Sunday, 8 February 2015

Q&A with Tash McAdam!

Hey guys, Joe here!
So the other day I reviewed Tash McAdam's book SLAM and we have had the chance for the author to give us a quick Q&A!

Check it out and we hope you like it! :D

1. Where did the ideas for SLAM come from? And do the characters have any connection to real-life people?
Ooh, interesting question. The idea for SLAM, specifically, came when I was writing Maelstrom, which is actually the sequel and my first book, out this summer! I make prolific amounts of notes when I am writing, and every time I have a good idea I make a note of it, so I can explore it at greater length later. As soon as I started thinking about how Serena became a soldier, SLAM just took shape. Originally the novella was supposed to be fifteen thousand words... it kind of got out of control because I had so much to say! The characters definitely have connection to real-life people, although sometimes in roundabout ways. Leaf, for example, is entirely fictional, but his adoptive father (who you haven't met yet) is based on one of my best friends who is a professional circus performer. Serena is a sort of conglomerate of all my favourite heroines, myself as a teenager, and another close friend. Abial is straight from someone I care about deeply and sometimes hate with a mad passion, so she was fun to write. 

2. What was your favourite thing about writing SLAM?
Fight scenes! I'm a martial artist, and I love writing all kinds of fight scenes, but in this universe I get to write fight scenes with superpowers. It's pretty much the best, and because I have a lot of 'science' behind the Psionic powers, I spend a lot of time planning and implementing them. It's great. Also, Serena, Sam, and Leaf are some of my favourite characters ever, so putting them in one story was great. Wait until the next novella, where they'll actually all be in one scene! 

3. When you first started writing SLAM was it just about people with Psychic abilities, or were there other types of abilities that you wanted to include?
Initially, I didn't even intend to write about telekinesis. The universe actually got rewritten, when I was halfway through book one, and I had to go back and check everything and rewrite almost every scene to some extent. It was purely non-physical powers when I began, but telekinesis just kept trying to creep in, and then everything made so much more sense with that addition. Throughout Maelstrom and the sequels, you do meet people with more unusual abilities, although they all break down to the basic three: Reader (passive power), Projector (active power), or Blank (immune to Psionic interference). But people have different skills within those areas, and it does get interesting. Sam, for example, is definitely not your bog-standard telepath; he's a technopath!

4. When did you start showing an interest in writing?
I've been writing since before I can remember writing. If you look through the floppy discs my dad hoards you can find stories—long ones—ranging back from when I was seven or so. Then there's dozens of books in my room covered in large, childish letters telling the story of Tammo the wonderkid, and various other characters. I'm obsessed with stories. Reading, watching, writing, listening. I need stories like other people need oxygen. Real life bores me.

5. What authors have inspired you throughout your writing journey?
Too many to count! When I was a kid I used to max out two library cards every single week. You could only find me one of two ways ... I was either running at full speed or totally silent, head in a book. Sadly, I don't have the time for that anymore. The authors that stand out for me when I look back are Tamora Pierce (kick-ass heroines, and LGBT characters), Orson Scott Card (kids with brains, not just luck), JK Rowling (although finding a writer she hasn't influenced in some way might be more difficult. I grew up basically where she did, so maybe it was a little more personal for me), and more recently Brent Weeks, who has the most amazing world-building skills. I just want him to tell me stories for the rest of my life!

6. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers in YA/Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre?
Have rules for your universe and then don't break them! [CW1] Oh, and keep going! Write before you edit, even if it makes plot holes, and go back and fix them when you know what your plot is. Write every day, even if it's not what you are dying to do. Make time for a minimum of 500 words. Write a short scene, or dialogue. Hone your craft. No one's first book is the best thing they are going to write, so get some practice in. Plus, if you write 1000 words a day, you'll have written a book in 3 months. Tell me that's not exciting!

7. Lastly, as SLAM is a prequel in the Psionic series; will the first book still feature Serena as the main character? Serena is a very important character in Maelstrom, but the novel itself has two other mains, and after that, Serena is the most present and important. She's one of my favourites, but I have a penchant for kick-ass girls, and I wanted to stretch myself away from that comfort zone. Maelstrom is focused around a teenage boy, and another character who is strong in a different way than is standard. It was a learning curve for me, but I think it really panned out. SLAM is a peek into the universe, but Maelstrom is the real thing.

So there we go guys!
A big thank you to the awesome Tash McAdam for letting us do a Q&A for her book and we hope you take a look at her book SLAM and Maelstrom when it comes out! :D

Take a look at our review of SLAM here:

Thanks guys!

Joe :)


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