Friday, September 21, 2012

Whispers in the Woods: Interview and Giveaway with Author T.J. Dell

"When Lucas decides it is time to come clean with all his secrets Evie has to make some hard decisions."

Today we welcome author T.J. Dell, who just happens to like Anne of Green Gables--that alone is enough to call her friend. But today, let's talk about her book, Whispers in the Woods. Welcome T.J.!

Tell us a little about yourself.
Allow me to quote a dear friend of mine, Anne Shirley of Green Gables.  "Well, it really isn't worth telling... but if you let me tell you what I imagine about myself you'd find it a lot more interesting."

When did you decide to take that step that made you a published author?

I've been publishing my own work for about a year on Amazon. Ebooks have been around since computers became household items.  It wasn't really until Kindles and other ereaders hit the market that indie authors were truly able to make a name for themselves using Ebooks.  I didn't really have the heart (or the required thick skin) for all those query letters and traditional rejections.  When I read an article about the easy, simple, free process of publishing to the Kindle store I figured it was worth a shot.  I was right.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?

Time!  I don't know why I never considered this when I was younger and dreaming of writing my own books, but it takes time to write a novel.  Sometimes you will hear a person talking about writing in their spare time.  I am so confused by this because I don't really have any time that I consider 'spare'.  Between building Lego cities and playing tea party with my two toddlers my schedule is pretty packed.  My work gets done in stolen moments during snack times or nap times, and then I stay up way past my bedtime finishing up with the day's writing.

I'm not so sure I would say that I have overcome this hurtle, but I have learned to operate on less sleep!

If you had to sum it up Whispers in the Woods in 30 or less words, what would you say?

Lucas Spencer sweeps into Evie's life and provides a lifeline to keep her from floating away.  She has to return the favor when politics in the Elfin court turn ugly.

What is your favorite scene in Whispers in the Woods?

I particularly like the moment when Lucas has to make his big confession.  We really get a chance to understand Lucas and Evie as a couple.  Evie shows us that she is a strong woman and not someone you should mess with.  It is definitely a glimpse at how they share something far beyond high school infatuation.

Which character in Whispers in the Woods will be the most difficult to part with?

I won't be parting with any of them.  At least not for awhile yet.  You will be hearing more from Evie and Lucas, not to mention Carter and the gang, in Whispers in the Dark at end of the year.

While writing Whispers in the Woods, did you connect with one character more than the others? Who and how?

As much as I would love to say that I am Evie it just isn't true.  I don't think I have that kind of a connection with any of these characters.  I have however formed a very close (albeit imaginary) friendship with Carter.  He pops up in my head anytime I need to smile.  If there was anyone character I could wish into being he would be the guy.
What kind of research was involved for Whispers in the Woods?

Whispers in the Woods was my first experience with writing paranormal.  The research was almost as fun as the writing because I basically got to hang out online reading about different faerie lore.  The beauty of paranormal is that you can bring your own twists to ideas and stories that the readers are already familiar with.  We are going to be seeing a lot more of that come into play as we move forward in the story.

Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?

Ha!  I hardly know the meaning of quiet.  I operate much better with the television on in the background... plus how else will I catch up on 'Jane by Design'?

What do you have in store next for your readers?

Well I'm expecting to have the next installment out at the end of the year.  Keep your eyes open for Whispers in the Dark

What has been your greatest pleasure or personal success as an author

Is it too diplomatic for me to just say that each moment is as rewarding as the last?  I have to at least say that watching each of my titles reach readers and getting feedback from those that have enjoyed what I do... that is amazing each and every time.   

What type of hero do you like best?

I'm not one for the brooding type.  I much prefer someone with a sense of humor that knows how to have a good time.  For example, I was an ardent supporter of Team Jacob!

How do you unwind after a long writing session?

My husband just set up a hot tub in our backyard.  I would sleep in that thing if I could!

Why did you choose to be an Indie writer and would you choose to self-publish again?
I adore being an Indie.  You have so much (really complete) control over the entire process.  What you write, who you target, how much you charge.  And the online community is just amazing.  Anytime I hit a snag I can count on my colleagues to help me out. 

That isn't to say that I will never try the traditional route, or that I have anything against big publishers.  I think each author needs to decide for themselves which publishing process is best for them

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?

Nick Russell (Author of the Big Lake books),when asked the question of when you can consider yourself an author, once told me that just the act of finishing a novel makes a person an author.  That was surprisingly galvanizing for me.  I've often thought back on that when  I've been faced with any literary road blocks.  The truth is that as long as you have confidence in yourself you will succeed.

Is there a book you’ve ever read more than five times? Which book and what drew you back to it? 

I am a big re-reader.  Anything that holds my interest once is worth a second try.  Especially at night when you just know that if you start something new you'll be up until dawn rather than put it down.  That's when I head over to my shelf of favorites.

The Book
Vol. I
When Evie Parker meets Lucas Spencer she begins to feel hope again. Lately she's been going through life in a fog and Lucas is all about teaching her how to have fun again. For the first time since the accident she knows what it means to be happy.

So who cares if Lucas is a little odd. It isn't that strange that she's never met his parents, or that teachers never seem to notice when he's late for class. Evie tries not to care, but on top of all his peculiar behavior she's been feeling kind of sick lately-- ever since she met Lucas actually.

When Lucas decides it is time to come clean with all his secrets Evie has to make some hard decisions.

Vol. II
All Evie wants is a little bit of normal in her life-- is that really too much to ask?
Lucas isn't normal, but he makes her happy. That should count for something. Evie thinks she can find a balance that will let her be normal and also be with him.

Of course she hadn't counted on adding his family into the mix, or his ex-girlfriend.

Life with an elf is never boring.
Lucas and Evie were finally at a place where Evie was comfortable with her mix of normal human teenager and fantastical elf boyfriend. Then she went and got herself crushed by a tree.

Evie wakes up with a whole lot of extra issues to deal with. Not the least of which is a trip inside the Veil to see Lucas's home. She never would have agreed to go if she'd known she was going to have her own secret to hide.
The Giveaway 
Will be giving away 2 signed paperbacks of Whispers in the Woods, along with three $5 Amazon Gift Cards during her tour.


Where else can your readers find you?
Is your book in Print, ebook or both?  Both!

An Excerpt

Is something wrong with your pizza?”  Lucas paused between giant bites of his dinner.  Two huge slices piled high with every topping on the menu were still waiting on his plate.  He’d already polished off one.

“No.  I’m just letting it cool off.  I prefer to be able to taste my food.”   My own single slice of pepperoni pizza was still piping hot and therefore untouched in front of me.

Lucas held one of his hands over my food, gauging the temperature.  “It should be cool enough.”

As always, he was right.  A moment before steam had been drifting off my plate, and now it was perfectly cooled:  still warm enough to taste good, but nowhere near hot enough to burn my taste buds off.  All thoughts of how wrong that was got pushed to the back of my mind—along with all other similar thoughts I’d been ignoring for the past forty-eight hours.  That area of my mind was getting mighty crowded lately.

“Eat, Evie.  You’re making me self-conscious.”  Lucas’s voice pulled me back to the conversation.  He was grinning around a big mouthful of his third slice.

“I really don’t think that’s possible.  Besides, food clearly doesn’t affect your body the way it does a normal person.”

His jaw hung open.  The way he was staring at me—well, I may as well have smacked him.  “What do you mean?”

I blushed.  Probably I should have kept that to myself.  “Nothing.  I just… well, look at you. I’ve watched you consume a gazillion calories over the last two days and you still look… well, the way you look.”

“I think there is a compliment in there somewhere.”  A grin broke out on his face.
“Umm… yeah.  I guess.”  Man, that was embarrassing!  

Lucas got up from his chair and settled himself next to me in the booth.  “You don’t think I’m normal?”  His whisper was low and husky, and his breath tickled against my ear.

“Are you?”  Could he hear my heart?  Could everyone in the building hear it?  It was certainly beating loud enough.

“If I’m not normal, does that bother you?  Would it matter?  Would you still have agreed to come here with me?”

“Probably.”  My voice was squeaking.

“Which one, Evie?”  He lifted his hands to frame my face.  His beautiful soft eyes bore into mine as though this was the most important conversation he’d ever had.
“Probably I would still have come to dinner with you.”  

Relief flashed in his eyes—and something else, too.  At the time I couldn’t recognize it for what it was: guilt.  “I’m not sure you know what you’re saying, but I’ll take it anyway.”  

He tasted like pizza.  That was the first thought to register in my brain after his lips touched mine.  It was also the last thought.  The entire restaurant melted away.  In a corner to our left a kid was screaming for more French fries.  Two tables to our right a group of kids argued as they counted their pocket change on the tabletop.  All around us arcade games buzzed and beeped while children cheered.  I heard none of it.

I know what you’re thinking.  And yes, we were in a family restaurant surrounded by children.  But I swear it wasn’t like that; not on the outside anyway.  His kiss was soft and sweet.  His hands never left my face.  The amazing, earth-shattering, life-defining moment was happening on the inside.  Something deep inside me snapped.  Not snapped apart.  God knows I’d been broken into enough pieces recently.  It was more like snapping together.  It felt like finding last piece of sky in a big jigsaw puzzle.  I could feel him.  Just like the day before, only times a thousand.

“Oh wow.”  I grinned when we pulled away.

“Uh-oh,” he said at the very same moment.


  1. Thank you for joining us today T.J.! What was your favorite part about writing these stories?

  2. Oh I have to say it was the characters. I love each and every one of them and I just can't wait to tell their stories in the next books!