Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Interview With Author/Illustrator/Youtuber Christine Tyler!

Christine Tyler, also known as C, is leading a pretty exciting life.  She vlogs, is a book tuber, an illustrator, a writer, a mom, and a wife!  Read on to discover more about her works and her life.

So, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
My name is Christine Tyler. I'm 27 years old. I was born in and raised in Washington State. I met my husband as a pen pal. My sister set us up and we wrote each other (snail mail) for a year and a half before meeting. We now live in Yokosuka, Japan, with our 2-year-old son and a bun in the oven.

How long have you known that you wanted to be a writer and an illustrator?
I have always loved to write, and I have always loved to draw. People can identify me as a writer or illustrator as they will. I'm not published in either of those mediums. 

Which writers inspire you?
Off the top of my head, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, JRR Tolkien, Brian Jaques and Bruce Coville. They're all very different, but they've played important roles at different points in my life.

What are you currently working on?
An adult fantasy novel. It's about a harem wife who joins an underground society bent on overthrowing her husband, only to find they're planning to sacrifice her in order to do it. There are a number of cultural influences, including: Mongolian, French, Islamic Spain, Brazilian and African. 

What genre(s) do you normally write in?

Tell us a little bit about your family and why you chose to live in Japan.
My husband is an engineer and works for the Navy. My son really digs trains and birds right now. I made friends with a Japanese foreign exchange student when I was in high school, and she actually ended up moving in for a while with my family. When she went back home I came to Japan to visit her. I also studied Japanese for about three years. My husband and I really wanted to take advantage of being stationed overseas, so when we were given the option of living/working in Japan, we snatched it up. We'll be here until late 2015. Then, who knows?

Are you planning on publishing?
Yes, I plan on pursuing traditional publishing. I'll start querying agents later this year. 

You have two YouTube channels.
Yup. I found that people would unfollow me when I jumped back and forth from bookish things to travel/family things, so I split the channels so people could just follow what they wanted. 

How can readers discover more about you and your works?
I recently wrote a short story for a project hosted by Gina Denny: http://ginadenny.blogspot.jp/2014/02/how-long-is-tail-of-zong.html Other than that, I keep most of my writing under wraps. I don't have any of my art currently online, but I have plans to organize my website later this year and put some up. As far as my book goes, curious readers will just have to wait, or watch for some treats on my book channel ;)

Where do you get ideas?
I pursue and retain a lot of interesting information. My husband is amazed by how many totally random facts I have stored in my head. I am an intense analytic when it comes to emotional experiences. I like to understand things. All of this comes out naturally as I write and reach for ideas. 

You've said that you love to read nonfiction.  Why do you love it and why is it essential to being a writer?
Non-fiction is so broad. It's like saying you like Fiction. I mostly enjoy learning about other cultures, particularly Mongolia and Arabia. I like astrology and folktales from other countries. I'm very interested in geology and biology, so I have some quality reference books in the physical sciences. I love it because I love making myself smarter. I like understanding things. For writers, I think the greatest benefit of researching other cultures is learning to think outside their own social norms and assumptive views. Researching technical details helps give your imaginary world credibility. 

How do you balance writing, illustrating, family, and YouTube?
While I'm not published, I still treat writing as a career. I write every weekday. I write when I don't want to. I do it because if I want it to be my job, I have to treat it like it is my job. Illustration is a hobby. I only do it for fun. I only do it when I feel like it, and I only draw what I feel like drawing, so it's always a joy. YouTube is a form of journaling for me. It's social, because I make friends with it, but my extended family in the US really values it because it gives them a peek into my life. It's also a bit of a study in online platform. It's a pet project, and while I'm excited about what I'll learn from it, I don't worry about it. Differentiating between my career, hobbies, and exploratory projects keeps them in perspective. Family is ever-present and, simply put, the most important thing in my life. I constantly adjust my approach to satisfy my family's needs while addressing my own. I see that readjustment as success in itself. 

Do you write whenever you can or set a strict schedule for yourself?
I set weekly goals for myself, and then each day I look at my goals and decide what I'm going to work on. I get bored with daily schedules very quickly, but I am ridiculously goal-oriented, so the flexibility within a plan works very well for me. 

Do you like writing short stories, novellas, and snippets or full books?
I've written the occasional short story, especially for classes (I'm currently pursuing a Bachelor's in Creative Writing), but I prefer long-narrative. 

Name some stuff you've illustrated.
I've only done personal projects, and I usually draw my own characters from my own story. 

Why did you decide to be an illustrator?
The illustrations for Beth Revis are my first commission, and they won't be released for another year or so. I follow her on Twitter and she asked if anyone knew an artist who could do character illustrations in an Alphonse Mucha style. I knew I could do that. Because I didn't have any of my art online, or anything in that style, I immediately set to work creating a sample for her. I sent it to her and it was exactly what she wanted, so she hired me. Art is simply a passion of mine, and sometimes preparation meets opportunity. 

What are your plans for the future?
I'm in the final revision stages of my novel, so I'll query that soon. Whether it gets published or not, I have three more books planned. They take place in the same world but have different protagonists, so I will write and query each of them. If I haven't acquired an agent at that point, then I will reassess my goals. I want to get my website together and share more of my art, maybe open myself to commissions, but it will still take the backseat to writing. I'm traveling to New Zealand in March, and have a baby due in September. My husband and I can't decide between living overseas or moving back to the states when our shore duty is up, so I have no idea where I'll be in 2016. I do know I'll still be hot on the trail of my goals, and enjoying every minute of it. Especially the challenging minutes, because those are the ones that make it fun. 

For more on Christine: