Spotlight: Teen Phenom T.L. Spencer
T.L. Spencer was born in Lincolnshire, England, traveling frequently due to her father’s membership in the armed forces. As a child, she lived in places such as Reading and Salisbury, taking advantage of being a short drive from the mystical Stonehenge – one of her favorite places. At the age of 11, T.L. was diagnosed with epilepsy while living in Germany, and turned to writing as a way to cope with her condition. She is now studying at a university with plans to one day teach. Her debut paranormal, Blood Prophecy , a three part novel, won Apostrophe Books’ Fiction Fast-Track , appropriately enough on Halloween, in 2012.
Q) Share with us, T.L., how you developed your debut novel: where your idea for the three-part series began, and how you knew you had to create this paranormal piece.
A) The initial development of Blood Prophecy started when I was sixteen. Though I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was eleven, for many years it had been controlled with medication. At sixteen, my illness became quite severe; I was unable to walk and therefore not able to attend my local college. Originally a form of therapy, writing then became a way for me in which to keep my mind active.
The idea for Blood Prophecy stemmed from Celtic mythology and of course vampires and witches. However, the initial writings were adapted from several of my own personal scribbles. There is a bleak tone at the start of the novel, and this is why; the mood of the book follows my own in many ways. As the characters take their journeys, I was taking mine. By the end of the novel, the tone is much happier, reflecting my own state of mind and of course, my health. It also reflects the satisfaction of completing my novel after nearly two years of hard work and dedication.
Q) What an inspiration you are, T.L.! Let’s talk a minute about the writing process. If you could pick one thing that’s been the most fascinating part of penning and publishing your work, what would it be, plus what advice would you offer other emerging authors?
A) The most interesting part in writing the story is creating the plot and characters; they are what drive the story. Without them, you have nothing. The publishing process is simply overwhelming. The entire thing, the proof-reading, the cover design, the marketing; all of it is incredible.
I have only one piece of advice to offer for aspiring authors and this to write, write and then write some more. Enjoy what you do; if you hate what you write, it isn’t writing, it’s just scribble.
Q) Excellent advice. And speaking of passing along information, I read in your bio that you’d like to teach: how important is reading to you, as a writer and a future teacher, who’s been the most influential novelist in your life, and what would we find on your reading table?
A) Reading is such an important skill to have. It enables you to think and act more clearly and improves your vocabulary and communication skills. Not only this, you need it for every subject. Reading also stimulates the mind in ways a television never could; you have to use your imagination when you read, you have to picture the characters, immerse yourself in the fictional world. As I hope to become a primary school teacher, I will want to pass on my enthusiasm.
The most influential novelist in my life is of course J.K Rowling. My generation was raised with the Harry Potter books. Even at the age of twenty I am still hoping for my Hogwarts letter (maybe the owl got very, very lost). The world she created is so detailed; you are immediately immersed in the magic and mystery of the stories. It is true escapism.
Q) I like that, escapism, which brings me to the last question and a great dose of reality: Since Blood Prophecy won the Fiction Fast-Track competition at Apostrophe Books, look ahead a few years and tell us what your crystal ball reveals for your next releases: are they trilogies, stand-alones, or will you take a break from the craft of writing?
A) If I were to write a book which follows on from Blood Prophecy, I would be tempted to delve in to the perspectives of the male protagonists. They are fabulous characters and the vampires all have a lot of history. However, moving on from that, stories about witches and maybe even a tale more close to home could be expected in the future. My epilepsy is a sensitive subject but many people suffer from far worse things. Perhaps, to inspire others that, even with difficulties, people can achieve their goals, a story of uplifting happiness is due?
That sounds perfect, T.L. Hope is always welcome, and inspirational. Thanks again, and good luck with Blood Prophecy!