Author Spotlight Interview: Tudor Robins
Today we’re sitting down for an interview with author Tudor Robins. Tudor writes “stories to make you smile”, and lately, we could all use more of those. That’s why we are so thankful for the opportunity to chat with her about her inspiration, life outside of writing and her latest release, Before & After: a Pandemic Novel.
HG: How would you describe yourself to somebody who isn’t familiar with your writing yet?
TR: Did you have to start with the hardest question? Well … I guess my tagline gives the big-picture idea: “Stories to Make You Smile.” Several readers have told me that when they finish my books they spend the rest of the day in kind of a happy daze. That’s exactly what I’m going for – especially these days – trying to give readers a break.
HG: Haha! Definitely what everyone needs these days! Are your novels targeted to a certain age group?
TR: More specifically, of course, I write horse / equestrian-focused stories. Most of them are teen / YA. Most have a coming-of-age theme. My readers tell me the sense of place / setting is important to them. This is always Canada, mostly Eastern Ontario. Usually rural.
With regards to age – as I say, most are Teen / YA, meaning they’re suitable for ages 12 and up, but most of the reader emails I get are from older women who love horses, so the idea of “12 and UP” really applies!
HG: Fantastic! What inspired you to write equestrian-focused stories?
TR: I guess it’s “write what you know” except in my case, nobody had to tell me that. I’ve ridden since I was eight years old, and I’ve always loved writing, so it was completely natural to put those two things together. I find many, many horse lovers are also book lovers and they’re so happy when they can find horse books that get the details right, so there’s definitely a niche for books written by a group of authors I know (and me) who like combining good stories with accurate equestrian details.
HG: How cool! I’m sure the equestrian community certainly appreciates the attention to detail you put into your stories.
Speaking of your stories, your most recent book, Before & After, is a pandemic novel. What can you tell us about that book, and how your writing process may have changed during the pandemic?
TR: When the pandemic hit I felt like I could either have nothing to show for it, or something to show for it and I decided to have a book to show for it … if that makes sense. I decided I could write a fourteen-chapter book in two weeks (ha!) because I’d have all this free time with everything being closed (double ha!). Suffice it to say I didn’t finish it in two weeks, but I did finish it pretty quickly, all things considered. Normally my books go through endless, painful edits from me (I’ll re-write a book a dozen times on my own). Then I send them to my amazing, and very tough editor, and she usually sends me back a 20ish-page editorial letter … which leads to another major re-write. This time I decided it was an accomplishment just to write a book during the pandemic so I took a lot of pressure off myself. I only re-wrote the book about four times (!) and I didn’t send it for developmental editing, which is very unusual for me. I did send it to my trusted proofreader and asked her to be totally honest with me if she noticed any parts of the story that felt wrong to her. The reviews have been good, and people said it helped them during the pandemic, so I don’t regret changing my writing process for that book in particular.
HG: That’s really great! Speaking of writing processes, do you have any interesting writing quirks? Maybe you always write in the same spot, or have a favorite snack nearby?
TR: I always, always, always write the best / most when I’m on Wolfe Island. I find it really easy to focus there and I get so much done. Unfortunately, I can’t live there full-time (and if I did, I’d probably be less productive there, since “real-life” would intrude). At home in the city, like with so many people, the pandemic has made our house a lot busier. My husband is now working from home, and his giant work monitor has taken over the small office I used to use. My younger son is also doing much of his schoolwork from home. So … my secret / saviour / favourite new thing in all this has been Noisli. I saw it recommended as a writing / focus tool and I absolutely adore it and recommend it. I put on my headphones, use one of their soundtracks, or one I’ve created myself, and I love that they have 25-minute work sessions built in. I would recommend trying the free version to any writer.
HG: Work really has changed for everyone this year. That’s awesome that you found a program that helps you stay focused!
On the topic of work, was author always your dream job?
TR: Probably. I’ve always loved the idea of working with horses. I’ve always wanted work that would let me give a lot of time to my family. And I definitely have a compulsion to get my thoughts out in words. In a way, writing about horses lets me “work with horses” with all the benefits and none of the incredibly hard work so many barn / stable owners do in their evenings / overnights / weekends, etc. I do work hard at my writing, and I also feel lucky.
HG: Thanks so much for taking the time to sit down and chat with us today! For readers that want to find out more about your stories and future projects, where should they go to connect or learn more?
TR: They can always visit my website. They can sign up for my newsletter there, and I do have a couple of imminent new releases, so that’s a great way to find out about them. I also love hearing from readers directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I really appreciate you taking the time to ask such great questions and I wish you, and all the readers to stay safe, happy, and healthy.
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