Thursday, 28 March 2013

Author Spotlight: Tabitha Short (ROYA #12)


Prolific, popular and undeniably skilled, YA & Horror author Tabitha Short is making a name for herself. Not content to just be a writer, she’s a top notch editor, and has also successfully designed her own book covers. Having already penned five publications, with more on the way, there seems to be no stopping her. I managed to catch up with her this week to ask some of those all-important questions about her life as an author.



Dreaming Up Ideas



 All of Tabitha Short's short stories are available
from nearly all online book e-tailers
incl. iTunes, Sony, Kobo, e-diesel,
Smashwords, and Amazon.
(See Purchase Links Below)
 “I don’t watch scary movies, I don't really like them, so it doesn't make any sense whatsoever that I should write scary stories.” Tabitha divulges. This isn’t surprising to me. Having communicated with Tabitha frequently in the past year, I’ve come to find her a very sweet, amiable person. What’s surprising is that such a lovely lady writes utterly horrific scenarios in such gruesome detail. Having recently read one of Tabitha’s shorts, Please DO Feed the Animals ZOO, I was intrigued to find what it was about the horror genre that appeals to her. Turns out, her published writing career began with this particular publication. However, the plot was, in fact, dreamt up by someone else. “All my short stories are in the horror genre. Most of them are products of my husband's scary dreams.”





 After publishing her first short, Tabitha then went on to write her second, full speed ahead. Initially this wasn’t how she’d planned on pursuing her career, “I never intended to write short stories, but I was unfamiliar with the self-publishing process. I needed a few opportunities to test the waters. I never thought I'd enjoy writing them as much as I did!”

There’s certainly something to be said for quick and easy reads. I’m not alone in my opinion.  Tabitha’s sales sheets are testament to this. Her shorts are selling like hot cakes. I asked her what it was about them that held so much buyer appeal. “They are wonderful companions on those long bus or train rides.” And when they cost as little as $0.99, you can’t complain. “ I plan to continue writing horror short stories. One of them in particular, The Corpses of Old Farm Hill Road, is the first in a series of shorts about an all-female serial killing family. When I've completed the series, I intend to offer it as a collection.”

Of course, there’s more to Tabitha Short than her…shorts. In fact, she’s been writing for years. “I've always been a writer,” she told me, “The storytelling part came a little later. I knew I was writer when I began winning contests and awards in grade school. It made me feel good to be recognized for something I'd written, so that encouraged me to continue.” Tabitha then went on to develop her skills on the school newspaper and yearbook teams, eventually rising to the rank of Editor-in-Chief.

Throughout school and college, Tabitha continued to write, taking inspiration from a wide variety of places. “I never know where my inspiration for my next book will come from. The idea for The Corpses of Old Farm Hill Road came to me while watching Deadly Women on the Discovery Channel. I was also briefly enamored with the history of Vlad the Impaler.Not long ago I went through a phase of being curious about psychics. I began looking online for information and research, about the plausibility of certain abilities. I learned that sometimes missing persons can be found by using psychics. I decided this'd make a great mystery/thriller plot.”

 

From Short to Long


 

I recently purchased Her Sister's Murderer, the product of Tabitha’s curiosity in psychic abilities. It’s a YA thriller about a girl who visits a psychic, only to have old memories resurface regarding her sister’s disappearance. With a chilling and intriguing cover design, I can't help but feel drawn to it.  “It was originally intended for National Novel Writing Month (November) of 2011. I wasn't able to finish it in time, so I stopped writing it about ¾ the way through. After a few unsavory events with a publisher, I decided to publish it myself. I finished it and created the book cover using stock images, stock Photoshop brushes and photos I'd taken myself. I must have done something right, because the book placed both 18th and 8th on the iTunes charts in December 2012, ranking higher than popular authors like David Baldacci and Lee Childs.”

Indeed, Tabitha certainly knows what she’s doing. As well as single-handedly releasing her own books, she ensures she remains in touch with her target audience. “When I write, I like to illustrate lessons to learn. The lessons are those that are generally learned when you're in the young adult age range, so I feel I connect with them very well. The characters in my young adult books are also teenagers and deal with teenage angst scenarios.”

 

New Stylings


Tabitha Short’s latest novel, Arena Games: Legend of Petrova is unlike anything she’s published before, and perhaps her most adventurous work to date.   “I tried to mimic old English stories, like Great Expectations. You'll find that even JK Rowling attempted this style in the last Harry Potter book. What happens is a sort of crescendo effect. We set a stage, show things the reader doesn't quite understand at first and then near the end: Bam! Something unexpected happens.”  Arena Games: Legend of Petrova is a full-length young adult fantasy novel, and is set for release April 15th.

 

Hints & Tips


With such a wealth of knowledge at her disposal, I simply had to probe Tabitha about any tips she might have for any of you would-be self-publishers out there. Thankfully she was kind enough to share with us some of her wisdom: “Get an editor. Even if you're editor, get an editor. I use beta readers as well, but don't waste your time with beta readers who only provide a paragraph about your work. Don't use someone who always tells you your work is great, either. You need constructive criticism. If you can afford it, hire a marketing team with experience in marketing books. Learn about your industry. Find people who are in the know and pick their brains for information.”


You can discover more about Tabitha Short, as well as find special deals, contests, giveaways and news by visiting Tabitha Short's blog and TabithaShort.com.


~Purchase Links~
 
 
 

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