faces and I don't see what's around them... I'm so fascinated by them and what they're saying, I don't care where they are, LOL!

Q13: What was the best part of the worst thing you’ve ever written?
I'm sorry, with 500+ titles spanning 30+ years I can't answer this question. I know that most of the stories I've written will never be published because they're crap, but if there's something to salvage, I WILL "recycle" it in a new story. I wrote my million words of crap, and then a million more, but they were good exercise anyway!

Q14: What advice do you have for others who want to be writers?
Just write. Don't go looking for an answer to your questions – nobody knows. You want to tell a story? Just write it. A hundred stories? Just write them. Pour them out of your creative brain. Let them sit there for a year. If when you pick them up again, you still like them, it's time to find beta-readers. Revise, check one last time. And then publish or submit.
Read a lot if you don't know where to start from. Or check Orson Scott Card's "Characters and Viewpoints" or maybe take a course or two of creative writing – I suggest either a workshop with David Farland or with the aforementioned Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. They are professional writers who can teach. Don't waste time or money on university courses by people who have never written a novel in their life – if you want to write fiction, that is! :)

Q15: What form of marketing works best for promoting your work(s)?
Write the next book and publish it. I have 70+ titles out on all major retailers under 3 pen names. Barbara G.Tarn has probably half of them, though (told ya she's the most prolific!). Some don't sell at all, some sell a little. I don't care. I have other stories to write and publish. Besides, I've tried giveaways and sales, and they were a waste of time. So I just write the next book.

Q16: If life is a bowl of cherries, what does your life as a bowl of cherries look like?
I'm bad at metaphors (they're part of the purple prose), so I have no idea of what to say to this... sorry! :) But if you give me lemons, I'll make a lemonade! With cherries... I don't know! :(

Q17: Who is your rock, the one who encourages you the most to keep writing, and why?
Um... me? I'm married to Mr Writing, does that count? Offline, only my sometimes cover artist Cristina Fabris (she did the cover of "Amazon Spring" and of the five "Books of the Immortals" + the new cover of "Technological Angel") cheers for me. And online a couple of blogger friends *waves at Shafali and Jo*. And a few more friends on Goodreads, who either beta or edit my stuff.

Q18: What do you do apart from writing?
I draw – illustrations, some of my covers, portraits, comics and graphic novels. You can find some of those on DeviantART. And I watch movies on DVDs. And I read on my Kindle when I can – although I still have a pile of dead tree books sitting on my desk, about a dozen, but when I think about the 70+ titles of fiction, non-fiction and classics I have on my Kindle, I postpone the dead tree books reading... especially knowing I have another 70+ on my Smashwords Library (a.k.a. Wishlist) and my Goodreads Want To Read list...

Q19: Where can people find more about you and your work(s)?
My blog
all the links to find my books:

Q20: What one question should this interviewer have asked, and how would you answer it?
Q: So, about those other pen names?
A: B.G. Hope writes contemporary stories, m/m romance and this short series of body switches (let's call it "magical realism", since there's a witch involved,and she comes from the original Silvery Earth). Two are already out (Johnny&Marian + Ciaran&Harith), the third is in the works. Barbara Sangiorgio is the name for those stories that would get lost in translation so will stay in Italian for ever and ever. And then there's the historical novel in my drawer since 2012 that should have another pseudonym who uses British spelling instead of the American one...

If you are an author who would like to participate, you can find the questions here.
Tags: 20 questions, author interview, barbara g. tarn
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