Sunday, November 30, 2014

Author Interview: Tabitha Vohn: Requiem for the Fallen: Finding What Is: Tomorrow Is A Long Time

Tabitha is a pen name. Her creator is a certified bookworm, thanks to the countless fairy tales, Bible stories, and nursery rhymes she was read as a child, and the Gothic, Romantic, and Contemporary novels she enjoys today.

She has earned a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Teaching, and currently teaches high school English.

On Writing, Tabitha says, "I strive to write the type of stories that I enjoy reading. Ones that question those blurred lines between love and lust, between good and evil. Ones that make us question human nature while simultaneously seeing the beauty in it as well."

Your real name and pen name?

I’ve written this huge diatribe on my website about “why the pen name”. In short, as a public school teacher, I feel that it’s best to keep my professional life (and real identity) separate from my writing. Sadly, a fellow indie author (who mentored me through the self-publishing process) was coerced into resigning her position as a public school teacher because some students searched for her books online and proceeded on a proverbial “witch hunt” against her, involving parents, administration, and even the state board, all because they disagreed with the content of her novels and therefore didn’t approve of her as a teacher. (Yes. Things like that still happen.)
While my novels are not salacious by any means, I do deal with mature themes (such as drug use and alternative relationships) and, at this point, feel it would be best if only a small group of trusted family and friends know my real identity.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

My best memories from childhood include my mother, both grandmothers and my Pap all reading to me, Christmas Eve’s opening stockings and watching It’s a Wonderful Life, trips to my Grandparents up in the mountains (having over two hundred acres of forests to roam around in is pretty special), playing kickball with my brothers, my Dad letting me watch Rambo in my highchair and listen to rock and roll on the way home from kindergarten, and playing music as a family (we’re all very musical).

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life?

My biggest sources of inspiration are the women in my family, particularly my mom, aunt, and grandma. Also, my relationship with God influences/inspires everything I try to accomplish.

What hurts you most in this world?

I cannot abide seeing anyone or anything suffer. I hate to see feelings hurt on purpose or innocence abused or robbed; I have a high sensitivity level for neglected/abused children and animals especially. I want to adopt and care for them all.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

My biggest challenge thus far has been to overcome the panic attacks I suffered as a teenager. I can only describe them as this electric numbness that would fill my head and arms and legs, like being in shock; I’d feel unreal, terrified, and wouldn’t be able to shake it for hours. I’d usually have to sleep for many hours after an attack because the experience is so exhausting.
I found I’m very sensitive to visual stimuli and have to be careful what films in particular I expose myself to. Sometimes, I’ll even see a commercial for abused children or animals and won’t be able to get it out of my head for a long time. Overcoming the panic attacks took a lot of prayer and almost a desensitizing of myself to the things that upset me so dramatically.

What is your favorite genre and why?

My favorite genre is Gothic Romance (not “bodice ripper” romance but Romanticism). Novels like Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights fall into that category. I blame my childhood rearing on fairy tales and my predilection for sad things for my love of the genre.

When did you start writing? What is the purpose of your writing?

I’ve always been writing stories in my head, but I started writing poetry in high school (what high school girl doesn’t, right?) and only became serious about writing fiction a few years ago. I saw a music video for this musician that completely enthralled me. The same day, this story came into my head and I had to write it. It grew into the three part novella that is now Requiem For The Fallen. I sat on it for a few years and then, after getting some affirmation from readers I trusted, was brave enough to start penning the other stories that have been floating around in my head.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

So far, I’ve self-published three novels: Requiem for the Fallen, Finding What Is, and Tomorrow Is A Long Time (all available on Amazon). While the plotlines for the novels are extremely diverse, there is a common thread amongst them, in that they all deal with unorthodox relationships, with ideas of redemption and the importance of life choices, and with love in all its various forms.

What are your forthcoming writings?

Currently, I’m working on a novel that deals with relationships between family members as opposed to focusing on a love interest. It’s also about the anger and rebellion that’s birthed from trauma and from attempting to mask pain as opposed to healing oneself; something that’s beyond difficult to do.

What genres you write in and why?

I would classify my writing as Contemporary Fiction. I would like to think that my study of the craft and voracious reading of good literature have rendered my writing as “literary”, in that I strive for my stories to be well written and meaningful, not merely entertaining. But that’s up to the reader to decide.

What keeps you motivating towards writing?

Just as reading is an escape, writing is also an escape, but of a different kind. I get to create these wonderful worlds and stories and characters. It’s a rush but also a quite serene experience as well.

What is generally your preference in reading – a paper book or ebook? And why?

Definitely, I prefer paperback books. For the touch, smell, lack of battery-power requirement, ability to flip back and forth with ease; for me, there’s something very artificial about reading a book on an electronic device. But, to each his own!

How much real life goes into a fiction writing?

As much as the author is brave enough to incorporate; that’s the first thought that comes to mind. Also, I think that authors are great scavengers; we borrow pieces from life, experience, people we’ve met or know, and we make up the rest.

Your dream destination on Earth?

Like a true literary nerd, I want to see the Yorkshire Moors, and walk where Heathcliff and Catherine walked. Scotland, Japan, Germany, and Alaska are also on my list.

Your favorite time of the day?

I love dawn and dusk because they are both such peaceful times of the day.

Your zodiac/ sunsign? 

I’m a Libra.

Your favorite color and why?

Black, for its simplicity and elegance.

What is the last book you finished reading? What is the current book you are reading? 

I just finished reading John Fante’s Ask the Dust, which was beautifully written and a refreshing detour from the expatriate writings that are so common of that era. I’m currently reading an adaptation of Wuthering Heights called Catherine by April Lindner. 

Your favorite book and why? 

Wuthering Heights is my favorite novel, both for the harsh beauty of Bronte’s prose and for her rendering of love, which rings truer to me than any other discourse on love that I’ve read (ex “[Love is] a source of little visible delight, but necessary.”) There are passages I know and recite by heart that always bring tears to my eyes, and it’s linked with my memories of my late teens when I first discovered it, so it’s a highly evocative work for me as well.

Your favorite movie and why?

If I can only have one, it’s Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. When I was slogging through my twenties (FYI: thirties are so much better), I was trying to get through college, I was working as a bank teller-which was a miserable job-, I was a newlywed dealing with my husband’s split custody of his daughter…I refer to those years as my “George Bailey existence”. I feel like George’s standing on that snowy bridge, contemplating whether or not to give up, is a very relatable human experience. And I love the simple, beautiful truth of George’s revelation that he “really did have a wonderful life”, and it was things like family, friendship, and the sacrifices he made in order to impact the lives of others that made his life so wonderful. What a glorious life lesson!

Your favorite celebrity and why?

I have two actors whose characters/performances are especially dear to me. Stallone for his portrayal of Rambo (although the Rocky movies were excellent, too and I get a huge kick out of the Expendable films), and Brando, particularly for his roles in The Fugitive Kind, The Wild One, The Men, A Streetcar Named Desire, and On the Waterfront. I didn’t really get the whole Brando obsession growing up; I was a James Dean fan as a teen. But then I watched Streetcar and Fugitive Kind, and was completely enthralled by those characters and Brando’s raw performances.

What is the force that drives you?

I want to be a force for compassion in this world. I want to stand up to injustice. I want to be a peacemaker. I want the lives of the people that I come into contact with to be better/more positive because I was there.  
What comes to your mind when you think of India?
I currently correspond with a group of widows in India who are secluded into a special colony because widows are considered bad luck within the culture of this region in India and are rejected by their relatives. So when I think of India I think of my “sisters” there.  

Some quickies:
Sun or Moon, Laughter or Smile, Morning or Evening, Coffee or Tea, Mountain or Sea, Long Drive or Short Drive, Silence or Conversation, Water or Fire, Air or Earth, Mars or Jupiter, Tulip or Rose, Red or Blue, Left or Right, Glance or Stare, Fame or Money, Boy or Girl, Day or Night, Tree or Plant, Love or Passion
Sun
Laughter
 Morning
 Tea
 Mountain
Long Drive
Silence
Water
Earth
Jupiter
Rose
 Blue
 Left
Glance
Fame or Money (neither; too much negativism)
 Boy
Day
Tree
Love

What three words come to your mind for each – 
Technology(Brave New World)
Life (Birth, Death, Afterlife)
God (Love, Hope, Faith)
Humanity (Flawed, Lovely, Tragic)
Terrorism (Coward, Lost, Hopeless)
Racism (Hate, Hurt, Rage)
Childhood Abuse (Common, Sad, Injustice)
Love (God, Family, Husband)
Parenting (Not-for-me)
Old age (Relative, Retirement, Reading)

First thing you do in the morning after waking up? 

Pray

Last thing to do before sleep? 
Pray

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote 

Love runs blood deep; permanent, inescapable.” –Requiem For The Fallen

The last line of your autobiography would be… 

“Not the end.”

The title of your autobiography would be… 

The View from My Bedroom Window

Links & other relevant details:
Twitter handle: tabithavohn
Facebook page: tabithavohn
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7135292.Tabitha_Vohn
Amazon link:
 http://www.amazon.com/Tabitha-Vohn/e/B00DFIILS2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

Any other links: www.tabithavohn.com
badge buzzoole code