Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tabitha Caplinger {Writer Wednesday}

A little bit about Tabitha...

Tabitha Caplinger is a wife, mom, youth pastor and professed tv addict. It's seriously a problem but she doesn't plan on getting help anytime soon. Mostly because she loves the stories. She can't help but get lost in the worlds created and invested in the lives of the characters. She brings that same passion for the story to her own writing. The first book in her YA trilogy, The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline, is currently available with the second book releasing in early 2017. Aside from writing and watching tv, Tabitha can be found singing off key and dancing in the kitchen or car with her two adorably sassy daughters and awesome husband who she thinks is kind of cute.

Connect with Tabitha...

Purchase: The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline and  The Chronicle of Three: Armor-Bearer

Get to know Tabitha...

Your Writing

How I started writing is a common question and I really have no clue how to answer it. I know I didn’t just wake up one day and think being a writer would be cool. As a kid I want to be a paleontologist or equine veterinarian. As I graduated high school my career dreams shifted toward a life doing pastoral ministry. (I’m also a youth pastor.) I have always liked stories, mostly through tv and movies, but I had never considered writing them. Looking back I was always writing them, in my own mind. My imagination was working overdrive most of the time. In college something shifted. I attended Sweet Briar College for a couple of semesters and ended up a Creative Writing major. I wish I knew how but I don’t, honestly. But I had all these writing classes and I fell in love. When I left school to continue to pursue ministry I put writing on the back burner. I had this itch to write but it just never happened. Ten years later I realized it was because I was trying to write non-fiction devotional type books because that is what pastors should write, right? One day I got this idea for a story and it wouldn’t let go so I started writing it down. One YA trilogy later I can’t not write. My imagination still works in overdrive but it’s not random, it’s becoming books. (EEK!) It has become this way I can connect with people, encourage them, maybe empower them a little and remind them that they are never alone.
Tell us a little bit about your book...

Why did you write it?
The Chronicle of the Three (TCO3) Trilogy has really become a way for me to connect with students, and adults, and speak something that I hope will remind them that they have a purpose. We all are and can be the chosen one, so to speak. It took me getting 1/3 of the way into it to realize that. I think stories reach people on a deeper level and I want young people to see their value and to understand they are powerful, chosen, loved and never alone. A story can do that.

Do you have a favorite character in this work?
If so, why? Maggie, no Lucas. Ugh. Picking favorites is so hard. Both of these have become faves for me. Maggie, who is also a fan fave, is just the girl you want as your best friend. She’s fun but cares deeply for her little demon slaying family. Lucas is snarky and has layers and who doesn’t love a good redemption story?

What was a challenge you faced while writing it?
Potty training a toddler. LOL. But its no joke trying to write a book while potty training. On a more serious note, it was challenging to be vulnerable in my writing, and to be myself and write the story I loved without worrying what someone would think, especially of the faith aspects. (Was it too much, was it not enough?) Knowing that it’s going to be put out into the world is a very vulnerable thing and so there was fear that had to be faced to get it finished.

What did you learn while writing it?
Writing is hard. It takes time and patience.

Is there a funny story associated with writing the book?
Well, I have a little group of young women, who became my beta readers. I would send them chapters as I wrote them to get feedback on the story and they helped keep me accountable to writing and getting it done. A couple of them would reply to each chapter with these long email rants about their feels over the characters. I know I got a chuckle more than once as they yelled at me about what happened to Michael, or who Claire should and shouldn’t love and why we all hate Meredith. It was entertaining and one day I am going to share those emails with the world.

Was there a passage of scripture you came across or used while writing it that you’d like to share?

Not one in particular but if you look hard enough there are several places within the story where the truths of specific scriptures are woven in.

We're your characters easy to pin down or did you discover them along the way as you wrote the book?
I knew all the characters going in, at least all the main characters. What was surprising is how they changed over the course of the story in ways I hadn’t imagined, or when they would do something I hadn’t planned on. They may have been creations of my own imagination but they were also these friends that I was slowly getting to know while writing.

What made you choose the setting for the book?
The setting, Torch Creek, is inspired by the small town where I grew up.

What's the most random thing you had to Google for the story?
Garden of Eden Location theories

What was one thing (or character) that surprised you while writing this book?
Alex! I had a plan for him and he flipped that plan upside down several times throughout writing.

What’s your favorite snack while writing?
I don’t eat while I write, just drink copious amounts of coffee. Which is weird because there is a lot of eating going on in my books, a lot.


Let’s talk about your writing life...

What’s your encouragement for younger writers aside from “keep writing”?
Learn your craft, and not just the writing side of it. Learn about publishing and marketing. I wish I had known more about the industry and how it all worked earlier on in the game. Writing the book is only one part of making writing a career.

How many rejection letters did you get before being accepted by a publisher?
Between publishers and agents, at least 50. Every single one of them was disappointing but I kept reminding myself that I didn’t need everyone to want my book just the right one. One a side note, all that rejection helps give you thicker skin to deal with bad reviews.

What does your writing process look like?
I make coffee. Then I sit in my comfy chair, in my pajamas and scroll through Pinterest and Twitter for way too long. Reheat my coffee. Stare at my manuscript for longer than I realize. Reheat my coffee. Write some words. Delete those words. Write some more words. Reheat my coffee.

What is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing process?
I LOVE when a character surprises me. It’s this weird, slightly insane, moment but it’s also the coolest.

Where do you find inspiration for your story/characters?

Somethings are just my weird imagination. But somethings come from other influences in my life like tv. I love tv a little too much so much of my style points back to my favorite shows and what I love about them.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, have a favorite artist or playlist to share?
I make playlists that share the vibe I want the book or characters to have and listen to that while writing, and especially when I’m stuck. My two go to songs for TC03 were Demons by Imagine Dragons and Hard Love by Needtobreathe. (You can listen to the full TCO3 playlist here,

How do you balance your writing life with “real” life? Any tips or tricks to share?
The thing that has helped me the most has been setting goals. I read somewhere that Ted Dekker, I think it was Ted, writes 2000 words a day. When I first started and had two small kids that felt like an impossible task. But I could do 2000 words a week. So that became my goal and I would work to achieve it weekly. Sometimes I wrote more, sometimes I feel short, but it gave me something to keep me focused and motivated.


When you get an idea for a novel, what is the first thing that you do? 
I don’t usually get a plot idea to start, but an image or line. For TCO3 I got an image of the Chronicle itself and started asking myself questions about what it could be, who it could belong to, what does it mean? For my new WIP I got the first line of the book. But whatever it is I jot it down and then as it develops I keep scribbling little notes until I have enough to work into an outline.

September is Classical Music Month (who knew?). In keeping with that theme, do you have a favorite character from a classical novel?
Does Aslan count as classic?

What is your favorite fall snack food?
I don’t have a fave fall-specific snack per say but I love pie and there are a lot of great fall pies. However, can I take this time to confess that I do NOT like pumpkin spice anything? Cuz I don’t. There I said it. LOL

What are you currently reading?
Unraveling by Sara Ella and I am loving this series.

Anything else you'd like to share with my readers? 
In October I will be hosting a read a long of my books. See information below on how to join:

Join us in Torch Creek! They have tons of small town charm if you can handle slaying a few demons. 😉 Beginning October 8th, we will be reading The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline and The Chronicle of the Three: Armor-Bearer. Along with bookish fun there will be live Q&As with the author, special guests and some giveaways!

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