All authors featured on Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar have at least one title to their name. Some have two, and some have a few more. Today, we find ourselves in the presence of an individual who has penned far more than a couple of novels. A quick visit to her page on Goodreads will reveal that she has eighty-four books to her name. (Eighty-four! What an accomplishment!) Of course, I am talking about none other than Barbara G. Tarn.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello, my name is Barb, and I’m write-a-holic! Since I’m an ESL writer, I also like to make up words like the above! Sooo, about me. Born in Rome, Italy, over half a century ago and unfortunately still stuck there, but looking forward to moving to a more civilized country, such as Iceland! I’m self-taught for almost everything, writing included… I started writing in English around ten years ago, when I attempted the conquest of Hollywood through screenplays because I thought they were easier to write. Not. So I went back to my first love, prose, and since 2011 I’m indie published. I’m trying the hybrid way this year by sending short stories to traditional markets.
2. When did you start writing?
My first story (drawings included) dates back to 1978. It’s awful if I read it again now, of course, but well… one must start somewhere, right? The first indie published books were translations of my “backlist” – the Books of the Immortals, the Chronicles of the Varian Empire, the Amazon stories were all originally written in the 20th century or beginning of the 21st. Same goes for the first book of Star Minds, Technological Angel, originally written in 2002 and revised and published in English in 2012, spawning a science fantasy series. Since 2015 I’m more oriented towards new and original works, starting the series Vampires through the centuries (historical fantasy) and maybe writing a few more body switches (the first being a former screenplay, but the other two are original stories). From 2017 I plan to write only original stories. Enough toying with old stuff! 🙂
3. Do you recall the moment you first conceived the idea for your latest novel, The Path of Air?
The Path of Air (Quests Book 3) is part of a five-book “mini series” set on Silvery Earth, but like with all my other series, the books in the aforementioned set are actually standalones. In The Path of Water (Quests Book 1), I had a maimed Sila – that’s my winged beings of Silvery Earth. Not really angels, since they have feathered wings the color of their hair and can also have brown skin. That’s the case of Talullah, formerly known as Winged Talullah, who has black hair and brown skin. We barely meet her in Quests 1 and are introduced to her Human husband and two children. I thought her story would be fun to write – how she came to lose her wings and live on the ground with a Human – but then her daughter took over… So Book 3 is 15 years later, and the little girl is now nineteen. The original vision of Talullah’s story never came out, but her daughter’s story is now for the whole world to read. Here’s the blurb.
“Sayla is the best archer of her hometown, thanks also to her keen eyesight that allows her to see the Sila flying over, too distant for normal Human eyes. When her maimed Sila mother hints to the fact that she was actually born with wings, she leaves her hometown to go looking for other winged beings and get in touch with her Sila blood.
A journey of self-discovery for Sayla and her best friend Keenan who is also madly in love with her and ready to do everything to give her back her wings. Eagles, hawks and other birds of prey help them along the way, until they discover the hidden past of Sayla’s parents.
The north-east of Varia seen through the eyes of two young people leaving home for the first time.”
4. Using five words or less, describe the protagonist in The Path of Air.
Sayla is a keen-eyed wonder girl (Keenan calls her My Wonder Girl)
5. What does a typical writing session look like for you?
I have a part-time day job, so mornings are out, unless it’s weekends. So mostly my writing is done in the afternoon. Late at night I’m usually too tired. Sometimes I might write after dinner, but usually I don’t have any strength left by that time. I don’t listen to music as I write, only as I draw. I don’t need to be in a specific place. Since I grew up in the age of the typewriter, I used to write longhand my first drafts up to 2014. In 2015 my brother gave me his old netbook, so I switched to just typing (I’m a typist, so I use 10 fingers) and could keep count of words written. I wrote 400K words in 2015, 460K in 2016, still short of my goal of “half pulp speed” (500K per year). Hopefully this year I’ll reach that goal! 🙂 I don’t need to set daily goals because I know that if I stop for a week or two I always resume. Last October I went almost four weeks without writing (included a 14 days trip to India when I really couldn’t write, not even on a notebook, so I only kept a travel journal) and really missed it! That’s also why I never did NaNoWriMo. I’m in the habit of writing all year long. I’m married to Mr Writing! 😉
6. How do you feel about outlines? Are you for or against them?
I have very loose outlines and prefer improvising. Sometimes outlines are necessary when you write historical fantasy (even if the history is that of a secondary world that is not Earth, I mean). I just need to jot down events, but then I mostly improvise. I like writing in the dark. And that’s also why I can never tell beforehand how long the story will be.
7. Any project in the works?
Quests Book 4 is going to the editor at the end of the month, then I have to write Book 5. I also need to revise and bundle some short stories about Star Minds third generation that are still unpublished.
8. How long does it usually take you to write a book?
Let’s call it “story”, since, like I said, I never know how long the story will be. I can write a short story in two days. My average length is between 30K and 60K and if I don’t get distracted, I can write them in a month or less. I do clean first drafts now that I can cycle back and revise while I’m writing (something that I used to do when typing the story in the computer when I wrote longhand). So it’s even quicker than it used to be! 🙂
And now for a game of “Which (Do/Would) You Prefer?”
1. Books or movies?
2. Summer or winter?
3. Ebook or physical book?
Novels as ebooks, non-fiction, comics & artbooks as physical books
4. Nights out or nights in?
IN thank you! 🙂
5. Having telepathy or having telekinesis?
6. Being able to travel to the past or being able to travel to the future?
Good question. I’ll stick to the present for now.
7. Making a phone call or sending a text?
8. Travelling by car or travelling by airplane?
The fastest way…
9. Staying in a hotel or going camping?
Hotel, thank you
10. To find true love or to win the lottery?
Isn’t that the same thing? 😉
11. Reading or writing?
12. To speak using ONLY rap lyrics (from songs released in the 21st century) or to speak using ONLY quotes from Austen’s books?
Neither, either 80s pop or 21st century Bollywood! 😉
13. Being able to speak and understand every language known to humankind or being able to speak and understand every language known to animals?
It’s probably better talking to animals these days…
14. Going without internet access for a week or going without watching any movies/television shows for a week?
I don’t watch TV anymore, so I can live without my DVDs… but I need wi-fi!
15. Have every day be Saturday or have every day be [insert your favorite holiday here]?
Saturday is my favorite day!