GB: I love the writing process porn and my blog's readers have not been getting a lot of that recently. So, let's start with process. Tell me about the writing of Harmonic Feedback–how did you approach it? Did your process change as you wrote this book?
TK: With virtually all of my stories, the characters come first…plot later. This is definitely has its share of issues when it comes to the process, especially in the areas of pacing and structure. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Discovering the story along with my characters is a big part of what I love about writing. Plus, I don't always like to know what happens! And many times my characters change the plot on me anyway…they have a mind of their own. That being said, I'm a hardcore editor who isn't afraid to 'kill her darlings' so to speak. So any mess I make not planning beforehand is easy to clean up.
In regards to Harmonic Feedback specifically, my biggest challenge was writing from Drea's POV. While we share some commonalities–being socially clueless for one–I'm not at all literal or rational like Drea is. I'm all about melodies and metaphors where Drea is very technical and to the point. Yet I LOVED being in her head and seeing the world through eyes so different than my own.
GB: I just devoured your book from start to finish, and I really think it has some of the best written characters and relationships I've seen in ages. I also think it's amazing that you've written a novel about a girl who has Asperger's, and having that be central to her characterization WITHOUT making it a problem/issue novel. Can you talk a little bit about how the characters evolved during the writing?
As for how the characters evolved, I had a great picture of every character before I started writing the book. I knew all their stories, what they wanted, what drove them crazy, their biggest conflict, etc. But I didn't know how they'd interact or how things would end…that played out as I wrote the book.
GB: You're also a musician, which clearly shows through in this novel. How are the processes of making music and making stories different or what commonalities to they have for you?
TK: They are actually quite similar for me. I write songs much like I write books…by the seat of my pants. I also can't write books without music and I can't make music without books. Music helps put me in a mood and it certainly gets me inside a character's head. And I find it easier to write songs when I have something to write about…not necessarily myself (I'm pretty boring). I often write songs about my characters, actually.
GB: So what's next for you?
The other book I'm working on is called Nyx & Thor. Told in alternating points of view, it's a love story about two Vegas teens–a bully and the girl he torments.
GB: And, also, make some recommendations–what have you been reading/watching/listening to that you think other people should check out?
TK: Books (my faves in the last year): Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert, Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers, and Flash Burnout by LK Madigan. These are GREAT examples of beautifully written realistic-contemporary YA. They've got tension, heartbreak, awesome characters…and they're just all around addicting.
Music: I highly recommend giving a listen to a couple bands mentioned in HF–Black Lab and Puracane. They're both hardworking indie bands and they're VERY talented. While writing C-Side, I wanted to listen to similar bands. One of those bands is called The Birthday Massacre–and they are RAD. They are an odd mix of 80's, goth, industrial, and they are like listening to a dark, creepy fairy tale. I ADORE them. There's a few just to get started *grin* but I can make music recommendations for days.
Visit today's other SBBT stops:
Jenny Boylan @ A Fuse #8 Production
Lisa Mantchev @ Writing and Ruminating
Donna Freitas @ Bildungsroman
5 thoughts on “SBBT Stop: Tara Kelly”
I’m sorry but when Tara wrote that she was just a little tot when The Breakfast Club came out I kind of had to choke a little.
Just a little tot? OH MY GOD!
Other than that, I look forward to reading “Harmonic Feedback.” Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to go study my face in the mirror for wrinkles…..
I love that Asperger’s becomes a side issue in a novel – I think it’s getting old that it’s the Problem Novel du Jour topic, in a way – a book like this says, “Yes, people have it, but more than that, they have lives.” And bands! A good band novel is always so much fun, and with the input of an actual musician this novel sounds like a winner.
Yay, ladies, what a fantastic interview! <3 xox HARMONIC FEEDBACK xox <3
Loved this book — totally devoured it in one day!
Great interview, Gwenda and Tara!
Ha! I was nine, and didn’t see it until I was something like 15 or 16. It’s perfectly of its time, yet ageless. 🙂
HF is soooo great. You’ll love it.
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