Each Thursday we will be interviewing one of the members of Christian Writers Downunder – to find out a little bit more about them and their writing/editing goals.
Today interview TP Hogan
Question 1: Tells us three things about who you are and where you come from.
- I’m Australian born and bred and have lived all of my life up and down the eastern states of the country. Most recently I’ve moved the to beautiful Atherton Tablelands near Cairns.
- I never thought I’d be an author. My year 11 teacher did. At the end of that year, she asked for my signature on one of my assignments because she wanted my first ever autograph. It was still, even years after that, when I started writing in earnest, and considering I might actually have what it takes to be an author.
- I’m the eldest of a set of twins. Fraternal. No swap-me-for-you shenanigans in our childhood…unfortunately. There were a few of my maths classes, I’m sure I would have loved her taking for me. (Fair is fair. I would have offered to take her English classes. Honest.)
Question 2: Tell us about your writing (or editing/illustrating etc). What do you write and why?
What do I write? I write Speculative Fiction. That’s an umbrella term which covers Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Steampunk, Science Fiction and Horror. I have a Paranormal Romance (Shattered), an Urban Fantasy series (Nephilim Code), and the start of another Urban Fantasy series (Therianthrope Series) published. Currently I’m working on book two of the Therianthrope Series and an Anthology of Fractured Fairy Tales.
Why do I write what I write? When I first started writing, I thought I wanted to write Romance. I had contact / networks with other romance writers, and they were fantastic mentors, but I didn’t want to write a romance where the characters were great in the bedroom, but nothing else was strong about their relationship. So, I wrote Shattered. How do you ensure your characters can’t jump into the physical side of the relationship straight away? Curse him into a mirror.
After Shattered was published, I stared at a blank page and realised I didn’t want to write romance, at least not the romance my author friends were writing. I sat down and had a good hard think about what I liked to read and watch on TV. Without realising it at the time, I had written it into Shattered. I love things where there is a ‘hidden world’. Where the way things appear on the surface is not the reality of what is going on. That’s when I found Speculative Fiction was a thing, and I haven’t looked back.
This is also why the slogan for my stories is – Escape…and explore hidden worlds.
Question 3: Who has read your work? Who would you like to read it?
I’d love for everyone to read my work. Doesn’t every author?
I’ve had feedback emails from thirteen-year olds through to retirees who have read and enjoyed my stories. While they are classified as Young Adult, they seem they appeal to a wide audience. They wouldn’t appeal to anyone who enjoys gritty, hard-hitting, in your face stories, but I’ve been told they are great, easy-to-read stories, to wile away a Sunday afternoon.
Question 4: Tell us something about your process. What challenges do you face? What helps you the most?
My writing process has changed over the last few months. I’ve actually outlined my next story.
When I first wrote, I had no idea ‘outlining’ was a thing. I simply wrote as the story came into my head, and jotted bullet points for the story threads I wanted to follow. That was easy for Shattered. Not quite so easy for Nephilim Code. Zeph (book #3 Nephilim Code) needed nearly a complete re-write because nothing was plotted. I determined I didn’t want to do that again, so looked for ways to help not re-write so much…and came across outlining. I researched and attempted so many outlining methods. Oh, my gosh that was a struggle. Nothing seemed to get me knowing the next scene. I knew it had to be a better way, but I simply couldn’t get my head around it. It nearly took the joy out of writing.
Then I came across Sarra Cannon. She has a Youtube channel called Heart Breathings where she has an outlining series of videos (not sponsored by her, just happy to recommend the outlining series) where she goes through her outlining process. For some reason, maybe the way she explained it, her method clicked with me. Using that, I’ve actually outlined book two of the Therianthrope Series and feeling confident about it.
That’s the process and challenges answered, as for what helps the most? I’d say community. Having people you can talk to about writing – the craft and the motivation needed to get words on a page; talking about characters, about story threads, plot lines, backgrounds, the whole kit-and-kaboodle.
When it is just you with a blank page, writing can seem to be a lonely and daunting challenge. Finding a community of like-minded people is perhaps the most helpful thing a writer can do.
Question 5: What is your favourite Writing Craft Book and why?
It’s a series of Writing Craft books by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. I call them the ‘Writing Thesauruses’. I’m not sure if the series actually has a ‘series’ name. It is a collection of writing guides teaching show-don’t-tell description within various situations.
The Occupation Thesaurus
The Character Trait Thesaurus
The Emotion Thesaurus
The Emotional Wound Thesaurus
The Positive Trait Thesaurus
The Negative Trait Thesaurus
I’m sure there’s more but they are the ones I can remember. And no, I don’t own them all…but I want to.
Question 6: If you were to give a shout-out to a CWD author, writer, editor or illustrator – who would they be?
I first met Adele at an author event in 2014 (2015?) where I had attended as a ‘reader’ even though I had a book published and met the criteria of attending as an Author. Truth was, I was so lacking in confidence as an author, I didn’t think I was good enough to attend a – gasp – actual author event.
I was wondering around looking at tables and taking notes of the things I’d need if I were to attend as an author (Stands, signage etc.) and attempting to ask authors questions about attend author events. Most of the authors there, when I spoke to them, told me…’sure, you’ll love attending as an author, go for it’, but were more interested in ‘spruiking’ their books.
When I walked up to her table, Adele seemed to instinctually know (or maybe it was simply her generous nature) I needed more than casual assurances. She spoke to me about her process, why she was attending as an author, what benefits she was experiencing, some of the ‘could-be-improved’ situations, what she’d do the same next time, and what she’d change. Also, in a sea of Erotic Romance Authors, she was an unabashedly Christian author who wrote Young Adult Science Fiction. And she didn’t ‘spruik’ her books once in the entire conversation.
About six months before the next Author Event was due, she contacted me to encouraged me to attend as an author. A few months later, she contacted me to see how my preparations for the author event was going. When I got there, she made sure to come over to my table to say ‘hi’, and that she was proud of me. Then when things got stressful (my assistant got food poisoning and I was at my table on my own – for my first event) she made sure I was okay, and met up for lunch with me to check in.
Since then we’ve kept a friendship. We live in different towns, and possibly don’t catch up as often as either one of us would like, but when we do…it’s like it’s only been a few days since we’ve met.
(By the way, I have since purchased and read her Blaine Colton series, and I’m happy to ‘spruik’ them for her. You should go and check them out.)
Question 7: What are your writing goals for 2021? How will you achieve them?
I am currently writing the fifth story of a five book Fractured Fairy-tale Short Story Anthology. These stories will be published at the second half of 2021. (Yes, five books in one year – after a nearly two-year writing hiatus, let’s do this). I also have it scheduled to finish writing the second book of the Therianthrope Series, this year, for release early 2022.
|Therianthorpe Series: Book 1|
Question 8: How does your faith impact and shape your writing?
Without God, I wouldn’t be writing. It’s as simple as that.
I don’t write overtly Christian stories (though some of my characters have a Christian faith or influences in their lives), but each of my stories has at least one ‘biblical truth’ as one of its themes. Some have more than one. To me, those themes are ‘seeds’ within the story. Some people may read the story, and not notice them. Some may read and notice, but take no further action. Some may read, notice, and be responsive. God is in charge of that. Not me. I don’t need to see ‘growth’ or a ‘harvest’ as a result of my stories. All I need to do is ensure I sow the seeds. He’ll take care of the rest.
I’m TP Hogan. I write speculative fiction because it allows me escape…and explore hidden worlds, inhabited by the creatures of my imagination. Here’s your not-so-formal invitation to join me in these realms. Welcome to the hidden worlds of such stories as Shattered, Nephilim Code and the Therianthrope series. (Yeah, it took me a bit to learn how to say that, too.)
When I do step, owlishly, into reality it is to mess about with baking ideas, play DND, drink copious amounts of coffee and remember that there is a whole other world to explore, in the guise of the beautiful Atherton Tablelands of Queensland, Australia.
Oh, and I love talking to my readers and other authors. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram or on my website.
Enjoy your stay, and I hope to meet you in the next hidden world.