On this podcast, we were lucky enough to have Colleen Houck on the show for an interview! Krystal, Kelly, Stefanie, and I picked Colleen’s brain about the series… And tried to pry information from Colleen about future books! We hope you will enjoy the show!
*We will be working on a transcript soon!
Interview #2 with Colleen Houck
Hi Colleen! Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions here at Bookshelf Banter.
What type of research did you do before/while writing the books? What is your main source?
For research I read a lot. I have several thick mythology books that I use as references and I also use the internet often to look up everything from tiger claws to what types of trees grow in India. I did all the basic research for my series before I wrote it, got the story planned out, and then I do more in depth research as I go along. An example might be incorporating the myth of the four houses and listing what I want in each house—birds, sirens, bats, and gourds, then I do gourd research when I get to that place in my writing.
What inspires you to write when you get blocked?
I don’t really get writer’s block, I get writer’s laziness. Most of the time my laziness is cured when I turn on my computer and open my document. I reread the last little part I just wrote and that spurs me on to keep writing. Google images are something I use often too. Pictures inspire me and I use them to describe creatures or scenes.
I love the covers of your books… What was your first reaction to seeing them?
It’s very exciting to see your covers take shape. The artist who works on them does a fantastic job and when I looked at his portfolio I realized that every book he’s done I’ve wanted to read because the covers are just so beautiful. I really lucked out to get such a wonderful artist.
You share a lot of bonus material with your fans (which I love). I’m curious, do you write that material specifically for the sake of sharing, or are they outtakes you’ve previously cut out during the writing process?
Almost all of the bonus materials I write are extras that I’ve written on the side. They were never created to be in the book. The recent Kishan bonus material was fan initiated. I asked what they wanted to know and they said that they wanted Kishan. I also write a daily quote from different characters perspectives just to keep the story fresh in my mind and keep fans happy and coming back for more. I am planning to write a Kelsey Christmas story for the upcoming YA Scavenger Hunt in December too. Writing the bonus material is fun and its freeing as it doesn’t have to go through the editing process. I can just write what I like.
Where are you at in the writing process? Have you finished Tiger’s Destiny? And is there anything you would like to share with us about the final two books in the series?
Tiger’s Destiny is finished and in the hands of my editor. It will be released July 3, 2012 and I’m very, very excited to see what the artist will do with the cover. This is my longest book and took a year and a half to write. We get to see much more of the villainous Lokesh. There will be a lot of tears and a lot of giggling and some shocking surprises. I tie up many of the loose ends in Tiger’s Destiny to get you ready for the conclusion in Tiger’s Dream where I hope to turn the reader upside down and unravel everything I carefully stitched together.
I can honestly say that since reading Tiger’s Voyage, my feelings toward Kishan have grown, even though I am still Team Ren! How do you think your fans will react to the love triangle in book three? Do you anticipate many conversions or shifting loyalties?
I think I will be making a lot of people nervous. My poor heroine has some hard decisions to make and I’m hoping to make it very hard for readers to pick a side. The truth is that I love both Ren and Kishan and I want them both to have happy endings. Getting there, however, is not going to be easy. I’m already starting to see some shifting loyalties from my fans and that’s as it should be. What Kelsey feels the reader should feel too.
Tiger’s Voyage reminded me of Eclipse because of the fact that there was a ton of romantic tension and I often wanted to strangle Kelsey (hehe). You mentioned in our last interview that Eclipse was your favorite book in the Twilight series. That being the case, was this your favorite book in the series to write? And did you love creating all the banter between the characters?
Tiger’s Voyage was my favorite book to write. The romantic drama really comes to a head in this book but more than that I love the sea creatures. I’ve always been fascinated with the ocean and I hope my love of it is reflected in the book. In some ways, it is like Eclipse because the heroine is put into a situation where she has to decide what she’s going to do about these two men, but Kelsey and Bella think very differently and Kelsey’s decisions are heavily influenced by her tragic past.
When the last word is written in the Tiger Saga series, how do you think you will react? Do you have any plans for when you’ve finished? (I think you deserve that trip to India!)
I will probably cry. It will be very hard to let go of these characters I’ve lived with for so long. A trip to India after all this is said and done sounds like a very good suggestion!
Just for fun:
Favorite TV/movie guilty pleasure?
The Vampire Diaries-Love the show!
Best book(s) you’ve read this summer?
Sophie Jordan’s Firelight and Vanish
If you had to go on one of your characters’ quests, which one would you go on, which magical instrument would you bring, and which brother would accompany you?
I’d bring Kishan and I’d go to Kishkindha because I think that one would be the easiest. I’d bring the kamandal which you will read about in Tiger’s Voyage.
A huge thanks to Colleen for taking the time to answer our questions.
Interview #1 with Colleen Houck
I was inspired to write after I read the Twilight series. I fell in love with the series and was looking up info on the author, Stephenie Meyer, and when I found out that she was a mom that just got up one day and wrote, and knowing that the story of J. K. Rowling was similar, it gave me the courage to give writing a try. I wrote a few short stories before starting Tiger’s Curse but nothing substantial.
Can you describe your writing environment for us? You’ve said that you light scented candles so that you always remember to include that sense in your writing. Do you keep photos or music around to inspire you?
The Black Stallion series, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Superman, Star Wars, Star Trek, Indiana Jones…I’m an action adventure junkie.
You originally self-published the first two books in the series. What was your reaction when you heard that the series was getting a publisher, and what was the first thing you did?
I think I called everyone in the family which took a while because I’m oldest of seven kids then my husband took me out to Olive Garden where we ordered an appetizer, an entree, AND dessert, which we never do. I’m pretty sure I jumped up and down and screamed a bit too.
One of the things I appreciate most is how accessible you are to your fans. How has social networking helped/hindered you with this? Do you like that aspect of your work?
I am nearing the end of Tiger’s Destiny, book four in the series and I’ve mostly plotted out book five, Tiger’s Dream.
Does it get easier to write the books as the series goes on, or is it harder? Which in the series was the easiest/hardest to write?
Each book has been challenging in parts and easier in others. The one on one dialogue scenes are very simple for me, my fingers fly over the keys, and the Oregon pieces were easy. The hardest part was moving the setting to India. Tiger’s Destiny is the most difficult simply because I am tying together many plot pieces and I don’t want to miss anything.
It takes a lot of self-discipline to sit down and write. Do you find it hard to get started, and how do you get around the distractions (and do you give in)?
When I was working full time as an interpreter, writing was my escape. I loved it and wrote every afternoon after work. Now that writing IS my work, I get distracted by the other pieces of the business like the social networking parts. Once the document is open though, I sink like a rock back into the story.
I think Kishan has won a lot of people over in Tiger’s Quest. From the response you’ve gotten so far, how are the Tiger Teams split, as far as Team Ren/Team Kishan fans go? And are you surprised by any reactions that you’ve received?
I told fans that I was hoping to make a lot of Kishan converts in book two and I think that’s happening. I originally intended for Kishan to be a bad boy but when I look at the story through his eyes I see nothing but a noble prince who fell in love with the wrong girl. I feel for him and want happiness for both of my tigers. I still think more people are on Team Ren but that may change as more people read Quest. There was a girl that wore a self-made T-shirt at a conference I attended. On the front was a picture of a white tiger and on the back it said, “Edward who?” That shocked me. I’m a huge Edward fan and to get that sort of reaction from people is overwhelming.
I’m curious about Nilima. She’s one of the quiet characters in the background, one who knows all of the tiger’s secrets, yet we don’t know much about her. Will this change in future books?
I’ve written some bonus material about Nilima that I hope to share soon. I really like her and though she mostly remains in the background through the series there are some very important moments happening around her. We will learn a bit more about her as the story progresses.
I really love the setting for the latest quest. What can you tell us about the quest in Tiger’s Voyage (or any other little tidbits you can share)?
Each of the five books has a theme and the theme for Tiger’s Voyage is water. I also give a nod to a Shakespeare play in each book and this one is The Taming of the Shrew. In Tiger’s Voyage our heroes will be seeking the City of the Seven Pagodas. This is a real sunken city off the Eastern coast of India that was thought mythological until the Tsunami of 2004. The water receded from the shore and the sunken city was rediscovered.
The Tiger’s Curse film is in the early pre-production phase. What can you tell us about the movie? What are your hopes and fears? And do you know how involved will you be in the production?
There really isn’t too much I can share at this point other than the movie is in the works. For movie info you can keep an eye on www.ineffablepictures.com. My producer, Raffi Kryszek, recently released an artist’s rendition of Kelsey and Ren overlooking the city of Hampi which you can see on his website’s homepage. When I first saw it, it took my breath away. Raffi and I have discussed the story and our vision for the film on many occasions and I have no doubt that my story is in the capable hands of someone who is absolutely dedicated to creating something magical and unique.
Just for fun:
Where is your favorite place to read?
My bed. I read before I go to sleep every night.
What’s on your Summer reading list?
Supernaturally by Kiersten White, Infinity and Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon, City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare, and Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Who is on your list of fictional husbands? (One of our fantasy games here, lol)
Everyone says Edward Cullen I bet. He’d be mine but I also like Rhett Butler. Of course Ren is my Mr. Perfect.
You mentioned in your latest blog that you’ve always had a thing for Superman. What are your thoughts on Henry Cavill as the new superhero? (Dibs! Hehe)
See I don’t even know anything about this. Hold on while I check him out…ooooh he’s cute. I’ve always had a thing for the man with the S on his chest. I thought the last movie was excellent and the actor did a great job of looking and sounding almost like Christopher Reeve even as nerdy Clark Kent. I wasn’t too crazy about Lois though. I think I need to go tweet about this now.
Fuel that you always keep on hand when writing?
Vitamin Water Zero, apple slices (can’t eat them whole, I’m weird that way), almonds, & Tillamook cheese.
And since we started as a Twilight fansite, I have to ask, which book in that series is your favorite and why?
Eaaasssy. Eclipse. I love the fighting between Edward and Jacob. The jealous bantering at the tent was my all time favorite scene. I also liked getting the back story on the other vampires.
Our thanks again to Colleen! You are awesome!