Interview with author Red Tash

Me: Hi Hon! Come in and get comfy on my virtual couch 🙂 Can I get you anything? Coffee, tea, hot chocolate with lots of marshmallows? *pops marshmallow in mouth* Are roo *swallows* Are YOU having a nice fall?

Red: Oh my gosh, YES!  So far I’ve been camping, which is absolutely one of the best fall activities, in my opinion…been to an autumn art fair, walked the streets of a historic town while leaves flew all around, picked apples, baked a caramel apple pie…let’s see, what else?  Worked on Halloween costumes.  I guess all that’s left is carving pumpkins, my birthday, & trick or treating, then it’s on to dreaming about Thanksgiving dinner!  I also had a best-selling book this fall (This Brilliant Darkness), so that was pretty cool!

Me: Congratulations on This Brilliant Darkness! And wow, you have already done a LOT of great fall activities 🙂

Autumn is my favorite season. <g> I love the smells and colors and my birthday is in the fall. (more book presents!) and the fall tv season starts…  I just bought season 4 of Fringe to see if I can get back into it. *sigh* I got a bit bogged down with all the alternates and stopped watching but the final season just started and I plan to catch up and finish what I began! lol Are there any tv shows you were waiting to resume this fall? Or new ones that hooked you?

Red: Well, The Walking Dead just returned and I love that show.  I was never really into zombies before that show, and was so scared to watch!  But I love it.  I really do.  I also love American Horror Story.  It’s the first show that I ever got so caught up in, I burned dinner.  I mean, like billowing smoke and alarms going off, because I couldn’t tear myself away.  I got so busy this fall with writing projects that I missed the return of Downtown Abbey and that’s one of the best shows in history, in my opinion.  Never used to be a TV girl, but there are so many good ones right now.

Me: Oh! I noticed October is your birthday month!!! *singing* Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Red…. Happy Birthday toooo youuuuuuu! *brings out the cupcakes* Have one please 🙂 What’s your fav birthday treat and do you have something exciting for your day?

Red: Well, thank you!  I love chocolate, so any birthday cake of mine is inevitably chocolate-inspired!  I love it all, really. 

 And, yes!  I’ll be having a skating party this year for my birthday.  My darling husband reserved the skating rink for me, so just like Roller Deb, I’ll be like a speed demon unleashed on my big day!  I can’t wait.

Me: A skating party?! Oh! I would crash it if I lived nearer to Indiana 🙂

I am so happy you stumbled over my vlogs on YouTube  (my Troll or Derby one will be up this weekend) and said hi, otherwise I might have missed out on your novel Troll or Derby. I love Roller Deb and Harlow! I am very fascinated by roller derby and have been looking at a club that meets kinda near-ish me… (it would require a 45 minute drive down valley to the rink) I love the idea of the derby. Can you tell me a bit how you got into it and what the experience was like for you? Is roller skating like riding a bike or did you have to relearn the skill? Did you get a lot of bruises? Did you have a cool derby name and costume? *gasps for breath* ok, you can talk now. :p

Red: LOL, whew!  Okay.  Where to start?

 I discovered our local roller derby team when I was looking for something unusual to do one weekend.  I was doing a lot of freelance journalism at the time, so I contacted them about doing a story for the paper.  Instead of just writing the story, I ended up becoming the story.  I couldn’t ignore the call of the wild, and before long I was a Derby City Rollergirl.  My skate name is Tyra Durden, and I was #8.  If you’ve ever seen or read Fight Club, then you might know Tyler Durden is Brad Pitt’s character and the eighth rule of Fight Club is “If this is your first night at Fight Club, you have to fight!”  Perfect name for a secret identity, wouldn’t you agree?

Me: Excellent name!

Red: The experience was amazing.  It got me out of my routine and back into great physical shape, but it was also grueling and unforgiving.  There were multiple injuries, personality clashes, confusing “Who am I?” moments when I asked myself why I was doing this crazy thing that could break my neck or at least a leg.  But more than that, there were all the hours of pure exhilaration, flying around the rink at speeds I’d never known I could do.  Learning how to stop, jump backward on my toe stops, take off running on my toe stops and actually winning a few races on skates—let’s not forget getting my first whip, which sent me spiraling out of control, it was delivered with so much force!  What’s funny was that the very tiny girl who whipped me really knew what she was doing—even though I probably outweighed her by 100 lbs, she flung me good!  Eventually I would learn how to deliver a body-stopping block to an opponent while whipping my team’s jammer at the same time, the true pinnacle of multi-tasking physical awesomeness.  It was truly a fantastic feeling.

 

Eventually I played for TeamMILF vs the Birth Control Betties at RollerCon 2008, where I was way out of my league, but in absolute heaven meeting and skating with the best athletes the sport of roller derby has to offer, not to mention the fantastic refs and the stars of men’s roller derby.  I highly recommend RollerCon to any derby girl—I came back a different skater. 

 

Skating is definitely not like riding a bike.  A bike is much more forgiving.  Roller derby skating requires a different posture from casual skating, as well.  One squats, the entire time, and unless you are accustomed to squatting for three hours of practice at a clip, with very few breaks, one will be completely and totally shredded by learning to skate derby-style.  However, it’s worth it.  Just like Tyler Durden does to his Fight Club troops, in very short order, you are made of wood!

I miss it very much.  Bruises are part of the price of admission, but I miss it, still.  Thankfully I can still write about it!

 

Me: Wow! Now I really, really want to try. You definitely write about roller derby well… like I say in my review, I could almost feel the adrenaline pumping. 🙂

Sooo, Troll or Derby… It’s filled with Trolls (duh!) lol and drugs and rock n roll roller derby and I just held on for the ride. <g> I love the mashup of dark and serious with heart and humor. Please tell me you are working on a sequel? If not I’ll pout, but I do want to know what you are working on. 🙂

 

Red: Thank you.  So glad you enjoyed it.  The sequel is going to be called Troll Or Park, and there’s going to be a lot of derby in it.  Deb’s going to be visiting RollerCon, herself (or something like it, I haven’t decided on the name), and Harlow is going to be trying to wrap his hands around the problems back home…just because Jag’s no longer a threat doesn’t mean April and Dave are out of the picture.  So definitely stay tuned for more sexy rollergirls of all shapes and sizes (and species), faeth, and yes, more rock and roll!  Harlow didn’t fish his old band out of that dungeon for nothing!  😉 

There will also be a short story available for the holiday set in the time between Troll or Derby or Troll Or Park.  It is part of a collection called Let It Snow, and I’m working on finishing it up for publication very soon!

 

Me: *kermit flail* yay! yay! a short story to help with the wait. I want it, yesterday!

Didja know you know you are part of The Book Tart’s Cornucopia of Young Adult books event? <g>  How does writing YA compare to writing your adult stories?

 

Red: Oh, it’s much more natural to me, to be honest.  I have written a few short stories over the past year, and I keep gravitating toward younger characters.  I feel great about all the stories I’ve published or had accepted for publication in 2012, but my YA work feels much more important to me. 

 In my mind there are two kinds of Young Adult / Teen books: fluff reads and edgier reads.  Otherwise, YA readers can just hit up the adult shelves for what they want, in my observation.  There’s nothing stopping teens from reading mysteries or epic fantasy, for instance.  To bear the label “YA” means, to me, the main character is of high school age. 

 

 There are plenty of kids who have “fluffy” high school experiences, with a serious issue here or there…and then there is the great majority of teens who have edgy experiences during that time period.  Maybe they experiment with the wrong crowd, maybe they have abusive parents, maybe they try out gang life or running away or something else—I don’t know.  But those are the stories I gravitate toward writing. 

 

By the time these same damaged kids reach adulthood, they’re more comfortable with themselves and their choices, and I like writing their adventures, as well—but the quest to escape the oppression of youth–while still filled with youthful energy and optimism in the worst of circumstances–is fascinating to me!  It’s like watching the Death Star explode at the end of Return of the Jedi, you know?  I want to see it happen over and over again, so that’s what I try to give my characters. 

 

It’s just different writing for adults.  Christine in This Brilliant Darkness has a dark past that never comes to light in the book, because she’s a survivor. Her story starts at a later age, but I tried to write the book with the kind of fast-pacing that adult fans of YA books would appreciate.  I think that’s part of the reason its fans enjoy it so much—even if they don’t realize the style is a marriage of suspense, horror, and young adult!  (What they don’t know won’t hurt them!)  😉

 

Me: Can you tell me about some Young Adult books you’ve loved and would recommend we try?

 

Red: Everything by Holly Black.  Her Tithe novel was a huge influence on me.  Anyone who reads it will see immediately how much it influenced Troll Or Derby.  The same could be said of Melissa Marr’s fairy series.  It’s quite good, though nowhere near as edgy as Black’s.  If you’ve not read those two series and you’re calling yourself a lover of all things fey, then you’ve got some homework to do!  Another book that’s probably more “Middle Grade” than YA is the Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  I absolutely fell in love with the character Nobody Owens and if you can get your hands on the audiobook narrated by Gaiman, you will fall head over heels for his reading of it.  My family jumped in mid-stream on a road trip and were instantly hooked.  Just classic, and perfect for this time of year!

 

Me: My TBR pile has just grown <g> I have read Holly, and totally see a kindred view of fantasy and YA storytelling styles :). I’m adding Marr and the Graveyard Book to my stack.

Ok, Hold onto your skates.

It’s time for The Book Tart Quickie

  1. Past or future fav costume?:   Last year I was River Song from Dr. Who…someday I think I would like to be a unicorn, or maybe a lady from Hee Haw.  I have no idea.  LOL!  Still trying to decide what to be this year.  Maybe something magical.
  2. Snack food craving?:  Bacon & chocolate candy bar
  3. Night owl or morning person?   Morning person!
  4. Laptop or PC?:  MacBook Air!
  5. Chocolate or vanilla?: CHOCOLATE!
  6. Favorite villian?: Other than Greachin or McJagger, I’d have to say Lucius Malfoy.  Or maybe Captain Hook.  (Both played by Jason Isaacs, of course!)
  7. Dream vacation destination? A month on a Caribbean beach with white sand, crystal blue water, no noise—just peace.
  8. Go to standard karaoke song?  I’ve only karaoked a few times, but I know I belted out HeartAche Tonight by the Eagles with my friend Chris in an epic Thanksgiving weekend blowout that was n’er to be forgotten.
  9. Ebook or print?  Print.  I love my Kindle, but my kids are always using it and about the only time I get to read anymore is in the tub, so…
  10. A fictional character you’d like to meet?  Harry Potter.  I need to adopt him.  I know he would think me strange, though, as I am very Luna Lovegoodian in nature.

 

Me: LOVE your answers! *takes a bite of my cupcake*

I just thought up a word… adobegen please make up a definition and use the word in a sentence :p

 

Red: Adobegen is the pigment that cheap makeup manufacturers use as a filler in all their foundation, thusly named because it is made from the same chemical compositon as adobe, and it leaves the wearer’s face the same bright orange.

“Madame Zelda’s face shone orange like a pumpkin from the adobegen in her flea market Cover Girl makeup.”

 

Me:I remember that scene! so that’s what she was using 🙂

How would you compare your writing to a derby match? And what about Ravenclaw?

 

Red: Writing is like a derby match because it’s super-thrilling at the start, and everyone has a game plan in mind.  Then, characters start bumping into one another and everything goes out of bounds!  People get hurt!  Sometimes there are even “penalty box” moments when you’ve got to go back and rethink your strategy, decide where to go from here.  How can we win this bout, yet?  At the end you’re exhausted and need to take time to recover, but you can look back and say “Hey, I did that!” and know you’re part of a rare few who can take on such a complex task and carry it through to an elegant completion.

 

Ravenclaw House!  Well, what’s to tell?  It’s simply the best house at Hogwarts!  Many people are born with intelligence, but it requires a desire to attain wisdom and a lifelong love of learning to be a real Ravenclaw.  Take Hermoine Granger for example.  She’s smart, and she’s definitely interested in accessing the wisdom of the ages, but her quest for knowledge doesn’t override the heroism in her.  That’s okay.  I lean more toward the Luna Lovegood or Cho Chang side of life.  I will investigate mysteries and learn what I can, and stay neutral for quite a long time before I devote my heart to something—but once I have, you can count on my loyalty forever, and I am quite generous with my resources.  In my experience, you can always count on the Ravenclaws in the room to point your way toward answers—they observe so much impartially, and then put the pieces of the puzzle together before the others even realize it’s a puzzle they’re gazing at.  Yes, I’m quite proud to be Ravenclaw.  It was no surprise AT ALL when the sorting hat at Pottermore sorted me!

 

Me: What is the 6th sentence on page 4 of your first novel?This Brilliant Darkness  by Red Tash

 

Red: I’ll use the paperback of This Brilliant Darkness, hold on… 

 

The maneuver exhausted him, but it was necessary to protect the new host.

 

Me: Your name is the same color as my hair. Was that planned? *giggle*

 

Red: Definitely.  I always research video bloggers and then write bodies of work for the purpose of creating pseudonyms to match their hair or clothes. Watch for an exciting new novel by Tweed Vest next week!  (It’ll have quite a smart jacket.)  😉

 

 Me: *chokes on cupcake* a smart jacket! bwahahaha!

 

Red: Seriously, though…my husband has always calls me Red.  He started calling me Red when we met in high school.  He is the only person (before now) who ever called me Red.  He is the reason why I gave publishing my novels a shot, and he is my best friend in all the world, the wind beneath my wings.  I go by the name Red Tash because there would be no “me” without him.  (My hair does have a little red in it, but frankly I think the man’s colorblind.)

 

Me: Awww, that’s a great reason Red. Thank you so much for visiting The Book Tart, You can come crash my couch any time.

 

(((hugs))) Kat

 

Red: Thank YOU!  You rock, Kat.  It’s an honor and a true pleasure.

 

Me: oh! everyone, please remember to enter my YA drawing for a chance to win a $25 gift card. Click HERE

And you can check out my review of Troll or Derby HERE

 

 Red’s Bio:

Red Tash is a journalist-turned-novelist of dark fantasy for readers of all ages. Monsters, SciFi, wizards, trolls, fairies, and roller derby lightly sautéed in a Southern/Midwestern sauce hand-canned from her mama’s recipes await you in her pantry of readerly delights.   Y’all come, anytime. http://redtash.com/

 

Red Tash can be followed at:

Red’s books~ Click on the covers for more info

 

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