Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Process Project: Meet Talia Vance!

If you're not yet familiar with the Process Project, check us out here!

Meet Talia Vance!

This week I am so incredibly excited to share my interview with Talia Vance. Last summer I read Talia's Silver (ripe with Irish lore and handsome boys and tons of drama to boot....I am holding off reading the sequel, Gold, until this summer).

Talia Vance is a practicing litigation attorney living in Northern California with her real life love interest, two-point-five kids, and a needy Saint Bernard named Huckleberry. Talia has been writing since she could talk, making up stories for every doll, stuffed animal and action figure she could get her hands on. She grew up hoping to write the great American novel, but her life ran more along the lines of tortured romance and fast paced thrillers, so that's what she writes. (From TaliaVance.com)

And now, onto the juicy stuff....!

JB: What is your main genre?

TV: I write Young Adult novels, both contemporary and fantasy, but all of them have a touch of romance to them.

JB: ​What is your writing routine like? Do you have any writing rituals?

Talia: Since I work during the week, my writing time falls on the weekends. I spend most Saturday and Sunday afternoons curled up on my couch with my laptop and a latte (or two). I’ll write for hours at a time, shooting for 2500-4000 words a session if I’m working on a first draft. If I’m revising, I don’t have specific word count goals, but I do try to set a goal, such as finishing a new plot outline, or working setting details into the scenes.

I often listen to music while I write, creating a playlist for each manuscript. Once I find a song that fits a character or mood I’m trying to create, I listen to it while brainstorming or editing, although I don’t really “hear” it unless I stop to think.

JB: When you are preparing to write a new story, what kinds of techniques do you use to organize your ideas?

Talia: My pre-writing process has always been short, because I love to discover characters and plot points while I write the first draft. However, this leads to a lot of stops and starts (and LOTS of revision), so I’ve expanded it for recent books, taking a couple of days to formulate scenes and plot points, so that I have a fairly complete outline of the story before I start.


I use a corkboard and stack of index cards to brainstorm ideas for scenes. There are usually four or five big scenes that I already have in mind, so I start with those, and then fill in the scenes that happen in between. Once I have the scenes in an order that makes sense, I start to write.

I’ve noticed that I almost never go back and look at my corkboard once the work is done, but doing the work ahead of time helps me to keep the entire plot trajectory in mind while I’m writing, so that even when the story deviates from the initial plan there is a structure there.

JB: While you are working on a piece, do you have any particular way that you structure your work?

Talia: Every book has been a little different, but I usually start one Word document and write scenes in chronological order. I don’t outline scenes in advance, and often have only a vague idea of what happens. The scene prompt might be as simple as “A and B go out on a date.” I let the scene unfold as I’m writing, and often the characters and situation will supply the conflict without my having to think about it too much about it. Since I’ve already done my plot outline, I know where the scene fits into the overall story structure. This helps with making sure the scene moves the story forward, but I don’t worry about that while I’m writing. That is something that can always be fixed in revision.

My favorite scenes are usually the ones that surprise me while I’m writing them, when a character does something that reveals a layer I wasn’t aware of, or the story takes a compelling turn I hadn’t yet thought about. One of my favorite plot lines in the BANDIA series is Brianna’s time travel scenes with Austin and the way those scenes bring us full circle. Those scenes weren’t in my outline, but flowed organically during the writing.

​JB: When it's time to revise, do you have any particular methods that you use to help you through the process? ​

Talia: My revision process works from the outside in. I start with a big picture plot overview. After the first draft is done, I take down my corkboard and create a new one, using cards for each chapter in the book and pinning them to the board to give me a visual representation of the novel. Recently, I’ve added a calendar, which I create from a Word template, which gives me a visual representation of the story’s plot points in relation to each other on a timeline. From there, I figure out where there are gaps in the plot (scenes that need to be added) and scenes that aren’t serving the story (things that need to be cut). I’ll also move scenes around on the board, experimenting with different plot structure before making any changes in the manuscript. Once I’ve determined what to cut, add and move, I create a third corkboard, which serves as the outline for the next revision. Then I go into the manuscript and cut, add and move as needed.

Once I have the plot where I feel comfortable with it, I will start working on the scenes within the story. First, I’ll go through and note where certain plot points need to be expanded or dropped within the scenes themselves. Once this is done, I’ll do a revision where I focus on conflict within scenes, then one pass for setting, one pass for dialogue and one for voice. Once those are done, I’ll send the word document to my Kindle and do a read through. This is my favorite part, because the manuscript looks like a real book, and both the parts that are working and the parts that still need work are easier to spot.

JB: And most importantly....why do you write?

Talia: I love to discover characters and stories. There is nothing like the excitement the comes with an idea you can’t shake, the need to get it all down and see where it leads, and the satisfaction of watching something rough develop into something you love.

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I want to extend a big giant THANK YOU to Talia for participating in the Process Project. I hope you enjoyed her interview as much as I did. You should go out and get a copy of her books now! You can purchase Talia's books on Amazon.  And you can check her out on the web in these spots!

Read more about her books below!!!

SILVER 

"As I step into the room, a silver flash blurs my vision. Before I can take a breath, the world falls away."

Brianna has always felt invisible. People stare right past her, including the one boy she can't resist, Blake Williams. But everything changes at a house party when Brianna's charm bracelet slips off and time stands still. In that one frozen, silver moment, Blake not only sees her, he recognizes something deep inside her that she's been hiding even from herself. Discovering she is descended from Danu, the legendary Bandia of Celtic myth, Brianna finds herself questioning the truth of who she is. And when she accidentally binds her soul to Blake, their mutual attraction becomes undeniable. But Blake has his own secret, one that could prove deadly for them both. Bound together by forbidden magic, Brianna and Blake find themselves at the heart of an ancient feud that threatens to destroy their lives and their love.

Read SILVER: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Kindle | Nook



GOLD 

Descended from an Irish demigod, Brianna has fled to Ireland to escape destruction at the hands of her sworn enemies, the Sons of Killian. Taking refuge at the estate of her former nemesis, Austin Montgomery, Brianna discovers a rift in time that opens to an era before the feud began.

Wrestling with her newfound feelings for the more innocent Austin, Brianna begins to wonder if she can alter the past. But when Brianna and Austin learn that the Sons are raising an army of mythical beasts, the pair will need to use their magical strength in the present to avoid a tragic end.

Read GOLD: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Kindle | Nook


SPIES AND PREJUDICE

Fields' Rule #1: Don't fall for the enemy.

Berry Fields is not looking for a boyfriend. She's busy trailing cheaters and liars in her job as a private investigator, collecting evidence of the affairs she's sure all men commit. And thanks to a pepper spray incident during an eighth grade game of spin the bottle, the guys at her school are not exactly lining up to date her, either.

So when arrogant—and gorgeous—Tanner Halston rolls into town and calls her "nothing amazing," it's no loss for Berry. She'll forget him in no time. She's more concerned with the questions surfacing about her mother's death.

But why does Tanner seem to pop up everywhere in her investigation, always getting in her way? Is he trying to stop her from discovering the truth, or protecting her from an unknown threat? And why can't Berry remember to hate him when he looks into her eyes?

With a playful nod to Jane Austen, Spies and Prejudice will captivate readers as love and espionage collide.

Read SPIES AND PREJUDICE : Amazon | B&N | BAM 

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