H. A. Titus is usually found with her nose in a book or spinning story-worlds in her head. She first fell in love with speculative fiction when she was twelve and her dad handed her The Lord of the Rings. She lives on the shores of Lake Superior with her meteorologist husband and young sons, who do their best to ensure she occasionally emerges into the real world, usually for some kind of adventure. When she’s not writing, she can be found mountain biking, skiing, or playing table-top games and RPGs.
What inspired you to write fiction?
I’ve always enjoyed fiction over non-fiction. I like entertaining — nothing makes me happier than when I’ve made someone laugh or cry over something I’ve written. At the same time, I believe fiction is a safe place to bring up questions and discuss things I feel strongly about, by subtly incorporating those themes into some of my work. I know there are books out there that have changed my perspective on certain topics, or at least presented me with ideas that I may have not encountered before.
You specialize in fantasy. What draws you to this genre?
The wonder and awe of it all. I adore books that have beautiful, impossible scenery, or books with strong, deep magic systems.
I love that your appreciation for literature came from an audiobook, since I’m a huge audiobook fan. Do you continue to listen to audiobooks?
Oh yes! My life is busy enough that I don’t get to sit down and read as much as I’d like, but audiobooks save my sanity there! I’ve always got a couple downloaded on my phone and usually end up listening a bit every day when I’m doing housework or exercising.
Your first novel, Forged Steel, is an urban fantasy based on Celtic mythology. How do you weave Celtic myth into the urban fantasy world?
Honestly, it’s just reading through the myths and picking out the bits that grab my attention, then tweaking them a little to give my own spin on them.
You are serializing The Wingard Chronicles in your newsletter. What made you decide to release your book in such a format? Has it been successful?
It was mostly just an experiment, to see if anyone would be interested. I started at the beginning of this year and it seems to be moderately successful so far! I definitely plan to keep it up for the next couple of years—I’m really curious especially to see how it goes next year, as I’ll be starting to share book 2 in the series, and have book 1 up on retail sites.
What do you do when you get writer’s block? How do you deal with this problem?
I take a multi-level approach. When I first get stuck, I’ll try writing a different way — instead of working on the computer or my Alphasmart Neo, I’ll write by hand for a while. Or I’ll work on a story that’s in a different stage, or do a different task — instead of drafting, I’ll edit, or do some marketing, or make some promotional graphics. If those don’t help, then usually what has happened is that my creative well has run low and I need to refill it. That looks like anything from taking a bike ride to clear my head, to binging a favorite TV show, to picking out some new books from my TBR and reading them a lot faster than I’d normally allow myself.
You are a big fan of Bookstagramming. What is this, and how do you do it?
Bookstagramming is basically taking pretty pictures of books and posting them on social media—usually Instagram, but sometimes Twitter or Facebook too. I really have fun staging the shots, because I want the overlook to match the aesthetic of my account, but at the same time, I want the props to match the story’s genre at least a little. It uses a completely different part of my creative brain.
Besides writing, you run Paper Tigers Proofreading. Does spending your time reading the works of other authors as deeply as you must to proofread give you new insights into your own writing?
Sometimes! Usually, though, I’m just enjoying the story. That’s part of the fun of proofreading for me—not only am I helping authors make their books the best they can be, but I also get early access! 😉
You are a member of Fayette Press. What is that?
We’re an alliance of fantasy and science fiction authors who banded together for cross-promotion and support. Our member authors are myself, R. J. Metcalf, and Jamie Foley, and soon we will be adding authors S. D. Grimm and Angela Castillo. This entire group is so supportive of each other and I know without their help and insight, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
What authors have most influenced your own writing?
Definitely J. R. R. Tolkien! He was the first fantasy author I ever read, which sparked my interest in the genre. For more modern-day authors, I’d say that Neil Gaiman was the one who first inspired me to write urban fantasy, after reading Neverwhere about six years ago. And Brandon Sanderson continually blows my mind with his incredible magic systems and wordbuilding, so I’ve been working on that the last year or so, trying to get better at that.
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