Interview with T.L. Onyx

Describe your desk
Ah, my desk. I call several places my desk - my actual wooden surface, my bed, my hammock...it just seems to be wherever I'm comfortable at the time and a place that I can successfully juggle my writing items. Most of the time, I'm an actual writer - I'm talking paper and pen. (My handwriting is pretty neat, also!) Sometimes, I'm a typist and when that is the case, my "desk" is surrounded by papers I've jotted down story plots on, research items, books that I get information on, gel pens (the only kind I use to write with), some kind of libation (fruit juice, mostly), and a snack. Believe me, when I'm writing, my world halts for several hours as I'm lost in a creative trance!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town called Willis, Texas. It's one of those towns where you sneeze and everyone knew about it five minutes later. It was very difficult to do something and not have people know about it quickly and effectively. I began to write as a way to expand my world. I always had these ideas about what life outside a small town would be like and I was always enamored with the life of spies. There was something about the fact that they could accomplish things by creeping through the shadows that attracted me. There was indeed a way to do things without people knowing. Even though the town was small, I started to follow a psychological view and watch people closely. I got to where I could tell many things about a person just from the way they stood, walked, or talked. In my mind, this was beyond cool! Even though small town life was annoying at times and most people found it rather boring, I used it as a positive. The nights that I wanted to have fun would be nights that I read and got far away in the world just by reading a simple book. Also, most of the books I write take place in small towns. I loved my childhood and what it provided for me.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing very young, around the age of nine. Then it was just songs and poetry. When I was eleven, I started writing full length novels. Most of them have been lost because of advances in technology. When I started writing, I stored my items on floppy disks. Till this day, I have in my possession a broken, green, floppy disk that contains one of my very first novels. It was called "Colors". I can't bring myself to toss it because I hope that one day I can find someone who can retrieve the files on it.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a very artistic person. I love to read, draw, paint, dance, sing...I just love to create things. I have sold many pieces of art work, I choreograph dances for high school students, and I own over two hundred books. Creativity is one of God's greatest gifts to me!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I do. It was called "Colors". I wrote it when I was eleven. I would spend my nights in the corner of my parent's bedroom where the only computer in the house was, and I'd quietly type out my story. It was a romance, filled with comedy and, at the time, a story line that was pushing boundaries.
What is your writing process?
Ah, my writing process is very top-down approach. If you've ever known a teacher, you know what that is. If not, let me explain. There are two approaches to reading when a child is learning the art, Bottom-up and Top-down. Bottom-up starts with the details (like sounds of a letter) and collects all of the evidence before getting the entire word. Top-down readers normally start by reading entire words by sight and later learning the details.

Top-down is totally me. I see a scene in my head and I write it. I don't know character's names or how the scene fits in the story, but I have to get the idea down. I could have over a thousand scenes written and pull certain ones, tweaking them, to make up a book. I definitely don't start with "Chapter 1". I sometimes write the end first or the middle. My "chapters" don't come together until I'm finished writing. They are mostly titles instead of chapters like "Sizer finds out about Topher".
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I ever read, simply because to hear my mother tell it, I started reading at a VERY young age. The first novel I remember reading was "The Hatchett" by Gary Paulsen. I remember thinking about how well it was put together and how it made me feel like I was right there next to the boy as he tried to survive. It was an emotional rollercoaster and I wanted nothing more than to dive into more books like that. I realized then and there that I could experience other places that I'd never seen and activities that I'd never done just by sitting in a comfy chair and reading words on a page. It was from that moment on that I relished the idea of reading.
How do you approach cover design?
Since I'm an artist myself, I normally draw my covers early on - as soon as I get a handle on my story. I think about what I want the cover to evoke in a person walking by the shelf and I go from there. I always like the dark and macabre covers, but I feel that it shouldn't be in you face...I want you to think about what it could mean. For example, my cover for "Project Lullaby" is a teddy bear that has been shot and there are bullet casings lying around it. Why would I do that? What's with the teddy bear? I like those kinds of questions. Those who have read the book understand that it is portraying a skewed view of childhood. Everyone will think something different, but the thing I want is for people to see that cover and have enough wonder to pick up the book.
Published 2013-12-08.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Goodnight Kiss
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 75,890. Language: English. Published: February 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Ava and Sizer join forces to bring down the Left Group and put an end to the second Project Lullaby. (Book 2 of the series)
Project Lullaby
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 78,750. Language: English. Published: November 10, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Crime, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Two women had the misfortune of growing up in an extremely disturbing training program that taught them how to be assassins and have since then learned to cope in the outside world. While one longs to forget what was forever embedded on their souls, the other stubbornly seeks revenge and justice.