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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Author Interview: Thea Atkinson : Having 20 Hit Books To Her Credit

Profile (as taken from her goodreads page):

Thea writes what she calls left-of-mainstream fiction. No matter what the theme, it's often dark, gritty, edgy, and doesn't fit into any one recognizable genre. 

She has been an editor, a freelancer, and a teacher, but fiction is her passion. She now blogs and writes and twitters. Not necessarily in that order.

Her links are as below, to know about her work, her posts, and her books.

A very warm welcome Thea

Your real name and pen name?

Thea Atkinson. I get called Thee a lot, and some mail comes as The, but I LOVE my name. It took many years to get there, but I AM there.
So far I don't write under a pen name mostly because whether I'm writing for new adults or for an older audience, my stuff is slightly to the left of mainstream. I'd have to say that was the main thing that I'm branding, that my work isn't run-of-the-mill or down the center.

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

I'd have to say the best memories of my childhood are family oriented. I had three brothers so you can imagine the fun we had. I got picked on by them a lot, but if someone decided they wanted to pick on me, my brothers were always there to protect me. So how do I select just one memory when they all muddle together in one big happy timeframe. I had a great childhood. I was blessed to have two parents three brothers and a neighborhood full of kids. The few girls in the neighborhood and all of the boys in the neighborhood would go out at night when it got dark and play hide and seek. I remember lots of us hiding between lobster traps as they were piled 4-5 tiers high. I remember leading my best friend around blindfold, to try and see if she trusted me. I remember riding double on the back of my older brother's bike until my legs got too tired to hold out. I let them fall and ended up getting my ankle caught in the spokes. That was pretty painful. It sticks out really well as a memory.

About your education? What career did you plan during your education days?

I did go to university for a year as well as going to secretarial school for about six weeks. Neither one of them was for me. I ended up working in a pizza shop in between schooling until I decided what I wanted to do. I enrolled into a computer programming course just because it was the only thing open at the time. That landed me a little bit of work in the evenings teaching basic computer to folks. And that ended up landing me a job where I ended up teaching for a living. It's a roundabout way to find your calling, but I really do feel as though it's my calling. Even though I had planned at the beginning to become a dental assistant, I couldn't even imagine sticking my fingers in someone's mouth. I hate going to the dentist.

What hurts you most in this world?

I have to say that what hurts me the most at this moment in time is the thought of losing my loved ones. My mother isn't well and just two years ago I lost my older brother. So as Forrest Gump says, "that's all I have to say about that."

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

There was a period of three years where I faced challenge after challenge. First my husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, then almost a year later, I lost a job I loved, and then just one year later I lost my older brother, my uncle, and a family friend. All of those things together created one big challenge. I'd like to say that I'm a great person and I was able to overcome all of those challenges with a little bit of positivity, but the truth is I ended up taking up running as a living metaphor to get me through. I ran three or four times a week for a couple of years and when I look back on it now, as much as I hated running, I realize it was the only way I could escape, flee, or get away from it all. Eventually, I did find my balance with the support of a wonderful family and some awesome friends. And I'm feeling pretty good now. Positivity and spirituality are the two things that get me through whenever I start to wallow in those memories.

What is your favorite genre and why?

I'd have to say that my favorite genre is really none at all. I like to blend them because I like to read a lot of different things. I'm a voracious reader and I'll read fantasy, science fiction, literary, young adult, new adult,… I guess the only thing I don't really read a lot of is pure romance. I like a little romance. Just like I like a little dark, but that doesn't mean I want to stick in just that one style.

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

I started writing, I think, before I was even in my teens. I submitted my first short story to a TV series when I was 12. I think I just wanted to communicate. Same as I do now. I like to explore what makes a person a certain way, and see how things come out for them. Probably because I have such a great life, that it's one of the ways I like to try and find some empathy.

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

I've had a lot of my short fiction published in literary magazines and I've had a fair amount of nonfiction published in glossies as well. My novels are things I've published myself even though I do/did have an agent when I went that route. My novels are too odd to place solidly in one genre for marketing purposes. If I had to share a synopsis of my work as a whole, I'd have to say that everything I write regardless of whether it's fantasy or literary, has a dark edge to it.

What are your forthcoming writings?

A series of novellas that probably only I'll enjoy. Right now I'm exploring what it might be like after the rapture when the Christian God has come and gone. I'm having a lot of fun with it, maybe too much fun. It's a little dark, a little romantic, and maybe even a little sacrilegious, but it's giving me a great deal of pleasure. Here's the tagline and blub for the first one: Phoenix

Theda has the power to change the world--if she can just survive the Apocalypse.

Theda has a special gift. The trouble is, using that gift is the one thing in New Earth punishable by death. Alone and living on the streets, there are two things that get her through each day: tricking out her gift so she can eat, and blissing out on her drug of choice so she can forget her past.

It's the craving for a fix that gets her into the worst trouble when a rugged and charismatic bounty Hunter discovers her secret. Now she is on a new quest for survival-- one where the very man who hunts her down becomes the person she must trust in order to find safety.


Your dream destination on Earth?

Just about anywhere. I love to travel… Let me rephrase that. I love to be somewhere different, but I hate to travel. So if I could go to Egypt and touch the pyramids, or go to Jordan and visit Petra, or even go to the Amazon jungle and not have to fly, I'd be a very happy woman. I can't wait for the day when teleporters are created.

Your origin of birth?
Eastern Canada very close to the Atlantic. In fact, I can spit into it any ole time I want. 
State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote

Thea Atkinson writes fiction to the left of mainstream. Sums it all up, actually.