How long have you been writing, Alan?Oh, gosh! Off, and on, since I was little. The first writing project I remember really finishing and doing something with was a play I wrote in fifth grade. A few members of my class played the roles and I directed. It was a big hit for a very select audience! I majored in English Literature in college, but didn't really get back into writing seriously until a couple of years ago or so.
Where did you get your idea and inspiration to write Mother’s Heart?This book is the third and, for now at least, final in the Mother-Earth series that starts with A Measure of Disorder. It wraps up the story which begins with a class of eighth graders being transported to a new world called Mother. When I started writing the first book, this was actually the ending I had in mind, but as the story and characters grew, I soon realized the journey was going to be longer than one book.
I've always believed that there is a kernel of truth within every story. Thinking back to popular fables and fairy tales, I wondered what that bit of truth might be within them. Maybe those creatures really did exist in some way and, if so, where would they have come from and where did they go? Those ideas became the basis for Mother and how it interacts with the Earth we are familiar with.
My younger daughter was in middle school when I started the series, so it was natural for me to write a story with characters that same age. The story has a great deal to do with growing up and how we deal with the changes and difficulties that process presents.
What sets Mother’s Heart apart from other books in the same genre?After I'd finished the first book and decided to look into the process of having it published, I discovered it was difficult to categorize. It is fantasy, but with a lot of contemporary elements. There is very little romance, which is rampant in the Young Adult genre, but lots of adventure, which I think is often more associated with Middle Grade works. I've had readers as young as nine and ten enjoy the books, but they are longer and more involved than most MG stories I've seen. My experience so far has been that people just have to read it to find out, which is why I ultimately decided to offer the first book for free everywhere in ebook format. Once people get started with it, they seem to want to continue, so I guess that means I'm doing something right!
You certainly must be! As an author, Alan, what is your writing process?A great deal of it goes on in my head before I ever sit down at the keyboard, or with a notebook and pen. I generally start out with a rough outline, but I don't go into a lot of detail with it. To me, the characters are much more important to get to know and understand. Once I have them established, I can throw any number of obstacles in their way, then figure out through the characters how to over come them. So, in the industry, I'd be referred to as a "pantser" I suppose. :-) After the first draft is finished, it goes out to a handful of alpha readers for their feedback. I then revise and edit, and it goes out to another group of readers as well as my editor.
That’s quite a process! How long did it take for you to start and finish Mother’s Heart?This one was about nine months all together, though I had a month or two during that time where I was busy with other projects and couldn't devote much time to it.
Do you have any advice for other writers, Alan?Read. Write. Then read some more. Try different styles. Take a story you’ve written and try it from another character’s perspective. Or write it third person if it was in first. Or take an existing story you enjoy from another author and write it a different way. Just experiment. But always be reading to find things you like and don’t like so you can eventually develop your own voice. And make sure you have your work edited thoroughly before you publish. There will always be the odd typo here and there, but don’t present your work to the world without having someone who isn’t your mom or best friend read it. Make sure you take any suggestions or criticism and look at them honestly before you cry or get angry! :-)
Authors certainly need to grow a hard skin! So, what’s next for Alan Tucker the author?I'm currently ghostwriting an historical fiction, which I hope to have finished this summer. I'm also working on a YA science fiction that I think will be quite different and fun.
Readers can actually have a gander at the first chapter on Wattpad here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/993090-tales-of-uncertainty-beginningsI haven't decided if it will be a traditional novel or if I'll release it as several short stories, but look for something on it by the end of the year.
Okay, here’s one for me, since I’m writing a time travel series – If you could time travel anywhere into Earth’s past, where would you go and why?Hmm. Has to be in the past, huh? If I were a time traveler, I'd much rather visit the future! But, okay, I'll play by your rules. I suppose I'd go pay a visit to old Bill Shakespeare and find out once and for all if he really wrote all those plays, or if Roger Bacon had a legitimate beef. :-)
Book Blurb for Mother's Heart:United we stand … divided we fall.
The cunning and powerful Mogritas and his allies, like a pride of ferocious lions, maneuver and toy with the citizens of Mother, before moving in for the kill.Scattered across not one, but two worlds, Jenni and her classmates struggle to reunite for a final battle against the centuries-old shapeshifter. Can they band together in time? Or will old frictions and new threats tear them, and their adopted world, apart?
Ruin or salvation, the answers lie in Mother’s Heart.Links:
Website: http://www.mother-earthseries.comBlog: http://motherearthseries.wordpress.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TuckerAuthorYou can download the first book in the series (A Measure of Disorder) everywhere for FREE!