I often fall into chatting with fellow writers on twitter and this is how I was introduced to Tami Parrington. Tami is an author that started with more traditional publishing of her work, but moved into self-publishing after a series of events changed her outlook. Please welcome Tami Parrington to No Wasted Ink.
Hello, my name is Tami, and I’m addicted to words. I started actually writing down the stories I came up with in high school, although my active imagination began long before that. It wasn’t until my late 30s that I truly began a quest for publication of anything I’d written though.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My plans for this year were to re-release Dark Side of the Moon, and complete a new book for the Demon series started with Hell’s Own. Dark Side of the Moon is such an important project for me. It was the second book I completed in my professional career. This was back when self-publishing was still considered only vanity work, and the wonderful world of indy authors did not exist. It had been accepted by a mid-sized publisher and made it to press (physical book only, ebooks weren’t widely considered much by publishers then even though some very good ebook houses were springing up back then). Unfortunately, less than a month after publication, the house it was published through went bankrupt due to some sort of crazy dealings in the financial world of the owner’s husband. Dark Side of the Moon was suddenly an orphan.
In those days, traditional publishers didn’t want a book already put out by another house, even if it had only been out a short while, and there weren’t a lot of viable options for a book with such a fate. Over the years I wrote more books and either had them published by other companies, or as the Indy world began to grow, published them myself. However, another unfortunate turn of events made self-publishing Dark Side Of The Moon difficult. The novel had been created on an old computer that died a rather horrible death, and the files were lost. At the time, since the original publisher had everything it didn’t concern me, but after the original digital copy was gone, I couldn’t do anything with it because all I had were paperback copies of the book, no manuscript on a hard drive.
That event and several more over the following years made me very anal about backups. I now have two external hard drives where I back up my novels, as well as saving all work to a cloud drive file. I never could bear the thought of having to retype the entire thing again. I do have a few problems with carpal tunnel thanks to decades of typing, so that much is not something I like to think about. Finally, I just decided it had to be done. I really like the story, and there’s so much of it that actually happens in the entertainment industry. I brushed it up, and updated it a little, but am just very happy to say that it is all nicely redone on my hard drive now.
How did you come up with the title?
Any Pink Floyd fan knows that Dark Side of the Moon isn’t original as titles go. However, it is just perfect for this book that deals with the music industry’s crazy fanatical side and its dark and sinister side.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
All of my work tends to have some message in it that I hope the readers can take away with them. What good book doesn’t? While the theme and message in Hell’s Own is wildly different from that in Dark Side of the Moon, or even Married to a Rock Star (book one of the Rock Star series), one thing I do want readers to know before they embark on a journey with me is that I don’t follow formulas and my heroes and heroines do not always make the right choices. In fact, they often do not. They are not “heroes or heroines” in the commonly thought of publishing view. People in real life don’t make the right choices all of the time. That doesn’t make them bad. It makes them human. I don’t even bother to try and make ‘excuses’ for my character’s shortcomings, as if to say, oh this person is doing this, but it’s not their fault. What I really want readers to come away with in Dark Side of the Moon, and perhaps any of the stories I write, regardless of genre or theme, is that good people make the wrong decisions sometimes, the struggle is to deal with them, try to overcome them, and to find the way “home” again to where you can make things right.
Are experiences in the novel based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
In Dark Side of the Moon, definitely. For a long time in the early to late 90s, I was very involved in a large, vibrant and powerful fan community–I saw that side of it firsthand. I also got to see a lot of the “business” side because I knew people who were musicians and caught up in the whole power and image struggle. The same is true for Married to a Rock Star, except that the story is not based on any actual events. Of course, Hell’s Own is not based on ANY actual events either. If you do ever hear about a demon flying about, trying to escape from the devil with the help of two humans please let me know so I can hide.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Wow, so many. I guess I’d have to go all the way back to when I was very young. Not the earliest, perhaps, but in my late childhood, early teens, the Walter Farley books (The Black Stallion series and others) had a profound impact on me. Those were, I think, the first books that showed me you could lose yourself inside a story, and that even fiction could teach you things about the world it existed in. Plus I just loved horses. Later, Anne Rice showed me that you could create something wildly new from an old character type. I think the entire “vampire movement” from Buffy to True Blood, and Twilight to Personal Demon have her to thank for that.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not anymore. In the early 90s, I did signings, I did conferences, I did all that. Now, it’s not all that necessary, and I prefer it this way As a self-published author, most of my sales are in the form of ebooks, although some physical books do sell. Being self-published is still a big road block for authors who want to try and get into brick and mortar stores, although I am hoping that will change even more as the publishing world evolves. I’ve watched as the Internet has become such a powerful force in marketing, that for self-published authors especially, it is the best form of marketing. Connecting with readers through social media, blogs and reader dedicated websites such as Goodreads, provides a wonderful resource for both sides. If anything, I think the internet has made authors more accessible to readers, and the connection much more personal. You only get a few minutes at a book signing. Online you can have a long-term relationship if you want it, and even if you aren’t that committed, you can follow everything your favorite authors do much easier.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Follow your heart. Do what you love, and create what you believe in. You can hope, and you can want readers to love it too, but you’re not going to please everyone. You do, however, have to please yourself.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
What I would like to say most to readers is: Thank you! Thank you for finding the joy, for finding the excitement and for being such a big part of my life and the life of every other author out there. Without readers we’d be talking to ourselves, and we do that enough anyway.
Tami Parrington, also known as T.L. Parrington, lives in Burbank, Illinois, a little suburb just south of Chicago. Along with her fiction, she is a full-time freelancer and spends her days happily writing and playing with her crazy dog and having conversations with her parrot so that no one thinks she’s talking to herself.
Please follow Tami on Twitter at @TParrington or visit her at her website.
The book cover is self-illustrated by Tami Parrington.