Ten Things About... Tavia Lark - An Author Interview

Today's featured author is indie-published author, Tavia Lark!  Welcome and thanks for joining the 10 Things interview gang!  Let's jump right into the interview since I've let the cat out of the bag by starting to answer the first question:

Indie or Traditionally published? - Tell us how this works for you…
I self-publish! My favorite part might be the speed—I can have an idea, and then a few weeks (for erotica) or a few months (for romance) later, I get to share that idea with readers.
Logistically, I outsource covers for romance, but I do pretty much everything else myself, from editing to designing short story covers. I even code my own HTML ebooks in Notepad++ before converting them to epubs with Calibre. Combing the file for coding errors is a great final proofread.

Plot or Pants? Do you pre-plot your books, use an outline, fly by the seat of your pants or some combination of things? How do you keep track of characters in a series? Do you keep a journal of your characters’ statistics, such as hair and eye color, relatives, hometown, etc.
Plotting! But there’s always room for new discoveries along the journey. I start with a chapter-by-chapter outline of at least the first 50% of a book, plus an overview of the remaining 50%. I take breaks throughout the drafting process to fully outline the rest as I discover more about the plot and characters.

I use a combination of Google Docs and Google Sheets to track character attributes and worldbuilding. It’s a little messy but everything is *somewhere* at least.

There are some decisions I tend to procrastinate on… Names are so hard to come up with! I have a habit of leaving [[PLACEHOLDER]] names in the draft until I get to the editing stage. In The Necromancer’s Light, the character Ronan Vizia was named Ronan [[RONAN]] for the entire first draft of the book.

Tell us about your most recent M/M romance
My most recent series is my first foray into fantasy romance novels—which is really the genre of my heart. The first book, The Necromancer’s Light, is a story about a lonely, touch-starved necromancer and the brilliant but disillusioned paladin who makes him feel whole. I really go full-throttle on my favorite tropes in this one. Hurt/comfort, sharing a bed, life-or-death cuddling, soul-eating demons...

The most important side character is of course Arthur’s horse. One of my friends described it as my Horse Girl coming through, which, yes, guilty as charged!

Book 2, The Paladin’s Shadow, came out November 15.  The Paladin’s Shadow is a gay fantasy romance, with enemies to lovers, hurt/comfort, and Very Inconvenient divine intervention.  It features Karis, the arrogant young prodigy of the Radiant Order and Ronan, a servant of the Trickster God... 

Where do you write? Do you have a routine?
I mostly write in my living room, with my cat on the couch next to me. I have a very fluid routine of working in the morning, then errands or chores in the afternoon, and then working again in the evening. I take breaks every couple of hours. Sometimes I’ll work two sessions in a day, sometimes four, with “work” including writing, editing, and other publishing-related tasks. 
While my actual schedule is fluid, I’m diligent about tracking the hours I work.

What’s the hardest part about writing M/M romance or erotica?
This would hold true for any romance genre, but the “retreating from love” arc! I’m such a sap. As soon as the characters kiss or confess or have sex at the midpoint, my heart is like, “Yay! They’re happy forever! Everything is over, I’m so glad they’re happy!”
But no. There’s still the entire second half of the book to write! Hearts to break and plots to resolve! I have to persevere until I get to the reunion/resolution.

What is the funniest scene you’ve written?
All of the arcane university stories on my Patreon are very specifically comedic in genre. The most recent one is about a student wizard trying desperately to seduce his hot professor in exchange for better grades… with the *slight* complication that his grades are already perfect.

Outside of my Patreon-exclusive content, I think the attempted proposal scene in The Necromancer’s Light is pretty funny. Sometimes timing is everything.

Who’s your biggest supporter/cheerleader?
It’s a tie between my sister and my cat.
I’d also like to give a shout-out to fellow authors Adara Wolf and Emma Lyon. When I returned from my long hiatus, they both really helped me get back into the swing of publishing. Lovely people and very talented writers.

What do you do if you hit a wall while writing? How do you combat writer’s block?
Hitting a wall is a sign of one of two things for me:

I’m really tired or stressed, and I need to take a break to recharge. Hug my cat, drink some tea, go for a walk, hug my cat, play video games, hug my cat.

The scene I’m trying to write doesn’t work, and I need to take a break to re-outline that chapter before I continue. Learning to recognize these moments *before* I’ve written 1000 words I need to delete is something I’m still working on, but I’m getting better!

I’m a huge fan of change as a tool against writer’s block. Changing where I’m sitting in the apartment, changing the document font face, writing a few paragraphs on my phone instead of my laptop. I’ve even dictated on my phone while hiking, for a total environment and process change. (Very quietly, so nobody else on the trails heard me rambling about warlock erotica!)

What do your friends and family think of what you write; do they know?
My friends and family are incredibly supportive. My parents don’t read my work—really not their genre!—but my mom is the reason I started publishing again this year. I previously self-published in 2016-2017, but stopped when my dayjob and other offline obligations became too demanding. Fast forward to March 2021. I’d been furloughed from my dayjob and I was struggling to get traction as a freelance editor. On a hike with my mom, she happened to ask me, “What ever happened to those books you were writing that I couldn’t tell my friends about?”

I realized suddenly that every reason I had not to be writing was no longer applicable. I certainly had the time! So that very night I dusted off my old KDP account and got back to work. I published The Necromancer’s Light four months later. Thank you, Mom!

Something people would be surprised to know about you
I don’t hike nearly as often as this interview implies.

How can we connect with you?