Interview with Tiffany Robbins

Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite author is Stephen Grundy for his work on Rhinegold and Attila's Treasure. They're raw, open, and always leave me feeling more in touch with the world around me. After him, I'd have trouble saying my next favorite, so I'll list the contenders as Franz Kafka, Anthony Burgess, Allen Steele, and Tad Williams.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Without a doubt, the sun. I make sure to position my bed and myself so that the sun will shine right in my face when it comes in the window. Of course, this means I'm an early riser in the summer, and a late riser in the winter. I find that if I wake up with the sun instead of the alarm clock, I'm a more whole person for the rest of the day.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm a crafter. My most recent crafting exploit has been into stained glass. It kills my hands, but I'm addicted to the glass. Going into a stained glass store is like going into a candy store for me. There's so many colors and textures that fill me with inspiration. Right now, I'm working on a window for my kitchen that has an art deco Southern Railway train charging into the foreground. My grandfather was a Southern Railway guy, and most of my family's precious possessions are Southern Railway themed. I'm using a grass green cathedral glass for the train, and I can't wait to see what it looks like with the sun shining through it.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I mostly discover the ebooks I read by word of mouth. I have many friends that write, and I usually grab up their ebooks or their friend's ebooks. Also, when I go to writer conferences or conventions, I try to read at least one book by each author that I meet. So I'll seek out an ebook by them.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
When I was a kid, my sister and I came up with a story that featured a mutant cougar-like animal named Creature, and a mutant bat-like animal named Skurvy. We came up with a huge story line and universe for their adventures. My sister later wrote it in her teenage years, and she continues to role play the characters. That first writing adventure was a huge influence on my writing creations now, and I still regularly include my sister in my writing world.
What is your writing process?
It depends on where my inspiration comes from. Sometimes I'm inspired by a picture. In that case, I develop the character in great detail. Then I create a world for that character to exist in. Lastly, I'll write a series of scenes for the character in that world, and then connect them into a full story.
Sometimes, I'm inspired by a concept. In that case, I'll usually do a lot of research on all adjoining topics to the concept until a story comes to me. Then I'll flesh out the story with characters and world building.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
The first story I ever read by myself was a small book about a girl who accidentally goes up in a run away hot air balloon. Its the story of her adventures, and the things she sees from the balloon. It made me want to go on many of my own adventures, and gave me a sense from a young age that I would be capable of solitary adventures. It helped me to not be so afraid of the world. I'm not sure what happened to that book, and I've been unable to remember the title of it. If anyone could ever point me to it, I'd be eternally grateful.
How do you approach cover design?
I'm a graphic designer, so I approach it the same way I would most of my work projects. I figure out what elements are needed to include in the design (title, by line, synopsis, barcode, etc.). Then I start searching for typography. For me as a designer, typography is the key to a whole design. Once I've decided on the flavor of the typography, I'll start searching for my images that I'd like to include. Once I have those done, it's all about layout and transitions from element to element.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1) Attila's Treasure by Stephen Grundy because I fell in love with Hagan of the Gebicungs around the age of thirteen years old, and young loves like that never die.
2) The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka because you have to respect an author that can take a perfectly good character and turn him into a giant cockroach without anyone really noticing or caring.
3) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess because it breaks the rules. Also, it helped me to overcome a serious flaw as a writer.
4) Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams because my sister used to read it to me as a kid when I was struggling with being able to read due to dyslexia. It helped me to come to appreciate reading during a time when I was beginning to hate it.
5) The Coyote Trilogy by Allen Steele because it taught me just how much I love homesteading in a sci-fi world.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read a bit of everything: classics, sci-fi, fantasy, books made into movies, etc. Generally, I don't read non-fiction though I have picked up the occasional biography. Mostly, I read the books that my husband recommends as he is a voracious reader and reads close to thirty books to my one. He knows me well, and he reads enough that he'll occasionally stumble upon something he knows I'll love. He's always right of course.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I don't do a lot of e-reading, but usually, I keep a cheap tablet of some type. Currently, I have an old blackberry tablet that is meeting my needs.
Describe your desk
My desk is generally a coffee house table since I hate writing at home. I still write with pen and paper, so my various notebooks and fancy pens (G2s with the clips painted with nail polish so they're easily identifiable as mine. I had an experience with a waitress stealing my pen bundle once.) are generally scattered around my pastry and soy chai no whip.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town in rural Missouri called Tarkio. Everyone there knows everyone else's business. I wasn't born there, so I was always a bit of an outsider, but it was the first place we'd ever lived long enough to call home. I came to love it there even though I'm not sure how much it loves me back. I feel it gave me an intimate look at a lot of different personalities and relationships since you can't help but get to know people in a small town.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book, Something With Cigarettes, was inspired by a friend of a friend who killed himself. I found myself surrounded by their grief and anger. I wrote the book, not to chronical the actual events, but to explore all of the feelings through my writing. So it is not based in fact but, rather, in emotion.
Published 2014-08-15.
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