Please give us your website addy, a list of your books and a short bio.
I don’t have an official site but my blog is at tanithdavenport.blogspot.com. My debut novel The Hand He Dealt was released in June 2011 and in print in September 2011. I also write for Hitting the Hot Spot and Erotic Diaries, am co-editor for a regional magazine, and spend a lot of time working on short stories and my next novel-length piece.
How do you usually come up with a story idea? Dreams? Writer’s journal? Eavesdropping on conversations? Newpaper?
All of the above, although I will admit that dreams are my main inspiration. I tend to have very vivid dreams, which give me the opportunity of living through the more emotional scenes of my stories and also provide me with the more interesting twists.
Who or what inspires you when your creative mojo is lagging?
I listen to music. I’ve always wished I had the ability to write songs; a good song can inspire emotion so well, and I can honestly say I’ve been moved to tears by music far more often than by writing.
Who is your Yoda—your seasoned mentor?
Nobody yet, but I’m open to applications.
What importance do you place on writing workshops? What workshops would you recommend to us?
Probably the most important workshop I attended was How To Get Published which the Writers’ Workshop held in London, as it was there that I met a book doctor whose advice contributed to my first novel being accepted for publication. I would also recommend the York Festival of Writing, which has a quite remarkable selection of workshops and pitch sessions available.
What person would you like to thank for inspiring you in your writing aspirations? How did this person help you?
That would be the above mentioned book doctor, Debi Alper. At the time I was trying to pitch my debut novel as women’s fiction. She advised me to pitch it as erotica instead, and four months later Total-e-Bound had offered me a contract. I did email her through her website to thank her and she responded with more guidance on marketing my work, which I’ve taken on board.
Have you ever used songs for inspiration?
All the time, in fact. The vast majority of stories I write will have at least one song underscoring it. I find music to be a great inspiration for the emotional side of writing.
Do you play music when you write? If so, what kind? Or, do you have to have silence or background noise to set your writing muse free?
Not usually while I write - I find it puts me off. I play music before I write to put me in the right mood, but I like to focus entirely on what I'm doing, be it listening or writing.
Do you read in a different genre than you write? If yes, why? If you read in the same genre that you write, do you feel that it influences your writing in any way?
I read in many different genres. Oddly enough, most of the erotica I read is gay erotica, even though I don't tend to write it. I think it's because if I'm reading for enjoyment - so to speak - I prefer to picture men, while if I'm writing, I need to be writing from a female point of view.
What is your process from idea to first draft?
I write a brief outline with hooks to hang the story on, sketch a few characters, then dive straight in. As I go I tend to write story plans so I know where I'm going but frequently these will end up in the bin - I got through four plans on The Hand He Dealt. I've never been very good at just writing - I edit as I go, but never too much, so there's always plenty left to do when I finish.
Have you ever given assistance to a struggling new writer? Has another writer ever come to your aide? How?
I haven't had chance to give assistance to a new writer yet, as I'm still a very new writer myself. I have, however, been given guidance by some fellow writers for Total-e-Bound, invited into some private writing groups and had work requested by friends of fellow writers, all of which I'm very thankful for. Should the chance arise, I would be very happy to help out anyone I could.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
Getting my debut novel published. It's a dream come true for me - I had been working on it for three years and knew how difficult it would be for a new writer to get a contract, so I owe a lot to Total-e-Bound for giving me that opportunity.
If you won the big lottery, what would you do with the money? Would give any of it to charity? If so, which one?
Travel the world and buy a pink Cadillac Eldorado. Some of it would also go to Macmillan Cancer Support, who were a great help to my family during my father’s terminal illness.
What is the best advice you want to give to a new writer?
Keep at it, finish the book - which many people don't do - and use all the resources you can find. I would never have got published if not for associations like the RNA or sites like BubbleCow.
If you could choose an animal for a mascot, what animal would it be? What do you admire about this animal? Do you feel you have qualities similar to this animal? If so, what are they?
A cat. They do what they want, are constantly demanding, and yet are charismatic enough that everybody adores them. Those are qualities I don't have, sadly, but wish I did. My cat rules our house - he owns the place, we just live in it.
If money, education and fear factors were set aside, what three careers would you like to attempt other than writing?
For years I wanted to go into acting, so that would definitely be one career I'd like to try. I also would have enjoyed being a professional singer - I once had hopes of going into musical theatre and am classically trained, but sadly I can't dance, which is fairly necessary when starting out.
On a less glitzy level, I always fancied joining the RAF and becoming a pilot. I have various medical conditions which would have made that impossible, one of which being terrible eyesight - I've had laser eye surgery which has helped, but it left a scar on my cornea which means I still doubt I would pass the relevant eye tests.
If money, talent and fear were no object, what big adventure would you like to have?
I would like to take a driving tour of America. It might have to involve a few plane hops, since I'm told in some states you can drive for three days in a straight line and see nothing but one road and some grass, but it's something I've always wanted to do. I'm currently living vicariously through Billy Connolly on his "Route 66" show.
What characteristics do you like to instill in your heroes? What characteristics do you feel are necessary for a good heroine?
In heroes, they need to be playful, adventurous and strongly masculine - I like to feel protected by a man, so that tends to come out in my heroes. Heroines need to be strong, intelligent and, most importantly, likeable, even when they're doing completely the wrong thing; you have to want them to get back onto the right path.
If you had the power to change two things in the world, what would those two things be?
The attitude towards erotica writers - I get tired of defending myself, of this assumption that we're all filthy whores, as if thriller writers go around committing murder and horror writers do ghastly things in private. And, on a lesser level, I'd make it more pleasant to fly on a plane. I love to travel, but I'm such a terrible flyer that by the time I get off the plane I look like my passport photo.
If could have a super power for a day, what would it be? Why?
I've often thought I would like to be able to freeze time. Partially this is because I never have enough time to do all I want to do, and partially because when someone gets on my nerves I have a sudden urge to freeze everything and pour a drink over their head.