Interview Tanya Cienfuegos…


10766486579018261_BJO97FdJ_bWelcome to Tanya, whose fascination with ancient civilizations was the perfect link to today’s word – Velarium : definition – an awning over the seats in a theatre of ancient Rome.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

Probably Odella, she was one of the two main characters in my first NaNoWriMo novel called Give Us the [blank]! I think she’s my favorite because she’s everything I’d like to be but don’t think I can get away with. She’s an unrepentant villain fighting to restore an unjust and evil empire but she’s also sexy, powerful, confident and never hindered by self-doubt. Whenever she wants something, she just goes and gets it. She’s not someone I’d ever want to spend any time with because she can be selfish, petty and cruel but she was fun to write and while I was writing about her, some of her confidence did rub off on me and I really liked the kind of person that she helped me become.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

I favor romance big time. Everything I write has some romantic element to it. As for romance subgenres, I prefer to write fantasy romance. Even in Middle-Earth, Oz or Discworld, people fall in love.  I’ve also written some historical romance but it was more of a paranormal romance that happened to take place in the 1920s.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

Oh that’s a tough one. I love learning new facts in the course of researching for my stories, I’ve learned so much about ancient civilizations and I can’t get enough of them now. But I think what I love the most is playing out possible scenes in my head even when I can’t write it down.

Have you got a favorite place to write?

Either Starbucks or this little conference area at work. Neither are very comfortable in terms of seating and sometimes I really wish I could just walk to the fridge whenever I feel like it but those places do wonders for my productivity. At work, I can’t connect to their wi-fi so there’s no internet to distract me from writing. I’ve been able to churn out 2k words in an hour after work.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

I do plan but I’m not super detailed in my outlines. I use the three-act structure and break each act into three parts and then I just worry about linking those bits together so there is a big element of pantsing in my writing.

What inspires your stories?

Other stories mostly. It’s actually kinda distracting whenever I watch a movie or a TV show because this little voice in my head will sometimes say ‘I wonder if that minion that just got killed had a family? Did he actually like working for the bad guy or was he just in it for the dental plan? And just where exactly does a bad guy get henchmen anyway? Is there some employment agency out there?’ Music isn’t safe either. I’ve gotten several story ideas from random songs. Historic documentaries are also a great source of inspiration, not always for stories but I’ve pulled a few plot points from history.

What are you currently reading?

the-mages-daughter-lg

The Mage’s Daughter by Lynn Kurkland, I’m about a quarter into it right now.

Do you have any odd habits or childhood stories?

I bite my lip incessantly if I don’t put on chap stick, also incessantly. I’ve been biting my lip for as long as I can remember and there are quite a lot of pictures of me as a little kid where I’m making faces that were without a doubt lip biting related.

Do you have any pets?

Sadly no, my apartment has a no pets policy.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

I belong to Writer Unboxed and Ladies of Wrimo on facebook, RomVets and I’m pretty active in the NaNoWriMo forums.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I really started writing in high school. I was an anime fan-girl and spent most of my time writing awful Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z fan-fiction. By the time I graduated, I had a side table size stack of notebooks filled with writing. After a few years, I graduated to writing Discworld fan-fiction and I started writing original stories about three years ago.

Cover art of Dragon Ball - The Complete Illust...

Do you have a book published? If so what is it called & where can readers purchase it?

Um, no. Not yet.

If you could meet one favorite author who would it be and why?

My favorite author is Terry Pratchett because his Discworld books never fail to make me laugh and help me cope with my depression. They give me something to look forward to. All my writing is  influenced by his books. He creates amazing and loveable characters and plays tropes like they were a classical violin and I hope that I can be half the author he is one day. And I’ve actually met the great man.

It was at the 2009 North American Discworld Convention and I ran into him a couple of times over that weekend. The first time I saw him was when I was signing in and he was right behind me and needed to ask one of the organizers something. I basically gasped, jumped out of my skin and stared like a deer caught in headlights. He apologized for startling me. Then when I was getting a couple of books signed, I wanted to be cool so I ended up babbling about what an honor it was to meet him and that it was an unparalleled experience and he stared at me for a second when I shut up and then told me that I had a pretty good vocabulary. So I made a fool of myself but I’ll always cherish those brief moments that I spent with such a great author.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

I don’t think I could bear to live anywhere but my beloved San Diego, CA. I was born and raised here and whenever I’ve been away for too long, I’ve gotten incredibly homesick. It’s just such a beautiful city, the weather is always gorgeous so long as you live near the coast and there’s always something to do.

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

Of all time? Probably The Little Mermaid, I’ve loved that movie since I was a kid and I still think that it’s an amazing story about the insane lengths a person will go through for love and how though love in itself is a great virtue, it can be exploited for evil purposes.

Little Mermaid

Where can readers find you and your blog?

http://tanyacienfuegos.wordpress.com/

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book?

The best formed idea I have right now is tentatively called ‘Muggle Foster Parents’. It’s about this divorced couple who end up having to take care of a baby girl destined to take down the empire her adopted parents live in. Since all my stories are romance, the divorced couple are going to spend a lot of the book struggling with their rekindled feelings for each other while they’re busy protecting their baby girl from imperial forces who want to prevent the baby from fulfilling her destiny as well as the rebel forces who want to use her to further their cause. I guess you could say that it’s a comedy of remarriage meets Willow.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My best encourager and supporter is my darling husband. He always listens when I ramble about story ideas and plot points or when I whine about not being a good enough writer or committed enough and then he’ll just remind me that I’m just having a bad day. He was also a tremendous help getting me to finish one story that’s been giving me grief for two years because I kept getting 20k words into it and then restarting it. He promised that if I finished it in this year’s NaNoWriMo without restarting it, he’d get me a cheesecake of my choice from the Cheesecake Factory.

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