by Tabitha Lord
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GENRE: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Caeli Crys isn’t living—she’s surviving. On the run after the genocide of her empathic people, she witnesses a spaceship crash near her hidden camp. When she feels the injured pilot suffering from miles away, she can’t help but risk discovery to save his life.
Commander Derek Markham awakens stranded on an uncharted planet. His co-pilot is dead, his ship is in ruins, and he’s only alive because a beautiful young woman is healing him with her mind.
As Derek recovers, Caeli shares the horror of her past and her fear for the future. When Derek’s command ship, Horizon, sends rescue, Derek convinces Caeli to leave with him. But his world is as treacherous as hers—full of spies, interplanetary terrorist plots, and political intrigue. Soon the Horizon team is racing to defend an outlying planet from a deadly enemy, and Caeli’s unique skills may just give them the edge they need to save it.
“Caeli, is everything okay?” he asked while they sat by the fire and she prepared their food.
She didn’t look at him but nodded. “It was a small group of Amathi soldiers. They were on the other side of the river coming through a pass, but heading in the opposite direction.”
“Do you think they might be looking for my ship?” Derek asked, a knot of dread forming.
“It’s possible,” Caeli acknowledged hesitantly.
“Shit,” he cursed under his breath.
“Or they could just be looking for ore deposits. Anyway, it would take some effort for them to get to this side of the river. It’s why I chose to make camp here. We’re okay. At least for a while.”
I don’t want to run anymore. Caeli didn’t speak out loud, but Derek heard her as clearly as if she did. Her face held a haunted look he hadn’t seen before, and despite her reassuring words, he knew she was more worried than she was letting on.
She passed him a bowl but didn’t take one for herself. Anxiety poured off her, and he didn’t have to be empathic to feel it.
Carefully, he put his bowl aside and turned to face her. “Caeli, how did you escape from Novalis?”
She looked in his eyes and then dropped her gaze to the ground. “I didn’t.”
Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Tabitha Lord author of Horizon.
Hi Tabitha, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Please tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Thank you so much for hosting me today! I’m married with four kids, a dog and a cat. Before writing became my full-time career, I worked in admissions at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School, and I taught Latin in the middle school for over a decade. At one time, I wanted to be a doctor, and I even began medical school. But med school with small children was, for me, an impossible task, and the timing was never right for me to finish.
What were you like at school?
I was a good student, and although I wasn’t too fond of high school, I loved college. I started as an English major and then switched to Classics. The Classics department at Holy Cross, my alma mater, is truly world class! I enjoyed the sheer academic rigor of the major, and the experience of immersing myself in the ancient cultures and languages.
Several years later, I started thinking seriously about a career in medicine and I went back to school to complete my pre-med requirements. While I’d always been a strong student in the humanities, I’d previously struggled with science. But once I tried again as an adult, my experience was totally different! I aced those science and math classes and was accepted into medical school.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My greatest ambition is to tell good stories. I hope my readers fall in love with my characters and lose themselves in the plot. I hope to keep writing for as long as I’m able.
As a more practical answer, when I started down this path, I asked myself what it would look like to be a working writer. What would be my definition of success? I think my definition of success may change over time, but I do feel like a working writer! Currently, in addition to completing my science fiction series, of which Horizon is the first installment, my short story “Homecoming” will be released this summer in the anthology titled Sirens by World Weaver Press. I’m also a contributing writer for the blog www.BookClubBabble.com where I have the privilege of interviewing fabulous authors and reviewing amazing books, and I host my own author blog which focuses mostly on parenting, writing craft, and some personal musings.
Which writers inspire you?
Wow! How do I choose? Diana Gabaldon for sure. She created one of my all time favorite series and her work is both smart and emotionally charged. I covet J.K Rowling’s expansive imagination and skill at world building. Isabel Allende is one of my old favorites for her stunningly beautiful prose. And of course, the great Stephen King! Ask me this question next week, though, and I bet I’ll have another whole list!
Give us an insight into your main character. What does Caeli do that makes her special?
My female main character, Caeli, is an empathic healer. Not only can she sense emotions and actually read thoughts but she can repair the human body with her mind. If I’m never going to become a doctor, at least I can create one with awesome skills!
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m currently drafting Horizon’s sequel. It’s about one third of the way finished, with the rest pretty well outlined. In Horizon, Caeli leaves her world just as it’s on the brink of another major uprising. In the second book, she’ll return and re-join the resistance movement.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead characters from Horizon?
I can imagine Lily James as Caeli. She portrayed such a lovely, resilient Cinderella! I’m not sure I can choose a Derek, though! I have a not-so-secret crush on him, and I’m not ready to turn him into a “real” man yet!
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing?
As my children got older, and the dynamics of my family shifted, I began to consider changing careers. While I pondered what was next for me professionally I took on a yearlong writing project at work thinking it would give me the change of pace I needed. Turns out it was one of the most satisfying things I’d ever done in my career. Since I was in the habit of writing every day for work, I challenged myself to write creatively every day as well. Lo and behold, when the report was finished a year later, so was my first manuscript. And honestly, it was the joy I found in writing that finally allowed me to let go of the dream of becoming a doctor.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I write every day, but what I’m writing and when I write varies. I’m obsessive about planning my time, so every Sunday I look at the coming weeks and determine if I have any blog posts due, author interview deadlines, or reviews to write, and I plan those first. If I’m in the middle of a draft, I make sure to work on that project a little each day, even if it’s only to reread what I wrote the day before, so I can keep the flow of the story going. I also plan time for reading every day.
Some days I check off everything on my to-do list, and sometimes I don’t check off a thing! But, my habit of structuring my time, and writing something every day, is a good discipline so I at least stick to that part of it.
Where do your ideas come from?
Sometimes my stories begin with a character. They will often appear fully formed, complete with names, occupations, and personalities, and I will see if they have a story to tell me. Other times, I have a concept or a scene that I’ve been playing around with in my mind and I’ll sit with it for a while to see if a story forms around it. Sometimes I’ll be doing regular things, like grocery shopping, or having dinner at a restaurant, and I look at the people around me and think, “They all have a story.” I may not get to tell all their stories, but I get to be a storyteller, and that’s an honor and a privilege.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I’m a loose outliner. Generally, I have the concept for the book well worked out before I dive in, but I leave plenty of room for interesting plot twists. During the first draft, I write mostly sequentially, but if a later scene just won’t leave my head, I’ll jump to it and spend some time on it.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Finding long, uninterrupted hours to work!
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I prefer traditional hard covers or paperbacks. But I like my e-reader for titles I don’t want the kids to see!
What books are you reading at present?
I just finished an ARC title The Two Family House by debut novelist Lynda Cohen Loigman. It was absolutely phenomenal! For one of my book clubs, I’m reading Etta and Otto and Russell and James. I’ll also be interviewing anthologist Rhonda Parrish next month, so I am reading one of her short story collections titled B is for Broken. And last, I’m reading Jonathan Kellerman’s latest book Breakdown for fun!
Please tell us about the cover and how it came about.
I’d love to give a big shout out to Horizon’s cover artist, Steven Meyer-Rassow. He is incredibly talented and amazing to work with. You can check out Steven’s website here: http://www.smrphotoart.com/
One of the first things we talked about was how Horizon crosses genres. I’ve been asked to describe my book in ten words and here’s what I came up with: science fiction meets romance meets survival fiction meets military thriller! The cover, therefore, needed to have wide appeal. It needed to be intriguing and eye-catching enough for non sci-fi readers to pick it up, yet stylistically still fit in with its main genre. Steven accomplished this brilliantly.
Horizon is the first book in a planned trilogy, and we also discussed “branding” the series somehow. So in addition to amazing cover artwork, Steve created a title treatment that will carry through and give all the future Horizon books a cohesive look.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
I’m not a fan of giving away books. Writers work so hard to bring their stories into the world, and indie writers often have to fund their projects themselves. This should be worth something to readers. I understand deep discounts as a marketing strategy, but on principle free doesn’t seem fair, even if it works as a promotional tool.
How do you relax?
With a cup of tea and a good book!
What is your favorite quote?
“Do or do not. There is no try.” –Yoda
What is your favorite movie?
Star Wars! I even wrote a blog post about it! I was seven years old when I saw the movie for the first time and it impacted me in countless ways – from my toy collection, to the books I chose to read, to my later love of astronomy. And of course it influenced my decision to begin my writing career with sci-fi. In my opinion, Star Wars is still the most epic space opera ever to grace book or film!
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Readers can find me all over the web!
Visit my author webpage: www.tabithalordauthor.com
Read my author interviews and reviews: www.BookClubBabble.com
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
It was a pleasure! Thank you so much for having me.
Tabitha currently lives in Rhode Island, a few towns away from where she grew up. She is married, has four great kids, a spoiled Ragdoll cat, and lovable black lab. The house is noisy and the dinner table full! She holds a degree in Classics from College of the Holy Cross and taught Latin for years at a small, independent Waldorf school. She also worked in the admissions office there before turning her attention to full-time writing.
You can visit her blog at www.tabithalordauthor.com where she posts author interviews, hosts guest bloggers, and discusses some favorite topics including parenting and her writing journey. Horizon is her first novel.
Tabitha Lord will be awarding a $10 Amazon/B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.