Growing up in small town Texas, Thia Finn discovered life outside of it by attending The University of Texas, only to return home and marry her high school sweetheart. They raised two successful and beautiful daughters while she taught middle school Language Arts and eventually became a middle school librarian. After thirty-four years, she retired to do her favorite things, like travel, spend time off-roading with family and friends, hanging out at the Frio River, reading, and writing.
She currently lives in the same small town where she grew up, with her husband and the boss, Titan, the Chihuahua. She can often be found stalking on social media, watching Outlanders, Vikings or Game of Thrones to name a few on Netflix.
Now, on with the interview...
ME: Let's start with a few personal questions. What is your favorite childhood book?
THIA: I can’t remember having a fav book when I was a child. My parents never took us to the library even though I lived in Houston where public libraries were available. While they valued an education, they didn’t foster reading.
ME: What is the first book that made you cry?
THIA: Old Yellar, My Darling My Hamburger (Paul Zindel).
ME: Is writing your primary 'job' or do you have another source of income?
THIA: I retired from education after thirty-four years of teaching grades six through eight. I taught reading, English, Theater Arts, Journalism, Newspaper, Yearbook. After twenty-two years in the classroom, I went back and got certified to be a librarian. For twelve years, I was a YA librarian. To answer the question, I don’t view writing as a job. It’s an adventure that I wanted to take at seventeen when I wrote my first book for myself. Then college, marriage and kids happened. I collect a good retirement from teaching, so I can do what I want. I choose writing.
ME: Do people around you know you write romance/erotica and what do they think about it?
THIA: In the beginning, I tried to keep it a secret. I live and worked in a small conservative town. My children went to school where I taught. I felt like letting this information out might find negative consequences. It became impossible to remain anonymous because once I shared the information with one person, everyone knew it. Small town gossip! While some remained skeptical, most were very excited to know about it and extremely supportive of my efforts. I’ve had a signing at the local library and the people who came were pleasantly surprised.
ME: Do you believe in writer’s block? If not why not? And if so what suggestions do you have to start the juices flowing again.
THIA: I haven’t had this experience yet, being still new at this. Stories and characters are constantly running around in my brain telling me to tell their story.
ME: Excellent, let's talk about your process for a bit. Are you a plotter or fly by the seat of your pants kind of writer?
THIA: I plot out the entire book in my head before I start writing. Most of the time the story sticks to the plot but there have been characters who have dictated changes that I never expected.
ME: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
THIA: I’m constantly reading and learning things. When I get ready to write a book, I seek out information anywhere I can find it. With rockstar romances, I have a dear friend who’s been in the business all his adult life. He’s a major lifeline and a wealth of knowledge. For football, I worked for years with coaches and they are always willing to answer questions. I grew up watching college ball with my dad. He loved the University of Texas Horns, so we never missed a game. I went to UT in the seventies when they were a real power house. I loved attending the games because watching the fans and the game was exciting and never failed to make me more enthusiastic.
ME: Would you rather write standalones, standalones with connections to your other works, or multi book series with no true conclusion until the very end?
THIA: I like a standalone with a connection to my other works. I like reading that too. I don’t like cliffhangers but sometimes it’s necessary. I probably will never write one though.
ME: Where do your story ideas come from?
THIA: Everywhere. I’ve attended a lot of concerts in my life. Elton John was my first concert other than attending the rodeo in Houston. I saw Sonny and Cher there! (I know that really dates me). Today, I attend concerts and am lucky enough to go to Austin City Limits music festival in Austin TX. It’s huge and brings in lots of big names as well as up and coming people. The best part of a festival is you have time to sit and watch people, listen to their stories and learn interesting information about their lives.
ME: Do you ever base your characters, events or locations on real people, events or places?
THIA: I just answered that :) I have based a few characters on real people sometimes but it’s just bits and pieces.
ME: Is there a character in one of your books loosely based off yourself?
THIA: No but there’s parts of me in a lot of characters. Phrases I use, places I’ve been, etc.
ME: What process do you use for selecting the names of your characters?
THIA: Before I started writing my first book, I scoured the internet looking at band names, musician names and nicknames. I also used baby name popularity books and websites for names that are time appropriate for the age of the character.
ME: Who has been your most difficult character to write so far?
THIA: Theo Timms. He’s the hero in my new book. The book overall was my hardest.
ME: Have you ever killed off someone who pissed you off in one of your books?
THIS: No, I’ve never killed a character. My guys are loveable in every aspect. There’s a female I would like to kill though!
ME: What was your hardest scene to write?
THIA: In Assure Her, my first book, the heroine learns some tragic news and can’t deal with it. That scene was so difficult because I’ve never lost a loved one or relative that close to me in an unexpected way.
ME: Does writing energize or exhaust you, and why?
THIA: Usually writing wears me out. The characters exhaust me completely. Living in their shoes, makes me have to give up my identity for a while each day so I can be in their minds.
ME: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal, and why?
THIA: My spirit animal would maybe be a cat. I like to sit around and watch people. When I’m ready to write I pounce on their story and love it until it’s done, then I’m bored with it and ready to move on to a new play thing.
ME: Let's finish up with some advice for the budding novelists out there. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
THIA: I would tell myself when I was seventeen, to start the journey now. I waited so long to do what I wanted. I’ll never regret marrying at a young age but giving up writing so I could get on with life, should have never happened. I see these awesome authors who have full time jobs, kids, families and I wonder how can they possibly do it all.
ME: What are common traps for aspiring writers?
THIA: Listening to negative people can cause anyone problems. I tend to get caught up in other’s drama. Stay away. Do your thing and forget the naysayers.
ME: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
THIA: Hiring the best editor I could find is the best money I’ve ever spent. I went through three before I found one that I needed. She charges me a fair rate but in the beginning I didn’t realize how important searching out the best was. I went for a better rate instead of paying the bigger money. My books suffered from it. I’ve paid twice now to have the same book edited so I’d be better off to have paid the higher rate up front.
Thanks so much for your time, Thia.
Check out Thia's latest release Lateral Moves http://amzn.to/2yLIFUw