If you could change time to save your first love—even if it meant turning your back on the universe—would you?
It is time for the Vechey youth to earn their place as time-guardians. The near-immortal Vechey protect the universe from the devastating Manipulators—devourers of souls, mindless seekers of chaos. First, the youth must survive a mysterious and deadly ritual created by the all-powerful clan leader Eterili. Having regenerated thousands of times with the birth of each universe, Eterili is taking this one as hers and bending all in it to her grand designs.
Catha’s time-slipping skills are underdeveloped. She is time-blind—unable to see through time, unable to protect herself from the ritual. The Vechey shun her for being different. Her parents ignore her as if she were already dead.
Aithagg loves Catha unconditionally and will do anything to save her. He tries desperately to unlock the ritual’s mysteries and find a way to help Catha survive with him. Or will saving Catha enable the Manipulators to destroy the universe?
- When and where do you prefer to write?
The when is the most important to me. For 22 weeks out of the year I work as a part-time professor or I am on the holiday break. It is during this time that I do the bulk of my writing. During the other weeks I work as a complete FULL time professor where there is little to no room for writing. But there are, at times, moments for editing, making marketing material, doing virtual blog-tour interviews, etc. Though, I’m always thinking about writing and what’s next when I’m not thinking about grading, lectures, or University events.
The where? Ah, I prefer to write while at home. Home is a small place in the woods, overlooking a valley, with a Bunn coffee pot (which brews a pot in 3 minutes), furry dogs, and I can wear sweatpants. However, I write while in planes traveling for the University. I love the long flights overseas the most. I also tend to “discuss” finer plot points or character traits with my characters when I commute to campus (2.5 hours to the city and 3 hours back if I miss the traffic window.) Also, I have found that long motorcycle rides always net a conversation with a character that goes something like, “If I put you through XYZ—what would you do?” or “What type of trama do you have in your past?”
I used to think that was crazy but have come to accept talking to my characters as part of the writing process.
My day job? I teach animation. So, it’s all in the same area – create interesting characters, put them in a situation, tell or show the story of what happened.
- Do you have a certain ritual?
Everything in my life is ritual based. Some call it OCD, others efficiency…
When I write non-fiction I task myself to a chapter a month with an added month in the schedule for “nothing”—when something will break, or I just won’t feel like it, or something throws me off schedule.
For fiction—I’ve found that I think about the setting, world, basic outline, and characters during the early summer while on motorcycle rides; research and read books in the genre in the fall during my commute to work; finalize the outline by October, then blurt out the rough draft in Novel November; write more at a slower pace in December; edit gently from January–June; edit harshly the following summer, and turn it into the publisher by September. That said, I MAY slow down just slightly this next year to write in a new genre. The rough draft that I have needs to be revamped and one of the characters given more meat.
- Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
I’d be lying if I don’t say that I am fuelled by coffee, red wine, whiskey (neat), and cigars.
- What is your favourite book?
The book I can read over and over again is Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. I once tried to read all of his books consecutively. I would not advise it. I became terribly depressed. I was once on a 2 hour flight from Atlanta to DC that turned into a 14 hour fiasco including refuelling in Ohio, for some reason. I had a paperback version of the book and highlighted, made notes, and otherwise defaced the whole book with the symbolism and things I loved in it. I never even looked up. A passenger on the plan said to me, after the 14 hours, “You must be a librarian.” I have never received such a wonderful compliment.
- Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
Oh yes. I’ve never read anything because of its genre. Therefore I tend to write cross-genre. I’m realising now that thrillers are possibly my favourite. And horror. And suspense. Detective stories. And Sci-fi. Not high-fantasy, oddly enough. But I’ll read it. I tend to get ticked off at the characters and dialogue too much.
- Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
I’ll steal speaking patterns and mannerisms from people, things I don’t even think they know about themselves. There are a handful of people probably very worried that they will show up in my books. Maybe one day. Mostly the characters spring to life in front of me. Maybe how they hold their coffee cup, or the type of wine they like to drink, or the mannerisms they make when they are talking remind me of someone I might have met. I studied animation and worked with animators for years. Now I teach animation. We. Study. People. Oh, yes.
- Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
Yes. I tend to start with an outline in a sketchbook and idea fragments. Eventually, I work that into word documents on the computer.
- Which genre do you not like at all?
Romance. I just can’t. I’ve tried for research. I get notes from my readers: please, more sex. Show more details. Maybe I’ll get there. It’s why I chose YA for this one and my next thriller’s character is ACE.
- If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
That’s a tough question. Cormac McCarthy for his ability to describe a mountain sunset 5,000 ways. Koontz for his snappy dialogue. Chelsea Quinn Yarboro (Who I’ve met for a full 5 minutes and it is such a highlight!) for her amazing research. But co-write a book with one person…H.P. Lovecraft. He kept writing and writing and writing even though he was unknown his whole life. I would love to write with him. This might be a naive thought. I do not know much about him but am amazed at how much he wrote and how he kept going even though no one read him while he was alive.
- If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
I have been SO fortunate to have travelled to so many countries, thanks to my employers—be it when I was in the software industry, the animation industry, or in academia. For just pure research, and no work to get in the way, I’d go back to Ireland to see the caves, talk to the people, and see the farms. Do you know there are no vampire tales originating from Ireland? I think that’s odd. Of course, my next novels will not have vampires. I’m done with that, for now.
Thank you, Tina O’Hailey and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
Tina O’Hailey is a professor in animation and game programming, caver and occasional mapper of grim, wet, twisty caves (if she owes a friend a favor or loses a bet), whose passion is to be secluded on a mountain and to write whilst surrounded by small, furry dogs and hot coffee. Tina was once struck by lightning.
She has served as an artistic trainer for Walt Disney Feature Animation, Dreamworks and Electronic Arts. Any movie credit she has is minimal and usually found in the special thanks section. The meager credits do not account for the great honor it was to teach talented artists who worked on numerous feature films and games.
She has authored animation textbooks “Rig it Right” and “Hybrid Animation” published by Focal Press and the Darkness Universe novels “Absolute Darkness” and “When Darkness Begins” published by Black Rose Writing.
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