Author Page: Tinatsu Wallace

[photopress:tinatsu.jpg,thumb,alignleft]Tinatsu Wallace has spent the last two years migrating along the Pacific Coast. She hopes to settle in the Pacific Northwest soon, preferably with her husband and cat. To feed her bank account, she works as a visual effects artist for film. She’s a graduate of the 2006 Clarion West workshop. This is her first fiction sale. To learn more about Tinatsu, please visit her website.

Her story Chimera and Qi appears in the Spring 2008 issue of Shimmer.


Where did the idea come from?
The idea for the story came from observing some, um, friends who have difficult relationships with their mothers and marveling over how these otherwise lovely, personable women could transmute into nasty beasties by mere proximity to their moms. This was a strange phenomenon for me since I, of course, have a wonderful relationship with my mom, who never tells me what I should be doing with my life.

How did the story change as you developed it?
The original draft was written in a rush during my second week at Clarion West (an all-nighter just before the story was due), so there wasn’t much time for “developing” the idea, although I believe in my first conception of it, the setting was more fantastical and the mom was an actual witch. But I find that when I’m crunched for time, I tend to use more contemporary settings, since it saves me the work of concocting a whole world of my own.

You know the advice “Sometimes you have to kill your darlings.” Was there a scene or line that it really hurt to cut, but cutting it made the story stronger?
I don’t get emotionally attached to parts of my stories; they’re all ripe for the axe. I’m cruel that way. (Or just indecisive. I’m not sure which.) In my convoluted writing process, almost everything gets cut at some point so it’s hard to keep track of the missing entrails.

How is this story like your other work? How is it different?
What interests me when I’m writing a story is exploring a relationship between characters, and this story is pretty typical of that. However, this story is atypical in that it made it off my hard drive and winged its way through a round of submissions.

Questions About Writing:

What writing projects are you presently working on?
I’m currently slogging through revisions on a backlog of unfinished stories to clear them off my plate, so I can start work on a fantasy-romance novel and a graphic novel script.

Favorite book you’ve read recently?

What fictional character would you love to drink tea with?
Either Elizabeth Bennett or the Shrike

How long had you been submitting before you made your first sale?
Six months. (This is my first sale!)

How did you celebrate your first sale?
I bought two books on writing comics. And ate cheesecake.

Random Questions:

If you had a working time machine what advice would you give a younger self?
Eat less cheesecake. And don’t worry so much about making mistakes–we’ll have time machines to go back and fix things.

What do you want to be when you grow up?
Young again.

Quiz: How many writers does it take to change a lightbulb? Please explain your answer.
Only one, but how long it takes to change the bulb depends on what kind of writer they are. A romance writer asks her true love to change the bulb, but when a innocent miscommunication leaves her stranded in the dark, she rises to the occasion in a blaze of self-empowerment to change it herself. A horror writer will relish the darkness until he feels a tickle along his spine that could be an itch–or a tentacle of Cthulu. A mystery writer needs to investigate the source of the outage and interview the other members of the house to deduce who’s to blame before the evidence can be tampered with. A science fiction writer will get the bulb changed fairly quickly but then start rewiring the house with alternate lighting sources, because lightbulbs are so yesterday. And fantasy writers take the longest–what starts out as a simply task to the supply closet turns into an epic quest in which the fate of the empire rests on obtaining the One Bulb. Of course, mainstream literary writers never change the bulb at all; they just muse about the transient nature of light and kvetch about the darkness.

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Speculative fiction for a miscreant world

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