Interview: T.K. Toppin

It’s amazing to me how many writers have creative talents in other areas as well. T.K. Toppin, for example, worked as a freelance graphic artist. I can’t help thinking that creativity in one area can help in other. T.K. first got the writing bug just two years ago, and has already penned three future-fiction novels. Enjoy this interview.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?

I was born and raised in Barbados where I currently live with my husband. For just over twenty-odd years now, I’ve worked as a freelance graphic artist. Writing always appealed me and as the years progressed, I knew it was something that I would eventually like to do full-time in the future. Early in 2008, after whining about it, a friend said to just do it. So, I decided to just jump right in and make a start.

Tell us about The Lancaster Rule. What do you hope readers take away from it?

The Lancaster Rule is set in the future and is centered around a young woman who helps her scientist father with his experiments in suspended animation. She ends up sleeping for 300 years to awake into a greatly changed future. Not only does she awake to his new future, she ends up coming to terms that her past and future are closely linked, not just to her, but those around her. She learns to survive and discovers love. While writing this, I wanted to keep in mind that no matter what the future brings or how it changes, the basics still remain the same: love, hate, war, living…

You’ve got some works-in-progress novels listed on your site. Can you tell us about them? Will they be similar to The Lancaster Rule?

Yes, most definitely. While writing, I realized that there was, or would be, more to the story I wanted to tell. So, the idea of a trilogy came into mind. The second one, The Master Key, is complete but yet to be published. It’s still got a little more tweaking to endure. The third, The Eternal Knot, is nearly complete.

What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?

That’s a really hard one. I’ve read so many by equally interesting authors. The Dune series was my initial induction into the sci-fi world…and that blew my mind. Since then, I’ve read so many different books that each time I think: “This one is better than that one…No, wait, this one…”

Favorite authors?

Too many to pinpoint. Each have their own unique style. Among my favs, they’d have to be Frank Herbert, Dan Brown, Eoin Colfer, Jonathan Stroud, J.K. Rowling, Diana Gabaldon, Stephen Kind, Dean Koontz…should I keep going?

Book you’re currently reading?

Salvation in Death by J.D. Robb (Nora Roberts). I forgot to mention I like her ‘In Death’ series.

Any type of writing ritual you have?

Not really…usually, I prefer a little quiet time with no distractions – who doesn’t, right? I like writing around mid-morning, you know, once the coffee has kicked in and the sleep from the brain clears. This goes on until about mid-afternoon, providing real work doesn’t interrupt.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?

Absolutely! Sometimes, the mind just draws a blank and spews out gibberish! For me, to get past it, I just walk away. Stop everything. I don’t even try to think about it and how I could have written it differently. I just stop. Then I play some computer games to clear the mind, watch TV, go to sleep. Sometimes, days go by and I wouldn’t have turned on the laptop to write. Then I re-read, re-read, re-read and the next thing you know, the block is gone.

In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?

Re-read, re-read, re-read…kidding. But it helps. I can’t really elaborate on it, since this is my first book and calling myself a writer still takes some getting used to…but, what’s helped me is that you need to listen. Listen to all the advice and comments that people give you. Be observant, open and don’t be afraid to try different things. I suppose that could apply to everything in life.

Advice for other writers?

Write because you like to write! Write what you like about because you’ll write it more convincingly. If you don’t know something, research it. Give it to someone whose opinions you value and appreciate and listen to their comments or suggestions. It always helps when someone else sees things you think you see.

Where can we learn more about you?

I’m still new to the web, but my website is www.tktoppin.com, or you can visit my blog: www.thelancasterrule.blogspot.com.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just to say thanks very much for having me. I look forward you interviewing you for my blog. My journey into the writing world, so far, has been very fortunate and I feel very lucky to have even gotten this far. I’m getting there slowly!!

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