Interview of The Week
TC Slonaker – The Angelmen Series
We are waiting for more blog hosts for this author.Sign-ups HERE
Let’s know her better and see what she has to say.Welcome Tracy and thank you for taking your time to answer my questions.
Tell us your latest news?
The second book of my Angelmen series, Asher of the Angelmen, was released last month! Because this one is my favorite of the first four, I am really hoping it does well.
When and why did you begin writing?
I started out writing children’s picture books, but don’t look for them on the shelves. None made it to publication. When I was a teacher (about 15 years ago), I read books to my class that just seemed to be ridiculously simple ideas. I knew I could come up with something like that. I wrote 14 books and rotated them between as many publishers as I thought might give me a chance.
In my research, I realized that picture book publication is one of the hardest “genres” to break into. So I thought maybe I should start with “older” books and work my way down.
Opening my mind to possibilities, I realized I had to write what I liked. While I had been building distance in my running, I had been listening to the Chronicles of Narnia on my iPod. It fascinated me. I loved the idea of making up creatures such as a faun, which was half goat, half man. So I searched my brain for what I wanted to create. That task was not easy.
Another thing I liked about Chronicles of Narnia was how it was allegorically teaching about the Bible. As soon as I decided to make that my mission as well, I felt like God gave me my idea. I didn’t have to make up a new kind of creature, I just had to use a mystery God had already made for us. The fun of the Angelmen – or Nephilim as they are really known – began right there.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I guess I was too nervous to admit that I was a writer until I received my first publishing contract. Everyone writes, right? The contract made it officially a profession.
What inspired you to write your first book?
If we look at this book as part of a whole five-part story, I can tell you that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was the inspiration. It was my desire to tell a more modern-day story about a sacrifice to make the idea become real to others.
How did you come up with the title?
The name is, of course, from the main character. However, the word “Angelmen” is a word I came up with to set my work apart from anything written specifically for fans of Nephilim. I figured a majority of my readers would never have heard of Nephilim, but they might be interested in the idea of an angel-man crossbreed.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The overall idea of the series is that the angelmen are not really humans, and therefore, they cannot enter heaven in the same way. Just as humans required a Sacrifice (given by Jesus), the angelmen need a sacrifice too, to attain their salvation. Their sacrifice will have to be a little different because there was never, and never will be another like Jesus. However, the story has to be comparable to Christ’s sacrifice, and it is meant to get the reader to really feel for Jesus in what He gave and why.
Asher, as with the other three prequels, helps to draw the reader into the life of one of the characters. After reading the first four books, the reader will likely have a favorite – someone they hope will not have to be the Sacrifice.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Well, obviously, the Bible is my first inspiration. After that, I take my awe from other Christian writers. As I mentioned, C.S. Lewis was the first author whose work I wished to emulate. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote similar style books which I enjoyed. More current authors I have enjoyed are Tim LaHaye /Jerry B. Jenkins in their Left Behind series, and Frank Peretti.
What book are you reading now?
I am actually in the midst of two books. I started reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. That’s a fascinating book. It’s amazing how much you can learn about God from the perspective of the demons.
I had to put aside Screwtape Letters because The Book Thief came in for me at the library. If you want to see imagery at its absolute finest, this is the book to read.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I have lately enjoyed works by Richard Paul Evans.
What are your current projects?
I already have 7 of the Angelmen books written. The 8th will be a prequel, if I can make it work. In that book, we will go back to the time that the Angelmen were created, seeing Asher, Amity, Malachi, and Caedmon’s true parents. I have some surprises in store relating to familial relationships between a few of them, as well as other characters we have seen throughout the later books. What I love about this book is that the main character is one of the fallen angels – one of the demons. How often do you get to root for a demon?
Outside of the Angelmen books, I have a few other novels begun. I loved writing Asher so much, that I am writing another book about an athlete. This time, it’s a baseball player. I also have another book about demons entering into the human world. I guess I just have a thing for good vs. bad!
Do you see writing as a career?
Sure, and it’s the perfect career who doesn’t mind not getting a paycheck. Seriously, though, it requires dedication. I am blessed to be able to focus on writing along with a part time job at my church, and taking care of home and family.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing is the fun part. The next step is to go through the editing process. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph you wrote to your presumed perfection (I mean, the publisher accepted it, didn’t they?) goes under scrutiny. And you wind up having to change just about every sentence? Back to failure.
Then, once the book is out, you have to market it and get people to want to buy it. That has been the absolute hardest part because I am not a very good salesperson.
Everything after writing the book really is hard, but it is like metal going through the purifying process. You have to burn away the ugly dirt to get the beautiful product.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I feel like I have had a 4-year degree-worthy education in proper use of the English language for novels from my editors. Beyond that, I can’t even begin to say how much I have learned about the publishing process. I am so glad I was accepted by a publisher and didn’t have to go through it alone.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t give up on your queries to publishers and agents! They are professionals and can improve your work immensely.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Each of the first four prequels tells a different story and has a different writing style. But each one is important to get to know each character. How they interact in the fifth book, and how you feel about it, will depend on how well you know them. You’ll love how it turns out. Make sure you have some tissues.
Do you remember the first book you read?
Yes! It was a Curious George ABC book. I remember it was exactly 76 pages (so there was more to it than just ABC’s). That was when I was 5 years old. In second grade, I had moved up to my first chapter book – Lassie Come Home. I wanted a collie in the worst way.
Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I’m drawn to competition. I love to play softball and racquetball, ride my bike and run, and watch (American) football.
What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I really don’t have a lot of time for TV these days, though I don’t miss my favorite sports if I can help it. I do watch a lot of movies, though. My favorites lately are the superhero-type and sci-fi movies. Really, though, I have so many favorite movies, it’s tough to choose.
If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
I was a teacher before I was a writer. There are many parts of that occupation that I still enjoy, but writing is my first love.
Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
I have 5 blogs, which can all be found on my website, www.tcslonaker.com. If asked, I would welcome someone else’s posts here. I see my blogs as my main way to drive traffic to my website. These are the blogs I write:
Passion Under Grace – This is my main blog, where I tackle bigger topics affecting my daily life. A post might be about parenting, writing, beauty, exercise, faith. But the topics are usually a little controversial, which is why I ask for grace in the title. I try to write here once a week.
Woman on Sports – This is where I write about my favorite sports topics, mostly NFL football. I don’t get too detailed, and I try to point out things that you don’t see on ESPN, like how I feel like I can judge how good a team is by their bodies’ physical appearance at the beginning of the season. Mostly, I write in this blog once a month or so during football season, and a little during baseball season.
What’s on My iPod – I like to analyze some of my favorite songs on here. Just so you get to know me and my taste in music.
CDO Writer – I am very quirky, and yes, I have been told by a professional that likely have OCD, or at least OCD tendencies. They drive me insane and mostly revolve around the idiotic notion that odd numbers are bad, very very bad. I’ve written a few posts here to explain some of these weird leanings, mostly to amuse you normal people. I need to make sure I always have an even number of these posts, so I won’t write here again until I come up with 2 more ideas.
Tracy’s Top Ten – This is just a funny list-based blog because sometimes we need to not be so serious. I try to post here once a month or so.
Don’t forget to sign up for her blog tour here.