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Tate Hallaway Interview and Bibliography

Garnet Lacey novels (in reading order)

Garnet Lacey Short Story

Tate Hallaway PictureTate Hallaway on Tate Hallaway.

I am Minnesotan, and, as a rule, we don’t really like to talk about ourselves much.  But, I can tell you that I’m a woman of a certain age who lives in a hundred year old house with leaking pluming, along with a partner, our five-almost-six year old son, four cats, two gerbils, and six fish.  I grew up in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, not terribly far from Madison, Wisconsin, where my series takes place, in a time before the internet, Twitter, cell phones and personal computers.

Tate Hallaway on Garnet Lacey.

Garnet is the heroine of my series.  She’s a capital-W, Witch, astrologer, and bookstore owner.  Oh, and she sort of accidentally time-shares her body with the dark Goddess Lilith. 

Your latest book, DEAD IF I DO, sees Garnet and Sebastian overcome many obstacles (and a gypsy curse) to get married.  Is this happily ever after for Garnet or is there more trouble waiting for her around the corner?

There’s ALWAYS trouble waiting for Garnet around the corner, are you kidding?  Actually, I recently finished and turned in the next book in the series HONEYMOON OF THE DEAD, which, perhaps you can tell, follows the newly wed couple as they attempt to visit Sebastian’s homeland, Austria, on honeymoon.  Of course, they don’t even get the plane off the ground before trouble finds them.

 How many books do you have planned for the Garnet Lacey series?

A zillion.

Seriously, I hope to keep writing these books when they’re DEAD & RETIRED or some such.  I just turned in three more proposals, and I have my fingers crossed that my editor will bite.  I know it kind of goes against convention, but I’d love to explore the romance *of* happily ever after.  I’ve been with my significant other for twenty-three years and going, and I’m as much in love now – no, more – than the day we met.  It’d be fun to share THAT kind of romance with Garnet fans, IMHO.  We’ll see if the publisher thinks that’s marketable, however….

Like Garnet you are a Wiccan and a practicing witch.  The rituals in your books seem (at least to me, as a non-Wiccan) to be most down to earth and realistic.  How have your own experiences as a Wiccan shaped your books and Garnet’s character?

Before developed Garnet, I read a lot (and saw a lot of TV and movie) depictions of Wicca and Wiccans that frankly, kind of pissed me off.  I’d start yelling at the TV, “Hey!  Magic isn’t like that!  You can’t just wave your hands and change your hair color!!”  I realize that magic the way it’s really practiced is kind of boring and doesn’t make for very dramatic stories.  Can you imagine writing a novel where the Witch casts a spell at the beginning and we watch tiny coincidences pile up throughout the story, until, finally, at page five hundred the spell works? 

No, me neither.

But I wanted to be honest to Wicca as a religion, at least on some level.  I wanted a fellow pagan to read the book and say, “Ah, she knows a little something.”  And for the rest of my readers to walk away from the experience with a tiny sense of what it might really be like to be a Witch.

I’m constantly still learning things about Wicca, and I do incorporate what I’m learning into my writing.  In fact, I just finished the First Degree in the Correllian Tradition and some of what I’ve learned has leaked into what I write.

Of course, when you hang out with a writer you know that almost any experience can be fodder for writing.

 I really liked Mátyás when he was cast into the role of detective in ROMANCING THE DEAD and he has such a cool super power too – will he ever have a book or story or his own?

That’s a great question!  I did start a short story with Mátyás as the main character.  It takes place in the early nineteenth century in Budapest, and involves a kind of classic vampire hunt… only, the villagers are looking for Sebastian, and have “hired” Mátyás to sniff him out, as it were.   But the story didn’t go very far because it’s a historical and… well, I’m lazy and historicals –even shorts – take a lot of work.  I’d love to get a chance to finish that, or perhaps to give Mátyás a book of his own.  But right now, I have to admit, I have no specific plans.

What’s funny to me about Mátyás is that he’s one of those characters I wasn’t really planning on when I started the series.  He, quite literally, showed up at the door and I thought: “Huh, well, okay, you can stay.”  A lot of people tell me that he’s a favorite.  And yeah, I love his superpower, too (which also was another writerly accident of sorts): dreamwalking… or as Garnet described it once: “dream stalking.”

You are currently writing a vampire story for Young Adults.  What can you tell us about that book?

Well, speaking of Mátyás, the heroine of the new series is a dhampyr.  Her name is Anastasjia Parker and her mother is a real… uh, witch, who hasn’t told her anything about her vampire father and has kind of been keeping her sheltered from life in general.  When Ana turns sixteen, the night she’s supposed to go to a big Wiccaning and become indoctrinated into a high-powered famtrad coven, dad shows up at the door… and, well, hijinx ensue.

Why the change to writing for teens?  Is it something that you have always wanted to do?

Well, it’s a new challenge for me on a lot of levels.  Not only am I writing for a new kind of audience, but I’m also writing the book in third person.  A first for me.

What are the challenges involved in writing for a teen audience?  How do they differ from writing a romance as an adult audience?

Well, it’s been a really long time since I was a teenager, and though I have a child, he’s only six.  So one of my big concerns is trying to be authentic to the current teen experience.  Luckily, I have a couple of friends with daughters in the target age, who I’ve been consulting about a range of subjects, from Anime to popular music.  I’m also hoping at least one of them, if not both, will “beta” read my novel before I send it off to the publisher.

Who or what inspires your writing?

Neptune conjunct my sun. 

That’s probably an obtuse answer, so let me explain… if I don’t write, I make up stories anyway.  When I don’t write, I talk to myself (in character voices) in public.  I act out scenes while waiting for the bus.  These are not usually considered socially appropriate behaviors, so I’ve learned to channel all that weirdness into writing.

If you had to pick between huge commercial success or critical acclaim for your writing which would you choose?

No question.  Commercial success.  Hands down.  I used to write science fiction under another name, and I won a couple of highly coveted awards, including the Shamus (for mysteries) and the Philip K. Dick (although I won the “Special Award for Excellence,” which is actually second place.)  Critical acclaim, while nice and deeply satisfying, made for a relatively short career.  You’ll notice I am not currently writing science fiction.

And really, who wants to dust all those awards, anyway!  They’re crowding the mantle.

 Which book have you most enjoyed reading lately, and why?

Fiction or non-fiction?  I’ll admit that while I’m writing, I tend to read much more non-fiction than fiction.  My recent favorite book is Patricia Monahan’s RED-HAIRED GIRL FROM THE BOG, which is part memoir, part travelogue of Ireland, and part Goddess history/myth.  I’d have to think harder about fiction, but I can tell you that I absolutely adore the Bunnicula series by James Howe which I’ve been reading with my son.  It follows the exploits of a vampire bunny.

Who is your favorite fictional vampire character?

There are so many to choose from!  The first one that popped into my head was the guy who died “by stereo!” in “Lost Boys.” (No name, but cute as hell.)   Then, my brain went to “Blade,” the comic and movie.  Favorite?  Argh!  I really liked Rick Springfield’s version of Nick Knight, which was completely remade into ----.  His version had a lot more subtexty-homoeroticism and angst, but I guess I was in the minority there.  I often am.  A lot of the shows I love get cancelled.

 If the Garnet Lacey world was real life and you had to choose to be one of your characters, who would you want to be?

OMG, not Garnet, I’ll tell you that for nothing.  I mean, her life is hell. (I should know, since I’m constantly torturing her).  Similarly, though I love my vampire characters and have always wanted to live forever, I can’t see the appeal in REALLY being Sebastian or Parrish.  I’m kind of squeamish about blood and Parrish is stuck living only at night.  Although I could totally stand to have Sebastian’s money, especially right now while I’m awaiting a plumber to come fix a leaky kitchen ceiling.

Though this isn’t the question you asked, I think I am most LIKE William -- sort of doofy and undirected and constantly seeking a higher calling, but kind-hearted.    (At least I try with that last part.) 

Who would I want to be?  I suppose in his current state, I wouldn’t mind being Mátyás.  He’s got that cool super-power to wander around in other people’s dreams and, outside of being perpetually a teenager, he’s got that psudeo-immortality going on.  Of course, talk about angsty.  And he isn’t terribly well liked by his current batch of friends.  Plus I’d have to be a dude.  That would take some, uh, adjusting.

I’ve got it:  Barney, the cat.  She’s got the good life.  Kibbles every morning and evening, a barn full of nice, juicy mice, and a house-ghost to clean up the cat barf.

A big "thank-you" to Tate Hallaway for taking part in the LoveVampires author interview. Visit Tate’s website for more information about the Garnet Lacey books.
31st July 2009

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