Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with science fiction and YA author Rayner Tapia. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Rayner. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Rayner: Hello Morgen, Thank you for your time. My name is Rayner Tapia I am 37 years of age.
I am an ex-lecturer / teacher in IT Computers. I live in London with my family. I stumbled into writing accidently from comment by a head teacher. I suggested I write the end of term school play, which I did. I designed and wrote the entire script dramatized all the props and music. Everything was a success. What then began as a ‘throw away comment materialised into a significant life changer at the time’. My book was born.
Morgen: How wonderful. That’s how I ended up taking over a writing group! What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Rayner: All my books at the moment are sci-fiction fantasy based. They are all fast paced and riddled with intrigue. As this series is juvenile sci-fiction fantasy adventure. My next series will be for adults and have a romantic suspense genre. Let’s wait and see.
Morgen: I look forward to it. What have you had published to-date?
Rayner: I have three books published from the series:
- The Adventures of Tom McGuire. The first was released in 2009 The Bard of Typhoeusina. This won an award from The British Hafta Society, which took place in the ICC in Birmingham. The Award was presented by Aston University Dean Chancellor M Graham Hooley.
- The Second book, ‘Morkann’s Revenge’ was released in 2010 and I felt was the best of two.
- Now in 2012 January 9th I released my book The Dream Catcher. This has won the Best Juvenile Fiction book across North America for 2012. For me this is a turning point. If you like I feel a message from God to continue pursuing my dream.
Morgen: Congratulations. Do you write under a pseudonym?
Rayner: I don’t any pseudonym, as I like my name.
Morgen: I don’t blame you. It’s a very Googleable name, which is important (sorry any writers called John Smith reading this). You’ve self-published, what lead to you going your own way?
Rayner: To be honest I had never heard of self-published books, just thought one had to go through the normal publisher route. However, I learnt very quickly. It’s a lot of hard work, no kidding! Someone, I feel who is self-published genuinely wants to write and they yearn for their book content to be adored. It’s a passion.
Morgen: It certainly is a learning curve, for eBooks anyway, although once you know how to do it, it’s not that scary. I created a page on the blog describing the process (How to create an eBook). Are your books available as eBooks?
Rayner: My books are available as eBooks, Kindle books Kobo books, paperback and Hardback books.
Morgen: Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Rayner: I love my story / narrative and I love all my characters. However, perhaps the best for me is Linda. She is the Mother of the two heroes who has been relinquished to earth away from galaxy and the evil which lurks beyond. How she deals with the emotion and burden of concealing her true identity is very difficult for me as a mother of three boys.
Morgen: That just goes to show how realistic your writing must be. Did you choose the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Rayner: The whole narrative is my adventure. Everything from the names, titles to the colour schemes. I feel they are indicative of the story written. For me the colours represent auras and the names should be simple and sound everyday names. I do believe in characters from different planets and perhaps, just maybe they entwine with us humans on earth? Just a thought 🙂
Morgen: I like that thought. What are you working on at the moment / next?
Rayner: At the moment I am working on book four from the series, which I hope to release shortly.
Morgen: How exciting. Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Rayner: I wish I could go back to writing every day again. This is because I have now been diagnosed with MS. This has completely changed my perception and how I feel about everything. Sometimes I am weak and broken and I did go through a very dark stage in my life. However, I am very strong I think as my third book was near finishing I was told of the condition but I still finished it and won an amazing award. I needed that award just to make me feel it was all worth it.
Morgen: I’m sorry to hear that Rayner. You do sound like a very determined woman, and every writer needs that, and passion, which you clearly have. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Rayner: My story originated years ago. The plot evolved and grew more intense as I have matured with each stage of my life so has the series of, The Adventures of Tom McGuire.
Morgen: You mentioned Linda a moment ago, do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Rayner: I don’t have any particular method only that I try and create characters which I would befriend or try and avoid. 🙂
Morgen: Characters which we feel something about is always vital. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Rayner: I do edit, however, it is as the author to edit one’s own work very difficult so I tend to leave it to the editor.
Rayner: Absolutely, all the time! Be it reading, people watching or simple observations.
Morgen: I love that we get to people watch. What point of view do you find most to your liking?
Rayner: I prefer third person and sometimes first person.
Morgen: Do you write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Rayner: I love poetry and writing anything poetic and dramatic. I do write short stories.
Morgen: Although I’ve written (most of) six novels, short stories are my favourite format. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Rayner: I do. 😦
Morgen: Oh dear. They’re part of a writer’s learning curve. Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Rayner: Absolutely I did, I used to cry over some of these rejections. Did I feel inadequate, untalented, and hurt by some of their comments and attitude Yes. I did doubt my ability to craft my story that readers would fall in love with the way I did. I Just manoeuvred to a different position taking a different approach. Know-one is ever that good so any criticism along as it was constructive was a good thing to help me grow as a better writer. When I was one of the winners for the Best Juvenile Fiction Book across North America, I knew my narrative was liked. It was like confirmation of what I had wished all along.
Morgen: I’m so glad you got it. Even just having an email from a reader means such a lot, that they’ve taken the time to do that. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Rayner: I don’t have an agent. I wish I did, but I think sometimes agents can be impatient so to begin with maybe no but certainly an agent now would be perfect.
Morgen: There’s certainly more pressure on them nowadays, which is why some have become publishers, retired, or swapped professions… or become writers! How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Rayner: All of it. 🙂
Morgen: Me too. Most of us do. It does mean though that we get direct contact with potential readers, which is great. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Rayner: I was always told writing is a lonely profession now I realise it is very much a case of my emotions my thoughts my words when I write they come alive… That’s the least favourite part of writing. My favourite part of writing is when I am in a writing momentum and cannot be disturbed, otherwise I know I will forget the crescendo! 🙂
Morgen: The writing’s my favourite. I share a house with two lodgers so I value the time I have to myself (when they’re at work). What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Rayner: Never give up. Always stay focused. Write with your heart and your mind will follow.
Morgen: I love that. 🙂 If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Rayner: Wow, that’s a hard one, only three people? Okay, Dr Martin Luther King. I would first have to wipe my tears to hide the sadness of what he had to go through first. Then I would cook a three course meal starting with, Papaya and lime with pomegranate salad. Followed by, Thai chicken and Jasmine rice to be concluded with Banana Mexican fritters. I feel hungry already. 🙂 My next guest would be Mother Theresa. I would serve her home-made bread with carrot and coriander soup, followed by Salmon with potatoes and greens. Then just a trifle (purchased with the container thrown away). My final guest would be Mark Twain only because I think he and I would have got on I love his intelligent humour (which I don’t have). 🙂 I would serve him Pizza Express Pizza of his choice but would dish up a home-made Brochette with pesto and onions and mushrooms – yum. 🙂
Morgen: Just what I was thinking. I’d love to have met Mark Twain – so many great quotes are attributed to him. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Rayner: Logic gets you from A to B but imagination gets you everywhere! Einstein.
Morgen: Another very clever man. Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Rayner: I teach English and lecture when I am called.
Morgen: What do you do when you’re not writing?
Rayner: Relax and go to gym.
Morgen: Are there any writing-related websites that you find useful?
Rayner: The only website I make use of fully is Google. I can find anything on there.
Morgen: Isn’t it great. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Rayner: Only LinkedIn and Facebook. I find them more of a distraction when I am writing.
Morgen: LinkedIn’s probably how we met. You’re right about them being a distraction, although I find them both incredibly useful when I need a question answering; there’ll always be someone who knows something, and the interaction with other writers is great. What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Rayner: The world. Although systems are changing and we are evolving with new gadgets and technology, reading will always be a required skill. It was Thomas Jefferson who said “I cannot live without books” so I think a writer should be glad his skill will not go away in a hurry.
Morgen: I do think with all the gadgets we have, that more people are reading than ever before, and short stories will gain from that. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Rayner: www.theadventuresoftommcguire.com or http://www.booksbyrayner.wordpress.com or you can click the link from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/1466353775/ref=rdr_ext_tmb. Use Google to search my series or my name. The video for my award-winning 3rd book, The Dream Catcher is http://www.metacafe.com/watch/7847512/book_trailer_the_dream_catcher.
Morgen: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Rayner: I love words and I love writing, that’s all really.
Morgen: Oh me too. Having left school nearly 30 years ago (eek!) not knowing what I wanted to do with my life – I ended up as a secretary which is really handy for organising the blogs and my typing speed – I finally ‘found’ writing in my late 30s and knew a couple of years ago that it’s what I wanted to do with my life. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Rayner: How long have you been hosting your interviews? Why did you start? Are you an author Morgen, if so which types of books do you write and why? What is your favourite genre?
Morgen: I started these in June 2011, three months after the blog started, because I’d been invited to an interview and saw how much fun they were (and so much easier than podcast interviews I was doing at the time) Thank you, Rayner.
I then invited Rayner to include a synopsis of her latest book…
It seems just like any other ordinary autumn morning. The old Redwood Coast tree just appeared from no-where with the glistening of an old Dream Catcher hanging from the twisted branch with a silver spider web shimmering it’s a silent call. Surely they were there before? James now mesmerized, is lured into an obscure galaxy. Once in the unknown land a fiery display spills out Xle-Ha (zelha). He is a perilous and ferocious character set out to snatch back the Dream Catcher, which James proudly carries. James’s mission now begins to slowly unravel. He is assisted by his brother Tom and with the many strange characters that reside on the land. However, they are frequently tormented by Morkann with her army of Ghouls. The boys are never too far away from any destruction Morkann is able to cause. She is ruthless in her pursuit to avenge back the land. There are many battles, which ensue some are riddled with intense emotion.
Rayner Tapia has won the NABE Book achievements for 2012 for her new Book, The Dream Catcher, under the category ‘ Best Juvenile Fiction 2012’. Rayner is an author who lives in London England with her young family. She has worked in many large financial institutions in training IT systems. She later began teaching in various colleges and schools. She has a passion for aiding young youth in learning. Rayner, by her own admission is a work – alcoholic. She loves the English language, and some of her favourite books are Great Expectations, The Happy Prince and there are many other classics she is fond of. Rayner says ‘writing her sci-fi, fantasy books were a dream come true’. The ability to empower someone, with words is a gift from God’. Happy reading.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on the main blog) is free.
If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have this blog, https://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com, on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
** NEW!! You can now subscribe to the main blog on your Kindle / Kindle app!
or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008E88JN0 for outside the UK **
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything. You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my Books (including my debut novel, which is serialised on Novel Nights In!) and I also have a blog creation / maintenance service especially for, but not limited to, writers. If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating and choose an optional free eBook.
For writers / readers willing to give feedback and / or writers wanting feedback, take a look at the main blog’s Feedback page.
As I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. I welcome items for critique for the online writing groups, and their associated Facebook groups, listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
We look forward to reading your comments.