Today I’m excited to welcome Tabetha Waite to the Creekside Café. Tabetha is a small-town girl from Missouri who has written several historical romances. Welcome to Eastern North Carolina via the internet.
Tabetha: Thanks for your generous offer to host me, it’s so sweet of you.
Sherri: Not at all, I love discovering and talking to new authors. Though you’re not exactly new, you have several books published.
Tabetha: I have received my Five-book pin from Romance Writers of America.
Sherri: You’ve won a few awards with your books, but the way hasn’t been easy, has it?
Tabetha: Thirty years and 63 rejections later my debut novel, “Why the Earl is After the Girl,” the first book in my Ways of Love series was picked up for publication and released in July of 2016 to critical acclaim, winning the 2017 Best Indie Book Award in Romance and second place in the Feathered Quill Book Award in Romance for 2018. The second book, “Where the Viscount Met His Match,” was a finalist in the romance category in the 2019 International Book Awards, and my third novel, “When a Duke Pursues a Lady,” was also a romance finalist in the 2018 Book Talk Radio Club Awards.
Sherri: Wow, that is impressive. My first love is historical romance. I read everything I can by Amanda Quick and Sabrina Jeffries.
Tabetha: I adore Sabrina Jeffries, Lisa Kleypas, Andrea Kane, Victoria Alexander, Sophie Jordan, Sarah MacLean, Julianne MacLean, and soooo many others!
Sherri: There are so many great writers out there and so many who haven’t received the recognition or following their talent should inspire. That is one of the reasons I like hosting authors here on my website. I love sharing the wonderfully talented authors I’ve discovered with my fellow readers. I can’t believe I’d never heard of greats like Eloisa James and Sophie Jordan before someone else shared them with me.
Do you have any hobbies or interests besides writing? Hobbies or interests besides writing? Do these show up in your writing?
Tabetha: I like browsing antique malls. History has always appealed to me and I feel like anything has a story. I’m also a doll collector. I haven’t written that in a book yet, but it’s coming! I enjoyed roller skating when I was little and I did make mention of that sport in my first book, “Why the Earl is After the Girl.”
When I’m not writing, I’m usually reading as true bookworms do, or checking out any flea market, antique mall, or doll show I come across.
Sherri: You are a doll collector, that’s so cool. A friend of mine used to drag me around looking for Madam Alexander dolls.
Tabetha: Yes! I have several artist dolls. I love seeing their smiling faces.
Sherri: I don’t collect anything but books and grandchildren anymore, unless you count dust bunnies. I hate to dust. I enjoy cooking and two of my daughters-in-law have shared recipes with me. Actually, my sons have too. Do you have any favorite recipes you’d like to share?
Tabetha: I really don’t. Cooking is not something that I enjoy. In truth, I hate to cook!
Sherri: I don’t mind the cooking, it’s the cleaning up I don’t care for but I’ll clean the kitchen and bathroom before I clean the rest of the house.
I don’t care to spend my days off doing chores, I’d rather write. Do you write full time or are you like me juggling a full-time job and a writing career?
Tabetha: I currently work and write part time, although my goal is to write full time some day! For the past five years I’ve worked as a lunch lady at the local community college. It’s been great to interact with students, and some are international! I enjoy the different cultures.
Sherri: That sounds like a great place to get ideas. I work in an ABC store and I meet some real characters. I haven’t used any in my stories yet, but I have threatened a few. My sons tell each other, don’t piss mom off she’ll put you in her book and kill you off on page 10. A few of them don’t make it that far.
I write suspense with strong romantic elements, but I’m not considered traditional romance. How about you, what genre do you write?
Tabetha: Mainly historical romance, but I’ve written a couple short stories (erotic paranormal and fantasy) that were in two different anthologies. Historicals will always be my favorite, but I don’t want to box myself into one romance genre. I like to test my writing with other variations.
Sherri: Do you plan to write any other genre in the future?
Tabetha: Yes! I am actually drumming up ideas for a fantasy trilogy! I hope to have the first book out in 2020.
Sherri: Can you give us a little hint?
Tabetha: All I can say about it, as it’s still in the early stages of planning, is that there will be five realms where only one can be crowned ruler of them all. From vampires, fairies, and beyond, I’m going to build an entire world that I hope readers can immerse themselves in!
Sherri: What is your latest project?
Tabetha: My latest book, “What a Gentleman Does for Love” releases on July 16. It is the final story in my Ways of Love Series.
The next story I have planned is a Victorian Gothic set during the time of Jack the Ripper. It’s part of the Common Elements Romance Project. I’m SUPER excited about it, as that macabre time in history has always fascinated me. “Behind a Moonlit Veil” is set for an October 1 release.
Sherri: Oh wow, “Behind a Moonlit Veil” sounds like something I would love to read. Have you ever read Will Thomas’ Barker and Llewellyn series? It’s set in the same time period. A lot is happening during this time in history. I can’t wait to read it, be sure to send me a reminder when it comes out or when we can preorder.
Tabetha: I have not read that series, but I’ve always loved Gothic stories! I definitely will let you know when “Behind the Moonlit Veil” comes out.
Sherri: You’ve been writing a while and published for several years, you must love being a writer because unless you have discovered something I have not, it’s not about the money. What do you love about writing?
Tabetha: I enjoy telling stories. I always have. And since there’s always SOME character begging to have their story told, who am I to deny them?
Sherri: I know what you mean, sometimes I can’t sleep because some fictional character is trying to tell me his or her story. My mom thinks I’m crazy. I just laugh and tell her she’s jealous that the voices talk to me. She’s not sure about my humor. I don’t think she finds me that funny but after attending a few of my writers’ group meetings, she has decided that being a writer is a lot of work. It is a lot of work and there are parts of it that I struggle with.
What do you hate about writing?
Tabetha: Marketing! I feel it takes a certain sort of ‘salesman’ persona, but I don’t like to feel as if I’m badgering people into buying my books. But then, with so much competition, how are you to get noticed?
Sherri: That’s it, as I was saying earlier, I was late discovering Eloisa James and she’s a very famous, internationally known romance writer. How did I miss her for so many years?
Social media and being a member of Romance Writers of America have helped me discover authors I might not have otherwise, but what about the reader who isn’t a part of RWA? How do they find out about these awesome writers? I’m lucky to have a librarian who is current on the romance genre but there are a lot of libraries that still look down their noses at genre fiction, especially romance.
What are your writing strengths and weaknesses? What comes easy and what do you have to work harder to get?
Tabetha: I think my strengths are the beginning and the end. I usually start out strong and, even though I’m a ‘pantser,’ I have a general idea of how I want the story to end. But sometimes the path to HEA can be a bit of a challenge.
Sherri: I’m a pantser too, I feel like my first draft is my outline. When I go back over it I can add more emotion, descriptions, etcetera.
Have you ever been to North Carolina?
Tabetha: I love North Carolina. My family and I drove through there on one of those National Lampoon style vacations! We were fortunate enough to tour the Biltmore. LOVELY place! The furthest east I’ve been, to date, is New Jersey and I enjoyed my time on the historic boardwalk.
Sherri: I live on the banks of the Pamlico River, in a very small town. Across the river is little Washington, named for George and the town of Bath, the first incorporated town in North Carolina. Bath was the home of Blackbeard the pirate. All along the coast we claim a piece of pirate history. My little town is known mostly for fossils, sharks teeth to be exact. Each year we host a little festival known as the Fossil Festival, people from all over the world come for the festival or to visit our fossil museum. I use these things in my stories.
Interviewing is thirsty work, why don’t we have a drink and sit on the veranda. If we’re lucky, we might get a cool breeze off the river.
Tabetha: I’ll have a Southern Comfort sour.
Sherri: I’m hung up on Bird Dog Blackberry with a splash of lemonade.
If you have enjoyed my chat with Tabetha Waite, check out her links below, I know I will.
Thanks again Tabetha for joining us at Creekside Café.