Please give a huge Top 2 Bottom welcome to Tina Blenke!!
Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us, Tina! Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?
A glass of water would be nice, thank you.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I work in business for one of the top medical institutions in the country. I love to read and write and watch scary things on TV that give me nightmares and keep me up most nights. I have a nice little family, three dogs, and a very old cat. I also spend way too much time on social media.
When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted what were the first words that fell from your mouth?
“No freaking way!” I had to read and reread the email several times to let it sink in. I still find it hard to believe.
What forces brought you over to the MM Genre and what made you want to write it?
I had been working on a manuscript for some time but I wasn’t in love with the main character who at the time was a female. I couldn’t connect with her and at times she seemed stronger than her male counterpart. So, I set it down for a bit. My boss at the time was really into romance novels and had accidentally purchased a MM novel (K.A. Mitchell’s Collision Course) and shared it with me knowing that it was something I could fall in love with. She was spot on. I fell in love with Joey on page one and have read that book more than a handful of times. Maybe a week or so after putting it down, it dawned on me. My MC should be a man. When Evander came into my life it was love at first sight and I finished my manuscript within a month or so.
Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.
How many hours a day do you spending writing?
Since I write for my day job, I spend most of my days writing. Unfortunately, I can’t write for fun all the time. I can only afford two to three hours a week when I’m getting started on a new story and then towards the latter part of the book it’s upwards of twenty hours a week.
Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?
I write through to the end before I go back for edits.
When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?
When I start with a plot bunny, I begin with drafting out a loose timeline with specific events that need to occur. After that, the characters lead me through these time points and everything flows freely.
Of your characters do you have a favorite and why?
It’s difficult to choose a favorite but I think I would get along the best with Evander. He’s bookish and nerdy and full of random facts. He would be great to hang out with.
Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?
When this happens to me, I write through it. It’s an exercise I learned in high school where my teacher would force us to write. She’d play music and we had to write about anything that was in our head. It could range from whatever was going on in our lives to the sounds playing on her little radio player. So, basically I just start writing. I listen to music or I select an image of a particular setting off the internet and I write about something. Anything. Some pieces make it into the book and some don’t but the point is to write and eventually something beautiful comes out of it.
Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone?
Not at all. I write everywhere and sometimes I take field trips. Much of Athan’s Kiss takes place in a bookstore so I would write in coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries to get a feel of where they were. I’ve written in parks, gyms, bus stops, my bed, and open public spaces. I’m quite portable.
When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?
That sounds like a good idea. I should try that. Many times it’s a dirty look and an enthusiastic, “not right now I’m writing!”
How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?
Yikes! I’m sure I’m a huge goofball and many things make me laugh. I enjoy classic slapstick and especially love stand up. Some of my favorite comedians are George Carlin, Jim Jeffries, and Louis CK.
What is the most frequently asked (author name) question?
“How do you find the time?” I have a very busy schedule working full time and taking care of family and pets. Finding time to get to the gym and even more time to write takes prioritization and I encourage everyone to make time for themselves.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a contemporary YA story that takes place in Minneapolis. I’m hoping to be finished within the next month or so. I also have a colleague working on some research for me for the next project. That one will return me to first love of paranormal and is starting to sound like a series. Eventually, I’d like to write a sequel for Athan’s Kiss.
Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your life-style as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive – both in your work and out of it?
I read a lot of MM romance and that keeps me wanting to write more of my own stories. There’s always a story crawling around in my head itching to get out. I jot down notes on my phone and occasionally those little tidbits end up in a current WIP rather than starting a completely new story. When something catches my ear or jumps into my head, I capture them before they float away.
What kind of books do you like to read outside of the MM Genre?
Right now I’m reading Stephen King. I also read MF stories by Larissa Ione, JR Ward, and Kresley Cole. I also love classics like Lord of the Flies and Scarlet Letter – two of my absolute favorites. And I love to read Shakespeare and Chaucer, as well as Beowulf.
Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer?
Since I’m a scientist by education, I’m going to have to go with that one.
Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I really like to travel. Just this year, I’ve been to Vegas, Tahoe, road tripped to Seattle, and Atlanta. I had a great time meeting other readers and writers in Atlanta during GRL. I’ve traveled my whole life so it’s part of who I am and what I’m used to doing.
Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?
I’m planning on having something out in the late spring and then maybe another novel out in the fall.
Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?
I can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@tinablenke), and WordPress.
It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!