Friday, April 17, 2015

Tara C. Allred and The Other Side of Quiet

Good morning, and welcome to the next stop in The Other Side of Quiet blog tour. I love the unique premise for this story, just because it brings up the question...'what if'. 
I don't know if you are excited as I am about this post, or if you have been following the tour, but it is time well spent, so now let's move on to our interview.
Mrs. Childs's creative writing students are expected to keep personal journals for self-expression. But when clues from a murder investigation cause police authorities to confiscate the students’ journals, writing intended to be private is no longer. Words meant to liberate now condemn. And an innocent writing project, meant to empower students, as well as rescue Mrs. Childs from her own personal tragedy, now open deep conflicts within the class.

Sounds exciting, doesn't it? 
Then keep reading, because we have a great interview for you. But first, meet the Author:

The Book StalkerTARA C. ALLRED is an award-winning author, instructional designer, and educator. She has been recognized as a California Scholar of the Arts for Creative Writing and is a recipient of the Howey awards for Best Adult Book and Best Adult Author. She lives in Utah with her husband.

Her published works include Sanders' Starfish, Unauthored Letters, and The Other Side of Quiet.

She is also the founder of the Other Side of Quiet online creative writing
group (

What are your ambitions for your writing career now that your newest book, The Other Side of Quiet, is released?

I think my next ambition is to use that term writing career. J I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Now I’m transitioning into the realization that this is a job. There are fun aspects of the job but there’s also lots of non-writing work within this profession.
LOL, yes, welcome to the collective moan as all authors realise that there is so much more to do today than just write. The good thing is that you have great author groups willing to share experience, tips and tricks with you. The CIR group on facebook is a great place for authors to connect.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

My favorite time to write is in the middle of the night. So depending on life, I have windows when I do write full-time. Then there are windows I write part-time. And other times when I don’t write. I’ve had windows when I have full-time work, separate from my writing, which prevents me from writing at all. Then there are other times when I juggle both career demands. Also there have been moments when I’ve focused solely on writing without other employment. Right now, I would say I write part-time. 

What draws you to the subjects you write about?

In life, when I hit a complex issue or when I see a paradox, I want to understand things better. If I hit something that interests me, but that I don’t understand, I hunger for a peace to understand. To find that peace I create characters and place them in opposing situations and then see how they tackle these challenges. It is hard and fulfilling. I can’t write books very fast because of this method, instead I have to observe the world around me, listen, table thoughts, and slowly build out certain scenes in a novel. But for me, this is the fulfilling part of the process, and it’s why I write. I write to first be a reader. I write so that I can understand my world in a new way and so I can make peace with the paradoxes I’ve encountered. I think this offers an interesting glimpse into one aspect of the writing process. There is so much more to writing (other than the actual time an author spends typing), which most people tend not to realize.

What was the hardest thing about writing The Other Side of Quiet?

The Other Side of QuietWhen I first had the general storyline idea I was super excited about the novel. But right away, with the story I envisioned, I knew it’d be a huge undertaking to adequately do justice to these ten diverse students. There was room for a lot of research to make sure each student’s life was believable. So I didn’t want to rush the book. Then over the years, experiences kept presenting themselves and bit by bit the book took shape. When it was finally time to actually put all my ideas together and formulate a complete draft, I was surprised how easy it was for some aspects of the novel to fit together. Still there were several drafts, and certain variations to some character’s storyline, but the overall vision worked surprisingly well. Until I hit the final stages. The final three months of fine tuning were the hardest part. A lot of little glitches around the final product surfaced and there were some deadlines that proved quite difficult. And I grew so attached to these characters; it’s been hard for me to share them with others like I would have thought. I feel like a mother to all of them, and I just want to protect them, and make sure that they all are adequately understood. It’s not a good place to be as an author of a piece. I should be able to let them go at this stage of publication.   Ha ha, if you could easily let them go of your characters, then you wouldn't be an author. (Either that or you would be shamed by the author community). Just kidding.

Will this book, The Other Side of Quiet, be part of a series or can we expect to see the characters in any future writings from you?

That is my next idea I’m playing with. As mentioned, I’m troubled that the characters from The Other Side of Quiet haven’t left me yet. I don’t feel like their stories are complete yet, which is an unsettling feeling. Under these circumstances, I’m playing with the idea of some novellas to help these characters finish up their high school years. If I proceed, it would be journal style. That type of writing works very well for me and it lets me write quite fast. There is something raw and pure in journal writing and I love it. For research in writing The Other Side of Quiet, I used my own teenage journals and letter correspondences to get a feel of the difficult struggles through those formative years. The Other Side of Quiet just barely tapped the surface on so many storylines that still may need to be shared.
I love it! More to look forward to.

If made into a movie, which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead characters from The Other Side of Quiet?

Honestly, I would want undiscovered stars to play in the movie. I know the big names are what help draw a larger appeal to a movie, but I love the idea of new talent emerging from this story. It syncs with my own hopes for opportunities within the Other Side of Quiet online writing group (

This book takes place in a classroom setting, what were you like in school?

I was extremely shy. I tried my best to follow the rules and I worked hard at my studies. I enjoy learning, so for the most part I didn’t mind the school work. But I shied away from any attention where I could. Which makes you the perfect observer.

Were you good in English and/or Creative Writing?

I really enjoyed my English classes; this is where I learned about literature. But I don’t think I learned how to truly write until after college. I was fortunate that I got to teach a college-level English Composition class. The teaching is what finally taught me the skills I had lacked in my formal education.

In junior high and high school, my favorite classes were Math and Science.

Since you published your first book, how do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

Wow! It’s so tricky because I believe you always want to be growing. I think if I ever stopped growing as a writer I’d quit. For me the fun is to embark on the ongoing quest to write a really “great novel.” I hope I evolve as a writer with each book, and that fans can see that growth in each book I create. However it’s tricky, because once I grow, I find I want to apologize a bit when readers pick up my first book, or my next, or my next. I want to say, “I didn’t know about such and such when I wrote that.” So I hope I always evolve as a writer. But how to be at peace with the past and let readers read that work, that’s tricky! A piece of advice... as hard as it is to let go of your characters, as an author, totally loving one of our creations is an even greater undertaking. Let it go. You did your best and it will be loved as is, so give it the honor and respect it is. 

How long on average does it take you to write a book?  Can we expect to see another release shortly?

As mentioned, I am a slow writer. I used to be quite envious of authors who write so rapidly. It’s taken me some time to accept my differences, but now I’m okay with those differences. For each of my three novels, it took me ten years from initial concept to final product. 

Fortunately, I have several novels that are past initial concept.

A few months ago, I pulled out a manuscript I’d worked on between my first two novels. I was surprised to see I’d done more work on it than I remembered. It still has a lot of work ahead, but the mapping, outlining, and chapter outlines are strong. Also I’m excited to revisit the paradox. I’m a much different person than I was in 2003, so I think it’ll be fun to blend the me then and the me now. This particular book will be a much richer story by having both versions of me working on this story. So I’m very excited with this project.

Since half of the first draft is already written, I’m quite optimistic that it’ll be published within the next 12 – 18 months. The running title is Helping Helper.

However I’m also exploring new avenues that will help me produce other stories in a more timely manner. All I have to say about taking ten years is this...congratulations! You did it! How many never get that far, never even try, or give up because it is taking so stand up and pat yourself on the back, because you did it! 

What are your thoughts on writing a book series or collaborating with other authors to create a series?

In the past, I’ve only considered this very briefly. However recently I’ve become much more open to this idea. Especially with the idea of some novellas for The Other Side of Quiet characters’ high school years, there are just some characters in the group that I think could have a much stronger storyline if I collaborated with a couple other authors. I have some ideas, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. Let me know if you ever want to give it a try. I have been dying to write something with another author where we each are a character, letting situations and interactions unfold.

What book/s are you reading at present?

Amethyst Eyes by Debbie Brown and loving it! I am flattered. Thank you.

I’ve been hungry for a really great read and this has been a fun one. From the opening line, I’ve been pulled in. It’s been a very enjoyable read.

I also recently read the non-fiction book Indie and Proud by Christine Fonseca which gives great insight into the mind of a creative. It’s an excellent book for anyone who writes.  

This year, I’ve discovered a whole new list of exciting books due to the guest authors which have appeared on the Other Side of Quiet writing group. I appreciate the chance I have to meet the authors and for a brief moment emerge myself into their books and careers as I prepare their posts. It leaves me with quite a fabulous list of books that I can’t wait to read. 

Buy Book From...
Barnes & Noble

Follow Tara C. Allred...

Come on Tour!

Read the Reviews!!

April 6, 2015 ~ The Book Stalker


April 7, 2015 ~ Debbie Denny - Character Interview

April 8, 2015 ~ A Gluten Free Journey

April 9, 2015 ~ A Madison Mom

April 10, 2015 ~ The Power of Family

April 11, 2015 ~ Book Club Sisters

April 12, 2015 ~ Steph's Reads & Reviews

April 13, 2015 ~ Espacular Aiesa

April 14, 2015 ~ Kelley Crandall - Exclusive Interview

April 15, 2015 ~ Sanity is for Those Without Children

April 16, 2015 ~ Cali's Book Reviews

April 17, 2015 ~ Amethyst Eyes - Author Interview

April 18, 2015 ~ Book Launch Event

April 19, 2015 ~ Radio Commercials Recap

April 20, 2015 ~ Deal Sharing Aunt

April 21, 2015 - Book Lover Reviews

April 22, 2015 ~ Totally Addicted to Reading

April 23, 2015 ~ Dragon Knight's Book Promotions - Book Excerpt

April 24, 2015 ~ Katie Jenkins - Interview

April 25, 2015 ~ Manic Mama of 3

April 26, 2015 ~ Tour Closes - Sum UP

Now for the Author's Giveaway!!
10 Winners, Choice of Book with 130 Authors to Choose From!
One Grand Prize ~ The Other Side of Quiet Tour Giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Videos by O

Get out the popcorn!
We have something fun for you today, (hard work aside).

Ever wanted a book trailer? Even tried to make one? Yeah...I know, me too. 
Well, maybe, just maybe, I have the perfect solution for you.

Let's meet "O". 
No, no...not Oprah, Opal!
Hmm, OK, I will see if I can get a better shot to introduce you to today's guest.

Could you share a little about yourself and how you started making book trailers? A number of years ago I worked for a very small non-profit and they wanted videos for their website but we were on a I started playing and began making all their videos. One of which won a contest and appeared on the Pursuit Channel. (Admit it, that's cool!)

How much of your life is set aside for this work? Between actually making the videos and promoting the videos and myself I set aside about 6 hours a day. So basically, remove lunch and 2 union breaks, and that's pretty close to full time.

Could you tell us a little about the process when it comes to creating these clips? The first thing I do is lay out the text that has been selected to appear in the clip. THEN I move to music. After that it’s all about the images and timing. (Pssst, readers, she says that as if it compares to picking out a pair of socks in the morning! Raise your hand if you have had to write a blurb, or describe your book in 5 sentences...yeah, reality check.)
How difficult is it to grasp the author’s vision and set it to a short clip? Depends. Most authors are really great about sharing their vision for the video. Occasionally one or two just aren’t really sure what they want it to look like so I just run with it and we change anything they don’t like
Hoping they don't pull a full switch on you. you know...about the music, yeah, not what I had in mind. Oh, and those few clips, hmmm, maybe more on the line of...  O_o 

Do you try to read the books you create trailers for? I do not try to read the books for a number of reasons. 1. I simply do not have the time to read them all no matter how much I want to. 2. Readers haven’t read the book either and if the trailer can pull them in and make them WANT to read it...I have done my job Wow, now that's a cool way to look at it, as opposed to trying to create a resume without giving anything away.

Is there a message behind the video story you create? Is it something the author asks for? Sometimes, yes there is, but not always. I have had several videos where the authors had very specific ideas and messages they wanted to convey and they were FANTASTIC about giving me enough info to bring their message to life. 
How much information do you require to create a book trailer? How detailed is the information you ask for or receive from the author? I ask for taglines, blurbs (or text if they want it different than the blurb) I ask for music feel and ANY other information that the author feels lends to the book. The authors have always been WONDERFUL about providing me with plenty of info J

How do you go about finding or choosing video clips and music for these trailers? I have several thousand downloaded to my big work computer but if I can’t find what I need there I search the database of my video and music subscription place Now wouldn't that be nice to have access to... 

Could you tell us how you go about putting the lot together? I remember using Adobe Pro, which had 90 layers of video and 90 layers of audio…a little daunting when you have never used it. The programs I use layer also and depending on how much action I have going on as to how many layers there have to be. Sometimes it gets pretty hairy J When I have 10 layers to make one scene it can get tricky making sure the timing, fades and placements are all in the right spots J
 (Which is why I have turned to O for her help...)

What was your first trailer, and how does it differ from what you create now? My very first book trailer was basic....I’m talking VERY basic. It was nothing more than the cover, blurb and music. THEN I found a stock place where I could get clips and backgrounds and everything changed J I am still learning tips and tricks, new methods and ways to do things and I am ALWAYS excited to keep learning new techniques.

How much of an impact do you find book trailers make on the sales of books? As with ANY form of promo or swag it’s not that a trailer will sell books FOR is simply another form of advertising that you can use to promote and advertise your book. They work well when you are on book tour or blog hops. EVEN if you just want to see if blogs will “spotlight” your trailer. EVERYONE is looking for new ways to reach readers and sometimes a short punchy trailer on a blog hop works better than a guest blog or spotlight. Mix it up when you set up your tours. Don’t JUST have guest blogs or interviews. Add in cover and trailer spotlights to keep your stops fresh J
Now make sure you have all taken note on that! 

How do you handle marketing your work? Do you have a plan, a publicist or just take one day at a time? I really just take it one day at a time. I make connections and network A LOT! Plus I offer a referral program J If you refer 5 new clients to me and they make a purchase.....YOU get a free video J I also have monthly giveaways on my Facebook page J

This is a screenshot from USA Today,
they were showcasing a book and this clip shows the trailer made for it by O.
Do you have any advice for authors who attempt to create their own trailers? Don’t be scared to try something new. Don’t be scared to ask for help or tips from others J When I first started making trailers VERY few people used video or moving backgrounds. I wanted to be different so I found a stock place I could afford and made it happen.
Static images can be a challenge when you don't know what your layering with audio in the mix...You Go Girl!

Could you tell us what you’re working on now? LOL I have 7 videos that I am currently working on as well as some action effects for a commercial for a publisher J

I want to see them!

OK, so now that you just HAVE to see O's videos, I have included the links to her creations.

You can hook up with her HERE

Did you get that popcorn ready? Because now we can sit back and watch all of her trailers, teasers and so forth. (Just click on the YouTube link above).