AT: Writing was the only thing I wanted to do when I grew up—besides being a veterinarian-ninja, of course. I adored reading as a kid because it entertained me and storytelling because it brought joy to others, so finding a career that fed into my addiction to words was a win-win for me. And then when my little sister Katie was diagnosed with leukemia when we were kids, the characters I wrote for her became my way of showing her that regular people always triumph over their circumstances, even when the odds seem stacked against them. Being a writer was always something that I wanted to do, but when I realized how it could impact people, I knew it was something I had to do.
AT: You should know right now that I’m a Robin Hood geek. It was my favorite Disney movie as a kid, I love the BBC series, and I’m still obsessed with the legend. The idea for this trilogy was originally an eighth grade final for my creative writing class, bred from my fascination with time travel and the medieval era. And then years later I started watching the BBC series with Jonas Armstrong (be still my heart!) and just had to add an enigmatic vigilante into the mix. It just expanded from there into “Rising Shadows,” and as I was writing the story, I knew I couldn’t just leave it alone: I needed to know where these characters would go, how they would grow, I had to prove who killed the king, dive deeper into the time travel element. I’ve honestly never been as passionate about writing characters or a story as much as “Chasing Shadows,” and it gnawed incessantly at the back of my mind for months while I finished it. Gah! I just can’t wait to share it with you!
BBB: Tell us about your main character.
AT: I adore Sarah Matthews. She is awkward and spunky, adventurous and caring, and so real that some days I wish I could just have a cup of coffee with her and pick her brain. “Chasing Shadows” starts off with her preparing to leave for college, and I think her fear of the unknown and leaving her old life behind is very relatable. I actually learned a lot from her as she grew from a rash, sarcastic teen in “Rising Shadows” to the intelligent young woman she is in “Chasing Shadows.” She’s still rash and spunky and endearingly awkward, which is what I love about her, but even though she’s only been on this wild time traveling adventure for a few weeks, I feel like she’s lived eons longer and has discovered so much about herself and others. You will love to see her heart open up as she learns to love and loses love, and I hope you’ll cry and smile along with us.
And onto Will Taylor, because I know you’re all dying to know about our main hottie. Will is pretty much my fantasy: Tall, dark, handsome, an enigmatic blacksmith with a sad past, is enchanted by a normal girl, and also happens to be a secret vigilante known as the Shadow. I’ll take two! I just get so excited writing his and Sarah’s dynamic, because in so many ways they are exactly alike and then polar opposites other instances. They get frustrated with each other when she wants to be independent and he only wants to shield her from danger, but they always seem to sort it out in the end, and they communicate with and really understand each other, which is something that I believe is key to their relationship.
AT: I would love to say “Who, me?” but I think we all know that’s not true! If you check out my blog, there are plenty of writer’s block rants and copious amounts of Pinterest procrastination days. Usually my worst blocks come from either taking too much time off from writing or pushing myself too hard. When I get stuck, I like to take a break and go to the beach or somewhere quiet with a view to clear my head; generally, the story follows me there with a new perspective in tow. Other times I like to just push through a scene, going backwards from the plot reveal to that moment and asking myself the significance of the scene. If it’s filler, then I’ll move on and come back later. It isn’t worth hating your work, which will happen if you force it. And snacks. Always snacks and coffee!
BBB: What are you currently working on?
AT: I’ve never done this before, but for the final book in this series, I’ve plotted everything out on notecards, like entire scenes, motivations, incriminating letters, timelines, etc. It’s helped to keep my head clear and saved time so I can write other ideas, too! I have about 14 stories plotted out and ready to go, but there are two that I’m dying to get to once this series is finished. I’m really into the fairytale remakes right now, and I have a story set up that I want to do with Peter Pan in mind. Think Neverland meets Pirates of the Caribbean. And the other is about a Roman centurion and a Germanic woman set in ancient times, where she gets sent off to war against the Romans and ends up being taken captive, though she’s really the one who captivates the centurion in the end.
AT: I’m super spazzy and quirky, so brace yourselves! But if you’re brave enough, you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest (check out my inspiration board for the series!), my website, become a fan on Goodreads, and also my author page on Ink-Smith.com. And don’t be afraid to shoot me an email. I love hearing from you guys and sharing my story! Thanks so much for reading, and keep being inspired to do what you love.