This week, I am delighted to bring to the ball Tina LeCount Myers! I had the good fortune to meet Tina at the Sirens Conference, one of the best book-loving events out there. Sirens celebrates women in sci-fi and fantasy: characters, writers, editors, readers, librarians, teachers, everyone, and it’s one of the most positive, affirming atmospheres I’ve ever been in. So, I’m tremendously happy that we can celebrate another Siren here on the Debutante Ball — particularly because Tina is also a 2018 debut! Her novel, The Song of All, comes out from Night Shade Books this very next week, on February 20th! The Song of All is a dark fantasy epic that looks like it’ll be perfect for these dying days of winter, and I can’t wait to read it. So welcome to the ball, Tina!
Talk about one thing that’s making you happy right now.
Last year I was so focused on deadlines for my book that I didn’t spend much time working in my art journal, and I felt that loss. For me, art and writing are synergistic outlets for my creativity. And often, when I’m involved in my art, an idea for a story or a solution to a plot dilemma will come through. This year I am diving back into mixed media collage and watercolors. I’m learning new painting techniques as well and working on a series of animal illustrations. My dining room table is a happy mess of pens, paints, brushes, and gluesticks!
Where do you love to be?
I’m happiest when I’m in the ocean, surfing. It’s one of the few places where I’m fully present. I call it my meditation. Each wave is one of a kind. They’ve traveled thousands of miles across the open ocean to reach the shore. It just blows me away to think about it. And then, if I’m in the right place, at the right time, I can catch one of those waves and be a part of that magic for a brief moment.
The road to publication is twisty at best—tell us about some of your twists.
I am stunned by how straightforward my path to publication was. In 2013, I committed to finishing my first attempt at a fantasy novel. I had written The Song of All over three successive NaNoWriMos (National Novel Writing Month). I had 150,000 words of a first draft. Over the next two years, my original story went through seven edits, five beta readers, and two professional editors. I also wrote the subsequent two novels in the series. In 2015, I began querying and attending conferences. I received requests and rejections, and helpful feedback. February 2016 I pitched my story at the San Francisco Writers’ Conference, received a request for a full manuscript, and signed with my agent two weeks later. Two months after that, my agent sold my trilogy to Skyhorse Publishing. All along the way, I’ve felt incredibly blessed but also challenged by multiple, steep learning curves. Whether winding or straightforward, the path to publication pushes you to grow as a writer and a person.
When you were a teenager, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
In my bio, I mention the fact that I grew up with a prophecy hanging over me. My parents, true to their metaphysical beliefs, had my astrological chart done when I was born. Featured prominently in the chart is some alignment of planets that said I would be a writer one day. So growing up with this “destiny” I naturally rebelled. Not only was I not going to be a writer, as a teenager, I thought I was going to be a microbiologist. A couple of killer chemistry classes changed that dream, and I settled on becoming a historian.
Have you ever tried writing in a different genre? How did that turn out?
A couple of years ago, I wrote a science fiction short story called M:ITE for the Sirens Benefit Anthology, Queens and Courtesans. I’ve read a lot of science fiction but never tried writing it, much less a short story. I had to outline the whole novel before I could begin to write that short story. Luckily, I had a long commute on public transportation that day! Writing in a short format demands that each word count toward worldbuilding or character arcs. Writing M:ITE, I discovered that I prefer to write 150,000 words over 5,000 words. I’m glad though that I wrote it and I’m pleased with how it turned out. And who knows, maybe I’ll get a chance to write that larger novel sometime in the future.
Tina LeCount Myers is a writer, artist, independent historian, and surfer. Born in Mexico to expat-bohemian parents, she grew up on Southern California tennis courts with a prophecy hanging over her head; her parents hoped she’d one day be an author. Tina lives in San Francisco with her adventurer husband and two loud Siamese cats. She is a member of the Western Association of Women Historians, The Castro Writers’ Cooperative, and a guest instructor for the Young Writers’ Workshop at 826 Valencia.
Tina’s debut epic fantasy novel, The Song of All (Night Shade Books, February 20, 2018) centers on Irjan; a former warrior caught between gods and priests, who must turn to the Immortals he once hunted to save his son. Set in the harsh arctic world and inspired by Scandinavian indigenous cultures, Booklist describes this first book in The Legacy of the Heavens trilogy as “one part period work of fiction and one part epic fantasy.”
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— The Debutante Ball (@DebutanteBall) February 17, 2018