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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Who's That Girl? interview with Tina Marie Clark

Strapped into my blog hotseat is a fellow Romance Writer of Australia member. Please welcome, Tina Marie!
Name? Tina Marie Clark.

Tina Marie Clark is the coordinator for the CYA Conference, held annually in Brisbane, Australia. She began CYA Conference in 2006 and CYA Conference has grown to be one of the premier events on the Children’s Young Adult Writing and Illustrating calendar, and will be held on 10th & 11th September 2011. 

Where do you live?
Beautiful Bribie Island, Queensland, Australia.

How long have you been a member of our organisation?
RWAustralia Since 2004, RWAmerica only since 2009. 

What genre/s do you write in?
Children’s (published) , YA, Women’s fiction, Series romance. 

What's your current writing project?
Besides coordinating the CYA Conference, I am completing an edit on a women’s fiction. Its one of those books that have taken forever, and gone on a l-o-n-g journey on its way to the end.

I pitched it in Washington in 2009, then after learning so much at that conference I held onto it, didn’t send ‘fulls’ as requested. I felt it needed more work…and I like to believe I was right.

I did RWA 5DI 2010 (Five Days Intensive), and had the wonderful Fiona Brand as my mentor. The edits and rearrangement of the book are almost completed. So it's a tad late for the request that I got back in ‘09 – but hopefully the editors and agents will forgive the delay… 

Basically the story line is: Ashley, an Australian woman, falls in love with a Zimbabwean rancher, and the book is her journey to understanding how the lives of the white Decker family intertwine with the black Ndhlovu family, and their co-dependents on each other. 

Have you entered any writing competitions? Have you found them to be helpful?
I was entering the RWAustralia competitions, and found the feedback very useful and the comments always encouraging.

I did get into the second round of the RWA:Emerald a few years back, which was exciting, but I never made the finals. I entered one or two American competitions, because they were online submissions, and didn’t place or anything there.

From previous competitions comments, I found that this particular book I’m working on doesn’t fit into the typical RWA mold, so it was no use using the competition to gauge how it was coming along as I did when I was writing category books previously. My aim is to get it finished before 5DI in July this year…only a short time left to achieve that one. 

Apple, PC, longhand or other?
Definitely Apple. Mini on the desk, Pro in the laptop case, iphone4 in the hand bag and use of ipad whenever I can ‘steal’ it from hubby and the kids..oh and of course, another ipod in the car just for music and listening to podcasts. 

Name your top 5 authors you like to meet, have lunch with and ask questions of about writing.
Mmm, you didn’t say they had to still be alive so...Dr. Seuss & David Eddings.

Tina (in white) meeting J.D.Robb
The living but unobtainable:  J.K. Rowling.

Those I have met but would love to have more time with to talk to: Nora Roberts, & Janet Evanovich.

I know a wide and varied bunch, but that's my reading style too, any and everything gets read, from comics to epic fantasy series. 

Do you have any routines or things you do to keep motivated when writing?
Routines and I are so not friends. If it wasn’t for my boys having to be at school, we probably wouldn’t have much of a routine at all. But because my life is busy, I have to find  time to write or it doesn’t happen. I have found that the term ‘have lap top will travel’ best fits me as I can work wherever. I sit in the library, at school, at maccas, in the car, anywhere there is room for my laptop and write while I wait for the kids… this ‘free’ time away from my desk is wonderful as I don’t get bogged down in administration items for CYA Conference, its just me and my keyboard.

Keeping motivated, well this book has been a WIP for probably around 8 years now, and I’m still trying to get it right, so I think that I am naturally motivated to finish something that I start. Do I want the book done and dusted? Of course.

Am I still interested in writing the book? No. The writing for me was the fun part, the editing part kills me and takes longer than the writing ever did. But I know I need both done to get a publishable novel.

Actually, I have small ritual that I do when I am writing all over the countryside…I have my themed music on my ipod so I can listen to it and block out the world. But strangely enough, when I work at my desk at home, its often in silence, just me and my story.

I am also motivated to keep writing because of CYA Conference.  I see so many people getting published because of some small way that CYA Conference touched their lives, and I have so many beautiful book babies on my shelf from those people, that its hard not to keep the dream of another book with your name on it on the shelf  alive and well.

Name one hobby you love doing and would be unlikely to ever give up (writing not included).
Gardening. I adore my garden, and growing flowers, propagating plants and spreading the love of it by sharing plants with neighbours. There is something so satisfying about looking out your window, and seeing a beautiful garden, and knowing that you have nurtured those plants from sticks or seeds to the magnificent plants they are now. 

Tina & Cimarron
And lastly, finish these statements...
The actor I would most like to see play one of my heroes is... Morgan Freeman.
My favourite childhood toy was...  my horse Cimarron.
The worst thing about writing is... it takes so much time to serve your apprenticeship before seeing results.
Two things I would pack if I were going to an isolated holiday destination... my hubby and my laptop, in that order!
Three goals I've set myself for this year... 1. Finish this edit by July’s 5DI. 2. Finish another category book 3. Make more time for writing.

You can find Tina on her website, her CYA Conference website, her personal Facebook page and Facebook - CYA Conference page.


  1. Yay, Kylie! First again!

    Hi Tina,

    Lovely to read about you and thanks for the advice and sharing about yourself.

    All the best with your goals!

  2. LOL Nas! Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Hi Kylie! Hi Tina! Lovely to see you here. Really enjoyed the interview and I LOVE the pic of you with Cimarron. What a handsome fellow! Good luck with the women's fic.

  4. Hi Kylie and Tina,
    At least no books to buy today, Kylie!! :) Well, not yet, anyway!

    Tina, how did you go getting your literary African story done before 5DI? I'm still working on mine and trying to find someone interested in it.

    Hope 5DI this time was good too.

    Good luck with CYA.


  5. Hey Kylie and everyone

    Firsty - Kylie - thank you for having me on your blog today - wow I almost feel famous now....

    Thanks Nas (I would put in a smilie if I knew how...)

    Aww thanks Anna, aren't childhood memories great! And the photies we embarrass ourselves with later .....priceless!

    Catherine - I was really lucky to have Donald Maas work on it with me for a bit a few years back, and hopefully now that I have grown as a writer, I can interest another lit agent ( or him again!!!)

    5DI this week has been AWESOME! A fantastic bunch of people, and Marion Lennox has been amazing. It is one of RWA's most wonderfully helpful to the individual programs, and I would recommend it to anyone with a full manuscript who is looking to tighten it - make it better and is prepared to learn, and work their butt off. Its not easy - but hey - thats why they call it 5 Day Intensive....

    Thanks again Kylie!

    Bye 4 now
    Tina- Marie

  6. Hey Tina, great interview!

    I looove Morgan Freeman, he's super.

    Cimmaron is gorgeous. I'm sure you have loads of great memories of your time spent together.

  7. Hey Cheryl

    Me too.... and when I write his 'part' in my book I can see him on the screen, doing his thing....

    Cimmy was a fantastic horse who I was lucky to have in my life. And I measure all courage of everything else against his....sad but true...


    Bye 4 now

  8. Hey, Kylie and Tina :) Very jealous of your 2nd 5DI experience, Tina, glad to hear it was awesome.

    This is going to be such a naive question, but were there any risks riding a horse around the African bush?

  9. Hey Anita

    Yes, loads of risks - but the beauty of riding freely, just you and your horse...out weighs almost anything.

    And sometimes you ride with someone too - so you have someone to chatter too. Someone to double up with when you fall off a way from home... but not always. Sometimes its a long walk back to the farm house!

    Loving 5DI!!! have just done out final evening and am so so sad it is ending, and tomorrow I will be going home.

    I want to take each and every personal home with me and carry on the comradeship and writing support!

    I believe I have been spoilt rotten on this experience - twice!

    Waving to all 5DI ladies 2010 and 2011!

    Bye 4 now

  10. Hi Tina,

    It was lovely to read all about you and your writing journey. Nora Roberts is my all time writing hero! You are truly blessed to have met her.

    Loved this comment: "The worst thing about writing is... it takes so much time to serve your apprenticeship before seeing results."

    Thanks for sharing :)

  11. Tina,

    came back today and my comment isn't there!!!

    Was so nice to read about you - and your horse Cimmaron really tugged at my heartstrings as he reminded me of a horse (who was like my best friend) when I was younger.

    And btw - Donald Maas!!!!!!!!!!! WOW! Your writing IS something special for him to be interested. Go You!! Can't wait to read your stories!

  12. Hey Juanita and Mel

    Juanita - it was special - and I will remember it for a long time to come.

    Mel - I think he was just being kind and nice!!!! Seriously my story needed to mature more and I think it has now that I have grown more as a writer. I met him thanks to the RWA conference!!!! You never know where the meet and greets in places like that will take you.....

    Thanks for coming back Mel - appreciate it!

    Thanks Kylie again for having me visit you.

    Bye 4 now

  13. Another great Who's That Girl interview! Your writing life just seems like a whirlwind Tina but I really love the diversity in both your writing and your reading. Hope you enjoyed 5DI!

  14. A great interview Tina. It's wonderful to get to know about your life and your writing goals. I look forward to seeing you at The CYA Conference. You and Ally do such an awesome job. Thank you on behalf of all of the Children and Young Adult Writers and Aspiring Writers.