An Interview with Author Tobie Easton
Earlier this year, I managed the social media for a book festival and spent six months promoting the authors coming to the event. During the festival, I got to spend time with a lot of the authors and became friends with many of them. One of those authors is today's bitch, Tobie Easton.
Tobie was fun to watch during the book signings because the kids loved her so much. She helped make my job really easy. If she lived closer, we'd be mermaiding it up all over town. Meet today's bitch, Tobie Easton!
What do you do write and what is the name of your book(s)?
I’ve heard readers say I write modern fairy tales. I write what I would most like to read, which means I write books that feel magical—whether that feeling comes from magic itself, from beautiful, alluring settings, or from the sparkle and temptation of first love.
When did you first learn about this field of work? How did you know it was what you wanted to do?
Ever since I fell in love with books as a child, I deeply admired authors, but I didn’t picture myself becoming one. Writing was always the subject I enjoyed most in school—I found it fun and gratifying to play with words and find just the right phrasing for a given thought. But even though I enjoyed it, writing felt like something I had to do for whichever teacher gave me the assignment. It wasn’t until a few years after I graduated college and stopped having anyone making me write that I realized I wanted to write. It was perfect timing because it gave me just enough distance to gain perspective on my teen years, and I feel like I now have something to say as a YA writer.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?
One of the hardest parts of being a writer is finishing a draft of a book—actually sitting in your chair and writing until you reach “The End.” Because of that, I love a tip told to me by YA author Gretchen McNeil, who explained to me that you can dramatically increase your productivity by setting a timer for 25 minutes—just 25 minutes of distraction-free work. Over time, those 25-minute increments add up.
Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned or that helped improve the way you work?
Once you have a book come out, it’s very easy to get caught up in all the noise. Even good reviews can get in your head and make you feel pressured as you write the next book. I’ve found this especially true as I finish the rest of my mermaid series now that Book 1 is out in the world. Using an app to limit my social media access during working hours has really helped me make sure I stay creative so I can focus on my characters and their story.
What would you do with 2 more hours a day?
Great question! I like to think I would split the hours up so I could learn a new language and start meditating (which I keep saying I’m going to do), but I doubt I’d be able to pass up two more hours per day of writing time!
What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made?
I thought about this question for a long time. Since there’s a piece of me in everything I write, I suppose I’ve sacrificed some of my privacy and a few of my secrets, but I feel extremely fortunate to be doing what I’m doing.
What is your greatest success, or something you’re most proud of related to what you do?
I still can’t really believe that people are reading my book! I went from sitting at home in my pajamas wondering if anyone would care about my story the way I did to travelling to signings and meeting readers who tell me how much the characters mean to them. That makes me proud every time.
Do you have a morning ritual that helps you set the tone for the day?
I’m definitely a creature of habit. Every morning, I wake up early and start my workout before I can talk myself out of it. I use that as my solitary time to gear up for the day. Then I shower, eat breakfast, and savor some very hot green tea before sitting down to write.
How do you decompress at night?
I have a husband who makes me laugh. I’m also trying to get in the habit of turning all screens off at least an hour before I go to sleep, but it’s hard. I’m slowly getting better!
What helps when you’re stuck? Do you have a motto or quote that inspires/motivates you?
When I’m stuck, I take a bath. I’m not allowed to get out of the tub until I’ve found a solution (or at least made significant headway).
What does self care look like in your life?
I’m still in the process of figuring this out. The workouts and the baths both help. And remember I said I want to start meditating? I’m also learning to say “no” to things when it’s necessary.
Are there any women who helped pave the way for your success?
Generations of women I’ve never met have paved the way for me. Most of all, I am grateful to my mother who instilled in me my love of words, gave me the confidence in myself to succeed in publishing (which can be a tough industry), and taught me to both love and question fairytales.
Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (forever!) and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.
All photos courtesy of Tobie Easton